The correspondent of "NI" found out what they drink and what they talk about.
Before our eyes, heavy trucks brought sand and huge stones, and bulldozers are reclaiming space from the Gulf of Finland by a centimeter.
“Everything is within the law,” says one of the activists, municipal deputy Nelli Vavilina, “neighbors meet, discuss the problem that concerns them, we tell the news that they answer our requests, how things are going in the courts.”
But not always everything so complacent, almost every day people call the police to record night work that interferes with sleep. A few days ago, the nerves of the townspeople could not stand it, and they blocked the passage of KAMAZ vehicles. The conflict had to be resolved by the police.
“It has become impossible to live there, equipment works day and night, traffic jams from KAMAZ trucks with sand are collected,” the deputy says, “sand storms have already begun, because of the mountains of sand. This is Vasilyevsky Island, there are such winds, and the houses are very close. This sand reaches the Primorskaya metro station. The builder is a big scammer. When the TV comes, they get ready. They after all read our group. They begin to water the heaps from the hose so that the sand does not fly. And at night, so that residents do not see the flow of cars, turn off the headlights. People wake up in the morning and see new piles of sand. This project is not one year old. Until 2055. First, they will pour, then - build 1.2 million square meters of housing. Several generations are doomed to a hellish existence at the construction site, which they did not deserve.
For the first time, the alluvial area on Vasilyevsky Island was discussed in 2004. According to one of the activists, Igor Pirov, the city was offered the construction of a passenger port to receive tourist liners.
“The residents then agreed, because such an object was needed, but then it turned out that in addition to the seaport, another 470 hectares of land needed to be washed. As if we have the smallest country in the world and there is no land, ”says Pirogov.
When Valentina Matvienko was governor, an agreement was signed with the Terra Nova company, which was supposed to create an artificial piece of land and build on it. The company is currently going through bankruptcy proceedings. According to the SPARK database, the company belongs to three Cypriot companies, but the media associated Terra Nova with the name of ex-State Duma deputy Vitaly Yuzhilin.
As a result, the port was built in almost 20 years, although it has been empty since the beginning of the pandemic. The southern section was reclaimed, on which several residential complexes were erected. Not so long ago, LSR began building houses on the southern alluvium, and also bought the rights from the dying Terra Nova for the creation of the northern alluvium and its development. The start of work on this project caused protests from residents.
According to activists, the situation concerns the entire city, and not just neighboring neighborhoods that were near the construction site.
“The entire Vasileostrovsky district is in the problem zone,” says Nelli Vavilina, “the beach is now being destroyed. Yes, it was wild, but the whole city gathered there. People can’t afford to go abroad, to the south, and this place was very attractive, it could have been improved, made for people, but they decided otherwise ... ”.
Another concern is the environment. According to Igor Pirogov, no one knows what kind of sand is brought to the construction site, whether it is safe, whether it is suitable for such work. But most importantly, no one really answered how this would affect the water regime of the Neva and the Gulf of Finland.
“KZS (a complex of protective structures - an organization that maintains a city dam - ed.) are very wary of this,” says Pirogov, “they have already written official letters, saying that the water simply has nowhere to go. Yes, the dam protects from the water that the wind drives from the bay, but the river flows from the other side, and space is being taken away from it. They allow flooding of the historical center, these are risks. They simply do not show us the calculations, the officials say: we have carried out an analysis, everything will be fine. But no one has seen these materials. The climate is getting warmer, there is a program of the president that we need to fight it. And we don’t give a damn about it, we’ll wash 160 hectares, and, supposedly, this will not affect the situation in any way? Next year, maybe it will not affect, but in 20 years? Novosmolenskaya embankment was repaired very close, and it was beautifully flooded. Environmentalists say this will be the last fatal blow to the bay."
Residents do not like the opacity that accompanies the entire project. It passed public hearings, but people do not agree with its results. The hearings were held online, and only 36 people voted for the project, no one knows who it was. The activists asked to see documents, expertise, projects, but they were refused. Now they have filed a lawsuit to get these papers and start an independent public examination.
“When we drew the attention of the press to this, I received a call from the deputy of the Legislative Assembly Chebykin (supports the alluvium project - ed.) and said, come to LSR, they will show you everything,” says Igor Pirogov, “but this is manipulation, publish everything on the Internet and everyone respects.
Another argument of opponents is the town-planning situation. After all the declared areas are commissioned, the population of the Vasileostrovsky district will increase, but the urban infrastructure will not. The way the southern alluvium has already been implemented does not instill optimism in people. Now there is a sandy desert, in the middle of which there are several skyscrapers. More are under construction. Only one narrow road leads to the area, which soon ends and then you need to either go further or drive along the dunes in the summer, and through snowdrifts in winter. The few roads in the territory are not maintained by anyone, formally, all this remains a construction site, and the city does not take the road network into account. So, it does not repair and does not clean. This regularly leads to collapses.
Municipal deputy Olga Kamolinkova , who lives in the southern alluvium and was elected from this territory, confirms the plight.
“The first houses were commissioned in 2017, 5 years have passed, and there are no roads,” the deputy says, “everything that we were promised has already been postponed 10 times, the deadlines have expired, people bought apartments, counted on one thing, got another. In winter, snow is problem No. 1, only this year the management company bought a tractor and began to remove snow, although it should not. On the territory of the residential complex is always clean, and behind the fence - snowdrifts. And it's a security issue. This is the only entrance for the fire department and ambulance. If there is a traffic jam, then special equipment cannot pass. The city ignores this moment. The same picture with gardens and schools. For all the time only one kindergarten was built, there is no promised school. Children walk through the WHSD to the old part of the island. Likewise with healthcare. The whole mass of people came to the old polyclinic. Queues at the clinic, doctors - processing. They promised a doctor's stronghold, but he's not there."
According to Igor Pirogov, the alluvium project in St. Petersburg is called a town-planning mistake, and someone calls it a town-planning crime.
“When everyone who buys a house moves in, it will be an infrastructural disaster for the region,” the activist says, “according to various estimates, up to 25,000 people already live there, and according to the plan there will be 60,000 in the south and 29,000 in the north. Now the population of Vasileostrovsky is about 220,000. It turns out that the population is increasing by 50%, and exits from the island, roads, schools, hospitals will not grow by 50%. There will be a collapse in terms of regulations. When this project was first started, it was called "bubble alluvium", and that's how it turns out.
Deputy Nelli Vavilina also agrees, saying that the southern alluvium has not become a showcase that could be sold to residents for the approval of the northern alluvium.
“Our opinion is that you can’t wash, you can’t touch nature,” she says, “for example, they could present the southern alluvium as a success story. So we washed and built, and people live in heavenly conditions. But before us are 8 years of suffering for the people of Namyv, there is no infrastructure, no UDS. The only exit for 15-20 thousand people. And LSR did not please with its architecture. There are skyscrapers, standard boxes with small apartments. There is nothing to brag about."
The press service of the government of St. Petersburg did not respond to Novye Izvestia's inquiry about the protests of the townspeople regarding the northern alluvium, as well as the plans of the authorities to create normal conditions on the southern alluvium.
The LSR company told our publication that "any major project finds both its supporters and critics."
“It is important that in the end he went through all the necessary formal procedures,” LSR noted. - Dialogue with residents, including negative ones, is ongoing. On May 25, a meeting of interested citizens and representatives of the developer, the district administration, relevant government committees, deputies was held, at which LSR Group presented the project in detail and answered all, even the most pressing, questions. In particular, the company spoke about the presence of beach areas and landscaped embankments, specifying their location and functionality.”
The LSR noted that the work on the alluvium was approved by the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Natural Resources, a conclusion was issued state environmental review of project documentation.
“The company annually replenishes the aquatic biological resource by releasing fry into the bay, and a very significant amount of its own funds is spent on the implementation of these activities,” LSR said. - During the work on the southern alluvium, the company constantly monitored various indicators: air emissions, water quality, monitored bottom sediments, all waste was taken to special landfills. Another important stage is the construction of protective dams. This is mandatory in the project documentation. The structures contribute to the elimination of threats of coastal flooding, and also protect the water area from fine sandy suspensions. The staged water release system minimizes the risk of fine particle emissions outside the dam.”
The developer said that the project provides for the construction of 4 schools on the northern alluvium, for 4125 students and 8 kindergartens, as well as a polyclinic for 600 visits and a hospital for 215 beds.
But activists believe that everything should have ended a few years ago, when the city had a formal reason to terminate the contract with Terra Nova.
“There were several moments when it was possible to stop the project, for example, in 2018, when Terra Nova did not fulfill its obligations and this was the best moment for termination,” Nelli Vavilina says, “but there was not enough political will, the contract was extended until 2026 , company went bankrupt and sold the rights to LSR for 3.5 billion rubles.
Deputy Nelli Vavilina believes that even now, when the project has passed all the approvals and active work has begun, it is possible to stop everything.
“I am sure that common sense will prevail and the construction will be stopped,” the deputy says, “while we managed to attract the attention of the media, we collected 11,000 signatures and took them to Governor Beglov. Now we are collecting 50,000 to take them to the president. There are tea parties every Wednesday. We carry out everything that is not prohibited by law. For a long time, as a deputy, I wrote many requests, warned that it was necessary to start a dialogue with people, that tension was growing, but no one listened, this is the result.”
However, everything can end very prosaically and without the intervention of the federal government. As some experts say “off the record”, the city and the developer, in the face of sanctions and a general decline in the economy, simply do not have enough money for such a grandiose project.