Tunnel through the Gorica Hill, Podgorica, Montenegro

The NGOs managed to stop the idea of building a tunnel through the Gorica Hill. However, another conflict is emerging with the idea for commercial exploitation of the park forest through adventure tourism.


Description
The idea of constructing a 582 meter-long tunnel through the Gorica Hill to link the city center of Podgorica (capital of Montenegro) and the settlement of Zagoric dates from 1978 and was reanimated in 2006. Gorica Hill is a forest park and recreational area. The citizens of Podgorica were not happy with the idea of drilling the tunnel through Gorica in order to ease the traffic congestion in the city center and have organized “The association of Gorica and nature enthusiasts” to oppose the project. Once a recreational area, over the years, Gorica Hill has been neglected, e.g. old tennis courts are now used as parking lots. Therefore, instead of drilling a tunnel, the citizens suggest investments that would enhance quality of life, such as the revitalization of the Gorica park and the building of new tennis courts, as well as more kindergartens, schools, and homes for the elderly in Podgorica. The association stated that the project did not count with an EIA study. In the same year, the Public electricity utility “Elektroprivreda” donated 27,000 US dollars to the Public utility “Zelenilo” for the reforestation of Gorica. The citizens reported irregularities of this activity, such as that PU “Zelenilo” did not fulfill its obligation of planting the trees. In November 2012, during the main hearing of the “Strategic Development Plan of the Capital 2012 – 2017”, the association submitted a petition “NO tunnel through Gorica” to the Deputy Mayor of Podgorica. One year later, the citizens collected signatures (8,000 signatures needed) for the referendum in which they could decide on the construction of the tunnel. As of the information from December 2013, the petition was signed by more than 4,000 citizens and it could still be signed online. In October 2013, the Mayor of Podgorica said that the construction of a tunnel through the Gorica Hill is of great importance for the city and that the project plan does not include any tree removal, moreover it would diminish pollution and noise in the city center. The authorities also explained that the project did not count with an EIA as it was in its planning phase. In May 2014, the European face of Podgorica (a coalition of the Social Democratic and the Positive Montenegro political parties) organized an action at the entrance of Gorica asking for citizens' opinion on the proposed project. Over the years the project's cost has risen from original 7,500,000 USD to current 15,000,000 USD, however it is not clear from where the project money will come. This has made Podgorica citizens suspicious of corruption of the part of city authorities who may be inflating the costs of contracts awarded. Finally, new city authorities quit the idea of building a tunnel. However, in 2016 they  have promoted a new project of adventure tourism at the Gorica Hill. The citizens and NGOs oppose such commercial exploitation of the park forest.
Basic Data
NameTunnel through the Gorica Hill, Podgorica, Montenegro
CountryMontenegro
SitePodgorica
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Urban development conflicts
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific CommoditiesInfrastructure- tunnel
Project Details and Actors
Project Details
The tunnel will be 582 meters long.
See more...
Project Area (in hectares)140
Level of Investment (in USD)15,000,000
Type of PopulationUrban
Potential Affected Population2,500
Start Date13/11/2012
End Date2015
Company Names or State EnterprisesPU “Elektroprivreda” (EPCG) from Montenegro - Public electricity utility. Donation of 27.000 USD for reforestation of the Gorical Hill
PU "Zelenilo" (JP Zelenilo) from Montenegro - In charge of reforestation of the Gorica Hill
Relevant government actorsThe Government of Montenegro, The Environmental Protection Agency of Montenegro
Environmental justice organisations and other supporters“The association of Gorica and nature enthusiasts”; NGO Green Home; Foundation “Our Podgorica”, The European face of Podgorica (political parties )
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationArtistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Air pollution, Noise pollution
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Violations of human rights, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseInstitutional changes
Project cancelled
Development of AlternativesThe citizens associations, NGOs, and some political parties protested against the tunnel construction as it would endanger the nature of Gorica Hill. They proposed redirecting the tunnel investments in kindergartens, schools, tennis courts, and home for the elderly. They also opposed commercial exploitation of the forest park.
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.New city authorities quit the idea of building a tunnel. However, in 2016 they have promoted a new project of adventure tourism at the Gorica Hill.
Sources and Materials
Links

Protesti zbog tunela kroz Goricu obiljezili raspravu o Strateskom planu razvoja Podgorice
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Udruzenje ljubitelja Gorice- various links
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Peticiju protiv izgradnje trunela kroz Goricu potpisalo 1.500 građana
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Održan još jedan protest protiv tunela kroz Goricu
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Borba za Goricu tek počinje: Traži se 6.000 potpisa protiv bušenja
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Peticija protiv gradnje tunela kroz Goricu
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SDY Podgorica opposes the construction of the tunnel through Gorica hill
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Krenulo prikupljanje potpisa za referendum protiv tunela kroz brdo Gorica
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BOJOVIĆ: Građani da se izjasne na referendumu o gradnji tunela kroz brdo Gorica
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Protiv tunela kroz Goricu
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Ne žele tunel kroz Goricu
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Građani protestovali zbog najavljene izgradnje tunela kroz brdo Gorica
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Šta se desilo sa planiranom izgradnjom tunela kroz brdo Gorica?
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Na brdu Gorica grade avanturistički park
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Ne daju Goricu za avanturistički park
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Počela izgradnja avanturističkog parka na Gorici, evo šta će sadržati
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Gorica dobija avanturistički park za 100 dana
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Media Links

Tunel kroz goricu - javna rasprava
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Pošumljavanje gorice
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Links to various videos
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Ne tunel kroz Goricu
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Mugoša: Tunel kroz Goricu potreban gradu
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Ne tunelu kroz Goricu: ''Ukoliko se grad buni i budi, onda postoji"
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Ne tunel kroz Goricu, press - Biljni stanovnici Gorice
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Za i protiv gradnji tunela kroz brdo Gorica - Al Jazeera Balkans
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TV Vijesti 17.11.2012 - Počela peticija protiv izgradnje tunela kroz brdo Gorica
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Other Documents

Gorica is the green heart of Podgorica In May 2014, the political coalition European face of Podgorica set up a board with stickers on which people could write down their opinion on what the money planned for the construction of the tunnel should be spent
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The tunnel will kill Gorica The poster shows gun hole in the Gorica hill
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Petition "NO tunnel through Gorica" The citizents of Podgorica signing the petition against the tunnel through Gorica
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Meta Information
ContributorJovanka Spiric, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)gmail.com
Last update25/05/2016
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