Construction Works In Bjelašnica Under The Spotlight

The Anticorruption and Quality Control Office of the Sarajevo Canton found the Municipality of Trnovo to have made omissions in the planning and construction in Bjelašnica.

Business and sports center Trnovo will stretch over 11.4 hectares of land at the very entrance to Babin Do, the Olympic ski center in Mt. Bjelašnica (Photo: CIN)

The municipality of Trnovo made several omissions regarding the construction of a business and sports center in Bjelašnica, said the report of the Anticorruption and Quality Control Office of the Sarajevo Canton, which was submitted to the Sarajevo Canton Prosecutor’s Office.

In response to the order by the Sarajevo Canton Assembly, over the past few months, the Office has been investigating the legality of forest clearing and construction in Mount Bjelašnica. The officials of the Anticorruption Office found the Municipal Council of Trnovo to have endorsed the urban project Business and Sports Center Trnovo in December 2017, although such a decision required that the regulatory plan of the area concerned be modified first.

After that, Mayor Ibro Berilo issued nine urban permits and approvals to the Municipality of Trnovo, an investor, for the construction of the business and sports center, although neither of the projects had an environmental impact study nor environmental permits, which are mandatory under the FBiH Environmental Protection Act.

The Trnovo Municipality Inspection was also found to have omitted to properly check the validity of the documents required for the construction works in Bjelašnica. For this reason, the Cantonal Administration for Inspection Affairs launched an oversight procedure over the Municipal Inspection, which is still in progress.

In July 2020, the Center for Investigative Journalism wrote about hundreds of fir and beech trees near Babin Do being illegally cut down to clear the land for the construction of a business and sports center in Bjelašnica. Almost a thousand cubic meters of forest have been cleared, mostly without the approval of the Sarajevo Cantonal authorities and without paying the required fees.

Berilo said to CIN reporters that the Cantonal authorities tried to obstruct the project. “We have found a way to get the job done, and we did it”, said Berilo.

The Office also confirmed that the Municipality of Trnovo did not have the necessary approvals for forest clearing in the Bjelašnica mountain, and the same was concluded by the Sarajevo Canton Inspectorate of Agricultural, Water, and Forestry Affairs early in October 2020. The Inspectorate filed misdemeanor charges against the company “Dolovi” from Sokolac for illegal logging in Bjelašnica mountain and selling of logs without a license.