Fund will help Varaždin dispose of waste bales


A meeting was held today at the Varaždin Town Hall followed by the press conference with the following  participants: the mayor of Varaždin Neven Bosilj, PhD, deputy mayor Miroslav Marković, the state secretary at the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development and the president of the Management Board of the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund Mario Šiljeg, PhD, and the acting director of the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund Alenka Košiša Čičin-Šain, MSc(Arch). During the meeting it was confirmed that the Fund will co-finance with 40%, or HRK 76 million, the HRK 190 million-worth project of waste bales disposal.     

The mayor thanked all who recognised the importance of resolving this environmental “time bomb" in Varaždin – the Croatian government, county mayor, and the representative of the Fund. “The bales have been sitting in Brezje for 17 years, almost 100 thousand tonnes of baled waste, and one of the largest hot spots in the Republic of Croatia. Now it is up to us, the Town of Varaždin, to implement the public procurement procedure,” said Bosilj, adding that the Town had already obtained loan quotes. “At this moment, with an interest rate below 1% for a long-term loan in the amount of 15% of the investment, HBOR is currently the best option, although it will be felt on the Town’s budget. But it’s high time to resolve the issue of Varaždin waste bales,” he concluded. Bosilj added that consultations with the interested economic operators would start the following week.
Alenka Košiša Čičin-Šain praised the past cooperation of the Fund and the Town of Varaždin and the fact they reached out to the Fund to help co-finance this project. “First we established the preconditions for the Fund to get involved in the project, we’ve checked everything and verified the extensive  technical documentation. The project received positive evaluation and approval from all line ministries, which meant that we had a seal of approval to back the project with 40%, in accordance with the Ordinance on the conditions and method of co-financing these types of projects in the units of local self-government. For the project of disposal of 95.8 tonnes, or 125 thousand bales worth HRK 190 million, the Fund will provide the grant in the amount of HRK 76 million. The government and all of us are aware that we have a huge task before us, both environmentally and financially speaking, and it is clear that without the help from the government we cannot solve this problem. After having completed public procurement, whoever is successful in the process will give their proposal for the solution for an environmentally friendly disposal of the bales,” said Košiša Čičin-Šain.
State secretary Mario Šiljeg pointed out there were no obstacles regarding the environmental part of the remediation programme: “We had the study, the environmental impact assessment, and the remediation programme. In March this year, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, the competent Directorate for Environmental Impact Assessment, issued a positive opinion on the remediation programme, meaning that the measures listed in the programme were in compliance with the Waste Management Act. The town of Varaždin now has to see this process through. The Ministry, the Fund and the state will provide 40 percent in grant funding for the implementation of this project, and we have to underline that all stakeholders in the political arena in Varaždin County, from the county mayor, town mayor and coalition partners have to be on the same page, since we all wish to see this project completed as soon as possible,” said Šiljeg. He emphasised that the policy of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of the previous and the incumbent minister were in harmony. “This is corroborated by the fact that in the previous years we insisted that the remediation of Brezje was an item in the programme of the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund, even though we were aware that the earmarked funds would not be used up at the time due to the environmental documents that have now finally been obtained. But we never gave up on this issue. The Management Board of the Fund and the Government of the Republic of Croatia will adopt the final decision, which will certainly be positive, as soon as the previous procedure is harmonised with the Public Procurement Act and implemented, and we will support this project until completion.” He added the project also included an important measure of soil remediation.