Lately, more and more reports about illegal construction of gas stations in Chisinau appeared in the press.
Currently, over 200 gas stations "decorate" the urban landscape of the "greenest" city in Europe. Chisinau local government aspirations are European, less are their decisions. Permits for the construction of gas stations are released without taking into account neighbouring green areas, apartment blocks or social institutions.
According to experts in the field, the exaggerated number of gas stations and their appearance in inadequate spaces is due to the imperfect legal framework and corruption among officials from local public authorities.
Gas station in the park
The most recent case of illegal construction of a gas station was recorded at a site on Calea Iesilor str. in the capital, which lies right in front of the park Alunelul. The Head of Chisinau Ecology Agency, Mr. Ustim Stircea, stated in a public dialogue that the documents allowing the construction of the gas stations were issued despite the fact that there are a number of issues on its location: the green area, the pavement, the protection zone of a historic monument, its closeness to Artima factory. The Regional Environmental Center also declared that the City Hall has authorized the construction, even if the operator does not have the sanitary approval and the environmental expertise of the project.
The construction of two gas stations was initiated on this street, while the residents of the area (around 700) protested and signed a petition expressing their dissatisfaction with the respective construction. They accused the authorities of allowing the illegal construction of these stations.
The acting chief architect of the capital, Mr. Ion Carpov, however, states that he refused to isue the construction permit, but he was forced by the court to release it.
Source: Ion Stefanita
The construction was initiated by the company X Petrol. Following the protests of the residents, a special committee meeting has been held in Buiucani praetura and it was attended by several municipal councilors, representatives of the company, the Praetor and the residents that are unsatisfied of the construction of the gas station.
facebook.com (Save the green Chisinau)
During the meeting it was decided that the company will receive another plot for the gas station. However, defying the moratorium by which the CMC suspended the construction of the gas stations in the capital, X Petrol continued the works, obtaining a court decision that annulled the CMC decision regarding the building on Calea Ieşilor str. Besides, the company achieved the plots for construction also by a court decision.
The city residents risk to remain without water
Another construction scandal is linked to a gas station in Rascani sector. The access road to it could leave 150 apartment blocks in the capital without water.
The representatives of Termoelectrica informed that it will be built on top of certain heating pipes, thus making it difficult to repair the pipes, as they will not be able to intervene in the event of a failure, and there is a risk for approximately 150 apartment blocks in the neighborhood of Poşta Veche to remain without hot water in this case. As in other cases, the oil company representatives say they have all the necessary documents to perform the works.
The gas station near the Circus
Another sound case is the gas station to be built in the green area around the Circus. It had been concealed by installing during the night of 25 to 26 March of a fence that exibited photographs representing Moldova. This building would belong to the company Bemol.According to the municipal councilor Mr. Ilian Casu, the construction began due to the refusal of Mr. Dorin Chirtoaca to sign the order on the annulment of the construction permit.
The councillor expressed his revolt on his Facebook page about the appearance overnight of a fence with photos: "The cynicism of Bemol company knows no boundaries: thievishly, last night, there has been installed a fence with sacred images for the Republic of Moldova, just to hide the transgressions with the gas station next to the circus. In its manic chase after profit, Bemol cut the trees, destroyed a sidewalk and builds the gas station on a gas pipeline. It is regrettable for us, the citizens, that the robber regime issues authorisations for those having money, even for tourist rides in space”.
After monitoring the situation for several weeks, the counselor announced that the gas station will still be built.
The CMC moratorium annulled by the Center Court
The initiative of a moratorium on the construction of gas stations in Chisinau and termination of certain licenses was launched by the independent councilor, Mr. Ion Stefanita. He explained that it is not only his initiative, but it also reflects the complaints of hundreds of people living near the sites of future gas stations. During a public dialogue the counselor mentionned that the problem of overcrowding gas stations in Chisinau appeared due to the fact that municipal authorities issue permits even when the economic agent does not have all the documents required by law. He further states that, generally, at the construction of gas stations trees and shrubs are cut and the lawn is destroyed.
Most municipal councilors supported the initiative by voting for the moratorium until the development of a scheme of location, being suspended the permits for the construction of gas stations on Calea Iesilor str., Dimo str., Renasterii blvd., Sadoveanu str. and Melestiu str.
Thus, the CMC decided to establish a one year moratorium, until the development of a scheme of gas stations’ location in the city, so that neither the environment nor the people around would be damaged. The decision regarding the moratorium has been unanimously voted at the meeting of the CMC on February 18, 2016.
However, only 2 months after its approval, the decision has been annulled. Canceling targeted the gas stations located on Calea Iesilor str., belonging to the company "X Petrol grup". The decision was taken by the judge of the Center Court Garri Bivol, with the right to appeal.
CMC representatives were not present at the meeting. The court determined that the CMC had no power to stop or suspend the validity of construction permits, this being under the competence of the State Construction Inspection:
"Taking into account that during the court hearing it was established the lack of competence of the CMC to stop or suspend the validity of construction permits, as well as the lack of clear arguments on the necessity to suspend them, and the lack of guarantees of damage payment for the investments undertaken by the beneficiary LTD „Xpetrol grup”. the court considers appropriate to admit the action as being grounded and to annule pt. 2 of the CMC Decision no. 1/9 of 18.02.2016 „on the declaration of a moratorium on the design and bulding of gas stations in Chisinau” as it regards the gas stations on 6 Calea Iesilor str. with the cadastral number 0100518.527 and on Calea Iesilor str. (Alunelul park) with the cadastral number 0100508.483".
How many gas stations are, though, in Chișinău?
The image shows half of gas stations in Chisinau / source: agora.md
According to the National Agency for Energy Regulation (NAER) data, there are are 217 gas stations in Chisinau. This number was also indicated in the explanatory note to the decision on the moratorium. However, some officials from the municipality indicates other figures. Thus, the representative of the Architecture and Urban Planning Department of Chisinau Municipality, Mr. Stefan Gheorghita, said that according to the data of the Architecture Department currently in Chisinau there are located 109 gas stations. The representative of the General Directorate Trade, Catering and Service of the Chisinau City Hall, Mrs. Larisa Osoianu, mentioned another number. She said that according to the data of the Directorate of Public Alimentation in Chisinau there are not 109 but 128 gas stations.
However. the most commonly operated number is of 217 stations, provided by NAER. According to the Public Association "Urban environmental movement", this number exceeds with 95 gas stations the number set out in the municipal scheme of gas stations’ location.
Most gas stations in the capital belong to companies Lukoil, Rompetrol, Petrom, Bemol and Tirex Petrol:
The media presented comparative data of the number of gas stations in Chisinau with the towns in the region. According to statistics, the number of gas stations in Chisinau, compared to other cities in the region, is higher - about 130 gas stations for a population of about 800 thousand inhabitants. For comparison, in Bucharest, Romania, where there are 2 million inhabitants, there are about 300 filling stations. In Odessa, Ukraine, where there is over 1 million people, there are about 135 gas stations, while in Iasi, Romania, there are upon over 50 filling stations for 320 thousand inhabitants.
Gas stations are not ECO
So far, in Moldova, including in Chisinau, there is no map of pollution, as it exists in all European capitals and this influences the issue of permits for construction of gas stations, as well.
Several public organizations advocate against the construction of gas stations in the capital. According to some of them, gas stations are not considered as dangerous industrial objects by local authorities, but as commercial objects. The representatives of environmental NGOs state that most authorizations are issued illegally for gas stations.
Among organizations that advocate for environmental protection there are: the Urban Ecological Movement and the Regional Environmental Centre, that warned the authorities on environmental hazards, including at the construction of gas stations around the park.
These NGOs repeatedly informed that when building gas stations there are cut a lot of trees and social neighborhood objectives are neglected.
1 mln Euro to build a gas station
According to the portal bani.md the necessary investments for the construction of gas stations reach 1 mln Euros in Moldova.
The respective sum was mentioned by former Finance Minister, Mr. Anatol Arapu. According to him, namely 1 million euros are spent for the construction of gas stations.
The Minister stated that the activity license for the retail sale of fuel is not cheap as well. Thus, the right to retail oil and diesel at gas stations costs about 26 thousand lei, while the license for the retail of liquefied gas costs about 13 thousand lei. These amounts are also shown on the web page of the NAER.