After three years of controversy, land-disputes and defiant posturing, project Bohinj 2864 shows no tangible signs of coming to fruition any time soon. The progenitors of the project fronted by Bostjan Cokl are, as reported by Gorenjski Glas, hoping a final tranche of funds can be procured from a willing investor to finally get the scheme off the ground, both figuratively and in reality.
Such has been the scale of problems that have dogged the scheme from its inception, much of the allocated funding to bring the venture from the drawing-board to actuality have been taken up by legal wrangles and land disputes. Whilst being outside the Triglav National Park boundaries the siting of this project is controversial, as is, in the eyes of many locals, the unacceptable damage that could be caused to the environment, both through the loss of tree-stock and a correlating lack of aesthetic appeal. Many have and will argue that such a project could prove to be a green elephant if snow doesn’t fall in adequate quantities to enable Bohinj 2864 to be a long-term viable concern. This year has seen disappointing amounts of snowfall in Slovenia, even the highest reaches. If further along the road at Vogel above Lake Bohinj is struggling to maintain suitable conditions for winter-sports aficionados, it has to be said that Bohinj 2864 will find the future to be a difficult one although, it is to be assumed it will benefit from artificial snow-making facilities, something Vogel does not utilise. This though of course is only relevant if temperatures are low enough to allow synthesized snow to be produced, another problem the Alpine regions have so far suffered from this winter, in no small part due to a capricious foehn wind.
Vogel has perhaps also stolen a march on Bohinj 2864 by providing enticing and innovative all-inclusive packages for skiers arriving in the Bohinj area by train, thus reducing the carbon-footprint of the not inconsiderable amounts of road-traffic that for too long has blighted the route between lakes Bled and Bohinj. Vacationers can arrive in Bohinjska Bistrica by train, be met by a shuttle bus that takes passengers to Vogel’s bottom-station at Ukanc and receive a lift-pass to access the albeit modest network of pistes above Lake Bohinj, to complement lunch served in a mountain restaurant close to Vogel’s Rjava Skala top-station – all for €35 & €23 for adults and children, respectively. An outstanding deal for anyone, skiers or none participants alike. It is though hard to imagine that Bohinj 2864 would financially be able to compete with such a deal, with such a substantial outlay from their shareholders to service making a return on their investment unlikely in the short to medium term.
As with many projects nowadays in countries financially ailing who cannot afford to be choosy about from where the money originates, rumours are abound that Russian investment is forthcoming to get this project ‘over the line’ although, there are at the time of writing no concrete details to base a confirmation or denial of this. It would though seem that the majority shareholders have long since passed the point of no return with the Bohinj 2864 initiative, both financially and face-saving. The saving grace for Vogel is that it provides a steady income for its owners thanks to year-round custom, mainly due to a large uptake of its lift operation by May-October hikers and climbers. To put all its eggs in the winter basket would inevitably lead to Bohinj 2864’s demise but a straight choice between it during the summer months and the Vogel ridge-line region(Rodica, Crna Prst, etc) would, for me at least, see it come a distant second best.
Sinking an indeterminate amount of money into a project extremely uncertain to succeed in troubled financial times would appear to be folly of the highest degree. Investing in the rejuvenation of the Hotel Zlatorog which, without any large-scale four-star accommodation competition at the Ukanc end of Lake Bohinj would seem to be a much safer bet, if only relatively. I find it hard to believe that the Triglav National Park authority are happy to see a historic and hitherto well-used hotel like the Zlatorog fall into terminal decline and decay in one of the most sensitive areas of the TNP. It is to be hoped they can bring pressure to bear on the owner of the Zlatorog who has overseen its decline and fall into the sorry, shameful derelict state it today finds itself in to effectuate a satisfactory outcome, even if that involves a wholesale demolition and sympathetic rebuild of the once proud “Zlat”.
Further reporting on this issue can be viewed at: