The Municipality of Bovec has rubber-stamped the provision of €170,000 from the 2015 budget to indemnify associated costs incurred by the receiver of ATC Kanin, the now defunct company formerly tasked with operating the eponymous cableway that has lain dormant since the disastrous 2013 fall to earth of several of its carriages. After a series of unsuccessful auctions to liquidate the assets of the former operating company, Bovec’s local administration were granted control of the majority of lift-apparatus and Prestreljenik mountaintop restaurant nominally free of charge, the only financial outlay required for the transfer of assets pertaining to the not inconsiderable attendant costs consistent with the drawn out process of several failed auctions.

Recognising that the munificence accorded to Bovec by the bankruptcy receiver enabled the Municipality to seize control of the one asset the town previously so relied on for tourist income, a sizable amount of money, on paper, from the annual budget is ultimately viewed as being cash well spent but obstacles still remain. The damage to the cableway and some supporting pylons is considerable, as is the level of trust lost from the winter-sports community who’ll seek reassurances that the renewed gondola will be fit for purpose; it was only by complete chance that the uncoupled carriages were at the time empty. Rumours of state aid from the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology continue to persist and whilst such financial help could be the subject of legal challenges from other ailing Slovenian resorts citing anti-competitive state subsidization, the stark facts are that Bovec is unlikely to again welcome skiers without public funding from central government, such is the mammoth task at hand to remedy the considerable structural and safety problems arising from the original accident and subsequent neglect. The irony will not be lost on the Bovec community that the meteorological elements that make Slovenia’s highest resort so snow-sure have since significantly contributed to the catastrophic damage to much of the lift’s infrastructure.
The longer the reported €3 million of state funding remains unforthcoming, the less likely it will be that Bovec once more hosts winter-sports aficionados on the Slovenian side of Kanin during the imminent 2015/16 season. Despite the ski season being six months henceforward the rigorous testing of a yet to be renovated cableway requires a lengthy period of assessment before being signed off as meeting all the necessary safety protocols. Nevertheless, a weather dependent time frame of 10-15th December has been penciled in as the date Bovec once more becomes a fully functioning ski resort, a date, for the time being at least, that seems somewhat optimistic.
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