AFTER plans to build a brand new foundry near Prešov failed because of protests by local residents, the Spanish investor has moved its plan to a nearby village of Petrovany. There, most of the population appears supportive of the project. Petrovany Mayor Ján Lenko is optimistic, but warns that before the foundry materialises it is necessary to complete the environmental impact assessment (EIA) and finalise the land transaction. Unemployment in the area is nearly 16 percent.

Spanish company Funderia Condals originally planned to invest about €20 million, build a new foundry in the industrial park IPZ Záborské near Prešov and employ hundreds of people. This should have been one of the biggest investments in Prešov over last few years, the Hospodárske Noviny economic daily wrote on July 28. However, Funderia Condals backed off from its plans in June in the wake of opposition from residents nearby that feared the foundry would worsen quality of air. The industrial park is located close to residential areas.

But the investor did not give up its plans completely and instead shifted focus to the village of Petrovany, less than 10 km from the original site.

In an opinion poll initiated by Lenko, most in Petrovany supported construction of the foundry. The poll was a response to an anonymous petition against the foundry. A total of 520 people signed a petition opposing the foundry in Petrovany, however, not all of them were from this village.

“The anonymous survey showed that there is a much bigger group of people agreeing with the investment,” Lenko told Hospodárske Noviny.

Some 1,850 people live in Petrovany, out of which 942 participated in the survey, the SITA newswire reported. Of them 600 supported the foundry, 288 were against and 54 were not sure. Lenko considers this result to be informative and not binding for the municipal office, but feels it gives him the power to continue in negotiations with the investor.

Deputies of the local administration already approved conditions on the sale of land to Funderia Condals, but the deal must be finalised and the EIA completed before the foundry is built and becomes operational.

Representatives of Funderia Condals including the director of its Slovak arm AKC Foundry Josep M. Noguera visited Petrovany and presented the foundry as a modern plant which will not burden the environment. It should employ between 70 and 300 people and spur 150 additional jobs for subcontractors, he said.