The project of about 2 billion new lek for the construction of the Eco Park cannot yet be considered completed. The area that until 2019 served as a waste dump and a source of environmental pollution in Porto Romano was turned into an amusement park, which is still not functional. According to the Durrës municipality, the tendering process for the approval of the facility is delaying the opening of the Eco-Park in the city of Durrës, while the deadlines promised by both the government and the municipality are being violated one after the other.
“On June 1st of this year, the ‘Eco Park’, which is close to this area and which will have a direct impact not only on the residents who live around it, but on all the citizens of Durres, will be inagurated”, promised the mayor of Durres Emiriana Sako on March 3rd of this year.
6 months after the expiry of the deadline promised by the mayor, Faktoje addressed a request for information to the Municipality of Durrës. We officially asked this institution if the works for the ‘Eco Park’ had been completed and when the facility was expected to open.
Request for information sent to the Municipality of Durrës, September 19, 2022
In its reply, Durrës Municipality announces that Eco-Park has been completed, but it is in the process of approval.
“The Ecopark project is completed. The term according to the signed contract is 18 months. The Ecopark project is expected to open as soon as the facility’s approval process is completed and it is handed over to the Durrës Municipality for use,” says Durrës Municipality officially.
Further, the municipality argues: “The Ecopark project is not in use, due to delays in the procedure for the selection of the auditor, a procedure which was done in accordance with the procurement legislation in force. Complaints and the review of complaints by the PPC has also postponed the start of the approval process and its operation. Recently, we learned that the PPC has officially taken its decision on the selection of the inspector and very soon the work will begin on the inspection of the object, its handover to the final beneficiary and its use by the public”. According to Durrës Municipality, the cost of the project is 1,950,115,822, 45 ALL, including VAT.
Eco Park, June 7, 2022
Faktoje made a verification in Durrës on October 7, to see closely what stage the Eco-Park project was at. During the on-site verification, we noticed that the work on its construction had been completed, but the facility was not yet open. It seems that the citizens’ interest in the park was high. During the on-site verification, we met some residents, who had come to ask when the facility would open.
Eco Park, June 7, 2022
“They lied to us several times. They told us it would open in June, but it didn’t. Then they said in September, we came to check, but it was not yet open”, said a 32-year-old.
A 25-year-old said: “Such a space is missing in Durrës. The Eco-Park has a football, volleyball, basketball, table tennis, tennis court, as well as a place for climbing. There are changing rooms and a restaurant.”
Eco Park, June 7, 2022
The broken promises for the Eco-Park
In June 2018, Prime Minister Edi Rama spoke about the construction of an Eco Park that would replace the urban waste field in Porto-Romano.
In 2019, Prime Minister Edi Rama declared: “Xhuli [Zhyljen Varfaj, acting mayor of Durrës Municipality at the time] June 1st, 2021 should be the biggest party that children have ever seen in the history of Albania, here with the new park of Durrës”.
Promises for the opening of the Eco Park were also made by the mayor of Durrës, Emiriana Sako. In March 2021, Sako said the park project would be completed in October of that year.
Another promise for this park was also made by Minister Belinda Balluku in May 2021. She promised that the works would be completed at the end of September.
Based on the verification carried out and the information gathered, we decided to categorize the promise of the mayor of Durrës, Emirjana Sako, as an unkept promise. The promise for the Eco Park is part of the major commitments that are actually undertaken by the government, but often they are articulated by local leaders, creating expectations among the public.
“Faktoje”, supported by the National Endowment Democracy (NED), has launched a monitoring project in 10 municipalities of the country, with the aim of verifying the promises given by the mayors.