Despite the fact that the new ALL 700 million project’s deadline has been officially missed, works at the Tirana Zoological Park continue. Unlike in the past, Mayor Veliaj did not announce a new deadline during his recent interview on the TV show “Real Story.” Faktoje was able to obtain an official confirmation from Tirana Municipality that the works will be completed in December, despite the fact that they had previously said that they would be completed in the third week of June.
“We are nearing the end of the Zoological Park’s construction. I personally examined it a couple of times and it looks fantastic. There are numerous rooms and, for the first time, an underground parking lot. There will also be some didactic areas for shows, as well as other multimedia spaces where children can spend half of their day. The lake and Zoological Park will undoubtedly be Tirana’s most attractive spaces. Citizens will be allowed to use the underground parking lot beyond the Zoological Park’s operating hours.” – Mayor Veliaj said in an interview with News 24’s “Real Story” show about a week ago.
Mr. Veliaj succeeded to evade answering the journalist Sokol Balla’s question on the project’s end date.
According to Faktoje fact-checking on the ground, construction on a few additional Zoological Park facilities is still underway, as reported by Mr. Veliaj as well.
Works in the Zoological Park, September 2021
The works were scheduled to take 12 months, according to the sign at the construction site’s entrance, however the start date was not mentioned. According to the Parks and Recreation Agency’s (PRA) official website, construction began in August 2020, while according to Tirana Municipality’s official reply, works began in June 2020. What is clear is that the project’s completion date has passed, whether it is shown on the construction site sign or municipality paperwork.
The project sign on the Zoological Park redesign
Faktoje, which had reported Mr. Veliaj’s next broken promise on the Zoological Park’s opening on June 1, contacted Tirana Municipality again in the first week of September to inquire on the project’s completion.
On September 21, the Municipality responded, stating that the Zoological Park would be completed by December. Furthermore, the official reply underlines that the June 1 deadline was set in response to the Mayor’s wish to complete the works on Children’s Day.
Tirana Municipality reply, September 21, 2021
“The facility’s construction is nearing completion, and it will be finished by the deadline of December 2021. Kindly be informed that the contract did not stipulate that the works be completed on June 1, but rather it was the good will to do it on Children’s Day, before the deadline. Due to unanticipated works during the cleaning of the foundation, the date was missed.” – the Municipality stated on their reply to Faktoje.
Faktoje received an official reply from the Municipality on May 7, 2021.
“Around 60% of the work on the Zoological Park’s redesign has been completed. These works are scheduled to be completed on June 18, 2021, as per the contract deadline. ALL 739 908 795. 98 (VAT inclusive) is the total value of the undertaking contract.”
Tirana Municipality reply, May 7, 2021
How many times has Mayor Veliaj failed to deliver on his promises about the Zoological Park?
One of the promises Mayor Veliaj made during his first term in office in 2015 was to revitalize the new Zoological Park.
On October 13, 2018, he said that construction of the Zoological Park would begin the following year.
“We’ll put some money aside to help fund the new Zoological Park. We’re going to redesign it and make it one of the most beautiful in our region. We’ll link the Zoological Park and Botanic Garden together so that flora and fauna may coexist.” – three years ago, Veliaj promised.
He made the same promise in 2019.
Mr. Veliaj outlined the project and announced its launch in 2020.