The Spójnia Sports Club has been training canoeists on the Żerań Canal for 25 years. The land is leased from the city, which unexpectedly for athletes decided not to extend the contract for the next years. Officials explain this with the desire to organize matters and the need to organize a transparent competition. After a series of publications, they bowed and offered a new contract, but only for a year.
Spójnia Warszawa is the last club in the capital that conducts sports training in classic canoeing. He raised 13 Olympians. Medalists of the world and European championships come from here, and currently one of the players is a member of the national team in canoeing. The discipline is practiced here by 50 players ranging from six to 28 years old.
However, over the athletes of Spójnia, the threat of ending training in the canoeing and rowing section was hanging. In July, the club applied to the city for the possibility of extending the lease of land on the Żerań Canal. The response from the Green Board came after three months – negative. – In early October, officials informed us that the application had been rejected and the property would be leased out as part of a new competition. They did not explain in the letter the reasons for this decision. They only ordered us to move out of the leased area by the end of October, which would mean the closure and liquidation of the canoeing section – Andrzej Czapski, director of KS Spójnia, tells us.
Three weeks to move out
It’s just that there are also four other clubs in this area that sublet space from Spójnia. – It was an operation impossible to carry out in three and a half weeks, even if we had large financial and human resources at our disposal. Officials expected us that in less than a month we would liquidate the hangars where we keep our canoes, which we have been building for 25 years, and empty all the premises and take away the equipment used by five clubs, and send children and young people who have been training for years home, stopping a long-term training cycle – points out the club director.
The case got loud and – as the director admits – after a series of media publications, the Board of Greenery softened its tone a bit. – We are after three meetings. The first was held on October 19. At that time, their position was maintained, saying that the lease agreement would not be extended for another period and they would announce a competition for a new tenant. However, after the issue was publicized in the media, representatives of the Green Board began talking to us. The next meeting was held on October 22 at the seat of the Sports and Recreation Office, the director of this unit, Mr. Janusz Samel, was heavily involved in negotiations between the club and the Board of Greenery – explains Czapski.
They postponed the competition for a year
At the meeting, a proposal was made to sign a short-term lease agreement for a year. – However, this does not solve the problem, but only extinguishes the fire, because without establishing a common vision of the future in the long-term perspective, the club will not be able to further organize training in competitive sport in classic canoeing – our interlocutor notes.
Officials argue this decision that for a year they will be able to better prepare for the new competition. So far, the negotiation process is ongoing, because the club has not signed a contract with the city so far. The fact that he did not have to move out of the leased area on October 31 is only due to verbal agreements. On November 16, another meeting with the Green Management Board is to be held.
– We are talking about a new, short-term lease agreement, which will allow, among other things, to prepare the area that is the subject of the competition for a future tenant, will also create space for all entities interested in participating in the competition to prepare offers and will enable the continuity of training plans for players training here – confirms ZZ spokeswoman Anna Stopińska .
The nearest alternative in Bydgoszcz
It’s just that there are no alternatives in the city and throughout Mazovia to practice classic canoeing. The nearest similar reservoir is in … Bydgoszcz. – A necessary condition for training children and teenagers in classic canoeing is a long body of water with calm and undulating water. There is no other body of this type in Mazovia, it is the only place for such sports activities. In fact, there are three such facilities in Poland: in Bydgoszcz, Poznań and Wałcz – says Czapski.
Officials declare that they want the property to retain its character and fulfill its current function – facilities for water sports. – We hope that – after the competition is concluded – professional infrastructure will appear there, which will enable young players to train at a better level – says Stopińska.
The problem with “illegal residents”
So why does the Green Board want to throw out Spójnia at all? – The City of Warsaw, guided by the principle of transparency and equal access, conducts competitions in which all entities meeting the conditions specified in the competition documentation may participate. The competition guarantees clear, fair and impartial treatment of various entities and rational management of real estate – answers the spokeswoman of the unit.
But there is another problem. In the leased area, there are residents who – according to officials – should not be there. ZZ asked the club to clarify this issue. Director Spójni bounces the ball, explaining that he was trying to talk about it and expected the property owner to be more active in solving the problem with tenants.
– The club has never entered into any rental agreement with him. We tried to start a dialogue with the Green Board on this subject, from April to October we sent several letters asking for a meeting, we proposed various solutions to this problem, we made all attempts to empty the premises, report the crime to the police and the prosecutor’s office, we also filed a lawsuit to empty the premises the premises in which we are calling on the city to participate in the lawsuit, as an active entity. We proposed to bear all costs related to legal enforcement. We never hid our heads in the sand, but our formal-right possibilities were exhausted. All other activities fall under the responsibility of the city as the owner of the property, claims Czapski.
But according to officials, it was the club that – contrary to the provisions of the contract – led the residents to the property. – These people maintain that they have entered into a lease for housing purposes. As a landlord of real estate to illegal residents, KS Spójnia may, inter alia, on the basis of the provisions of the Civil Code, demand the return of the subject of the lease after the end of the contract with them. He may also bring an appropriate action to empty the premises against the people living there. According to the findings, court proceedings are currently pending, in which illegal residents are demanding that the existence of a lease relationship with KS Spójnia be established – explains Stopińska.
“The city forgets about competitive sports”
For now, the departure of the canoeists has been postponed for a year. – It is a pity that the city focuses mainly on sports and recreational places on the Vistula River, and forgets about competitive sports, which is the source of medals won at international events and the Olympic Games, which the city is so eagerly proud of – notes the club’s director. – The specificity of a child’s education requires appropriate infrastructure and properly prepared trainers. We provide this to children, but unfortunately, without access to a base offering the possibility of practicing water sports, we will not be able to continue training and educating children and adolescents through sports competition – he admits.
Main photo source: KS Spójnia Warsaw