In December 2006 some Sochi residents rallied against holding the Olympic Games in Sochi. The major concerns that they brought up were dense building constructions, ecological impact of the rapid development, and already overloaded transportation infrastructure, writes “Novaya Gazeta Kubani” newspaper.

December is not today, but this is recent, and still is of current importance.

I can tell you for a fact that every single Sochi resident is concerned about these issues. Most Sochi residential buildings are 5 stories high, some rise 10-12 stories, and to many people it is difficult to see 20-30 buildings grow right near the beaches, or to see forest cut out just to make room for new developments, considering Sochi is located in Russian National Caucasus Biosphere Reserve. I have to admit that it hurts me to see some of those developments evolve too. And of course no one likes to sit in the traffic for hours. But Russia’s economy is improving year after year, Sochi is Russia’s only subtropics (in addition to its many other unique features), so the city is already growing, and not having Olympic Games is not going to stop it. The way I look at it (and vast majority of Sochi residents reason the same), having government control over city development will solve or ease some of these problems, not worsen them. Minimal ecological impact during Olympic preparations is one of the key requirements of the International Olympic Committee, this means that all domestic and international ecological institutions’ eyes are going to be on Sochi for the next several years, if Sochi gets the Olympics. This will put a lot of pressure on the Government, and further on the contractors to do things right. And there’s no way anyone will be able to host hundreds of thousands people more with Sochi’s current transportation infrastructure. It will only get better with the money invested for the Olympic Games, it has to.

It’s important, and good to see that public can organize to express their concerns together. I just think they could better use their organizational capabilities to become another layer of control over how the development proceeds.

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