Slovenia’s clergy through its Archdiocese continue to wield considerable power and retain a large portfolio of interests. Dogged by environmental concerns and liquidity issues the project backed by the owners of the Bohinjska Bistrica-based Bohinj Park Eco Hotel appeared to have arrived at a point where construction was nearing commencement, despite the scheme proving divisive within a predominantly rural community averse to the amount of agricultural land and forest that would be lost to accommodate the cableway and pistes. Earlier this year the scheme’s building permit granted in 2014 was invalidated by Slovenia’s Administrative Court, in effect halting the project in its tracks after an objection to the scheme was raised by the Archdiocese of Ljubljana, a powerful body that has a history of polarizing Slovenian opinion. The irony would surely not have been lost on the progenitors of the ‘2864’ scheme, its detractors and supporters that an organisation that so greatly divides opinion seems to have had the casting vote on a project that has created a schism between many of the Bohinjci.
Despite the ecological indifference that many believe the scheme has towards an area of outstanding natural beauty the settlement of Bohinjska Bistrica does not fall within the boundaries of the Triglav National Park, the quango whose formation was predicated on the preservation of an area that includes Slovenia’s cerulean gem, Lake Bohinj. Bohinj’s longstanding mayor Franc Kramar endorses the scheme, presumably seeing it as a vital counterpoint to the shameful state of Bohinj’s tourist accommodation which has seen increased levels of negative publicity due to the deteriorating state of three of its previously foremost hotels, the Zlatorog and Ribcev Laz-based Bellevue and Bohinj. Keen to break the impasse between developers and the Archdiocese Kramar has personally intervened by writing to Archbishop Zore to extol the virtues of a scheme seen by the mayor as vital to the area’s future. Whilst Kramar obviously has to be seen by his constituents as having Bohinj’s best interests at heart many vehemently disagree with the project, either in its current guise or a watered down version. It cannot though be argued that Kramar hasn’t tried to sway ecclesiastical opinion, even if his efforts will in all likelihood go the same way as arbitration between the scheme’s founder Anze Cokl and the Archdiocese’s legal team. It is hard to see how the hurdles to development can be surmounted without serious archdiocesan concessions or a volte face from Archbishop Zore, who Mayor Kramar is prepared to meet to reinforce the issues at hand.
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