Environment minister terminates dubious cave deal

The ministry will now try to find ways to open the Brestovská Cave to the public.

Environment Minister László SolymosEnvironment Minister László Solymos (Source: SME)

Environment Minister László Solymos (Most-Híd) abolished the rental contract regarding the Brestovská Cave, situated in the Tatra National Park.

Independent MP Zsolt Simon accused on March 31 former minister Peter Žiga (Smer) of renting the cave to Civic Association (OZ) Pegas Slovakia in a non-transparent manner for €1,200 including VAT annually. The agreement was to be signed only four days after the parliamentary elections.

Simon called the contract “a disgusting racket of the nth degree” and urged the Environment Minister to abolish the contract at once, the TASR newswire wrote.

The State Protection of Nature (ŠOP) will now draft the budget to determine what it will cost to prepare the cave for public access. This includes the construction of a parking lot, changing room, and others.

“Based on the drafted figures, ŠOP will either carry out the investment and run the cave on its own or announce a public tender to find a new administrator,” said Juraj Rybanský of the Environment Ministry’s press department, as quoted by TASR.

Nonetheless, the Environment Ministry finds Simon’s statements, according to which the state prepared a profitable business for a private company at its own expense, to be unsubstantiated.

“The MP failed to mention one important fact – that further investments worth approximately €80,000 are needed in order to open the cave to the public and these costs fall to the tenant,” Rybanský added, as quoted by TASR. “Furthermore, he also omitted the fact that in order to protect the cave from damage, the number of visitors must be contractually limited to 17 persons at any one time.”

Meanwhile, also OZ Pegas Slovakia decided to back out of the agreement, the public-service RTVS reported.

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