THERE used to be a popular beach on the right bank of the Danube River between the Old and Apollo bridges. Now there is only a neglected floodplain forest with piles of garbage left behind by homeless or irresponsible people. This may change. A group of architects, water sportsmen and activists has revealed how this area could look. There could be a river beach, a marina for small boats, as well as a park and paths for walking and cycling.
“We are proposing the creation of a fundamental public space with which all Bratislavans could identify,” said architect Juraj Benetin from the Nové Lido (New Lido) team. “There are not many of such places in Bratislava.”
Elaboration of a vision of how this area could appear and what might be there is a result of successful civic initiatives and petitions calling for revitalisation of the area of the former Lido river beach and keeping traditional water sports here. The vision also takes into account the plans of developers J&T and HB Reavis to build a brand new city borough Nové Lido in the neighbouring area bordered by an anti-flood barrier, the highway and the Apollo and Prístavný bridges.
The first visualisations of how the riverside between the Old and Apollo bridges might look were presented almost one year ago. They were unveiled by the Nové Lido initiative and the Lido Lagúna (Lido Lagoon) initiative.
The initiative Nové Lido unveiled plans for developing the entire area. While their plan counted on building office and residential real estate in the new city borough of Nové Lido, on the riverside owned by the city, they proposed a natural park and water area.
On the other hand, the Lido Lagúna initiative of activists and watermen introduced a significantly smaller project only for the riverside.
At that time, Bratislava Mayor Ivo Nesrovnal called on the two initiatives to discuss their visions and elaborate one united study for the revitalisation of the area. They did so and also got other stakeholders in the area involved i.e. water managers, nature conservationists, watermen, as well as developers.
They introduced the study to journalists in late March.
Beach, park, promenade and more
The study proposes the creation of a public river beach at the site of the original Lido.
“We did not select this place by chance,” said Martin Mišík from the Lido Lagúna initiative, adding that the Danube River creates favourable conditions for building and maintaining a river beach at this location.
The gravel beach would be about 400 metres long. It would be located on the bank of an artificial lagoon divided from the main flow of the Danube by a stone dam. Holes in the dam would secure circulation of water and enable boats to access a small marina that would be located in the lagoon.
“This fixed stone construction will ensure that the flow of the water at the beach would be adequate and thus swimming in the lagoon would be safe,” said Benetin.
The marina should provide space for small motor boats bringing visitors to Bratislava. It should not be used for long-term parking of boats or their repair.
The study proposes extending the existing promenade along the Danube from the Sad Janka Kráľa park towards the Apollo bridge.
Another, parallel, promenade will go along with the anti-flood barrier that currently serves as a cycle path. In this way the whole area will be linked to current and future walking and cycling paths.
Based on this document, the three existing shipyards, where four clubs of water sportsmen reside, would remain at their current places. The original proposal called for their relocation.
The study also proposes the renewal of the Ovsište branch of the Danube to its original route. This arm disappeared during construction of the nearby Prístavný bridge and has never been revitalised.
“The revitalisation of the Ovsište branch would mean a return of original Danube biotopes, i.e. it would be an added value from the viewpoint of nature protection,” said Benetin.
Both initiatives also count on keeping the current degree of protection in the protected area Soví Les forest, lying between the Apollo and Prístavný bridges. Here the promenade would turn into a tourist path.
Now it is up to the Bratislava city council, as the owner of the land area in question, to decide what it will do with the study and whether it will continue in the realisation of the proposed recreation area.
The Nové Lido and Lido Lagúna initiatives have already introduced their joint study to the city council and Mayor Nesrovnal.
Currently the city council is preparing its stance on the submitted study. For now, it evaluates the proposed solution positively and does not have any fundamental reservations. Yet it is necessary to continue elaborating the project documentation.
One problem is that even though the valid master plan for this area calls for the creation of a relaxation and sporting area, it also counts on creating an artificial water channel there. Thus, a change to the master plan is required. But in Bratislava, such a change usually takes several years.
The Nové Lido and Lido Lagúna initiatives are aware of this, but believe that it is necessary to get the process underway.
“It’s important to start,” said Benetin, adding that development of the Nové Lido borough will last tens of years and that this will be in gradual phases. “The first phase of revitalisation of the currently neglected forest may already be carried out within two years.”
29. Mar 2017 at 17:47 | Jana Liptáková