AL JAZEERA: Why plans for a Carpathian ski resort in Ukraine anger activists

Prospect of 'East European Alps' excites president, but developing Svydovets massif into ski resort may harm ecosystem

Fabrice Deprez
Monday, 30 September 2019 23:35

Oleg Berdishin dives into the small glacial lake nested between mountains. The water is cold, 15 degrees Celsius.

The 31-year-old mechanic from Lviv, in western Ukraine, has been coming here throughout the summer, camping by himself next to the lake and riding his motorcycle through the isolated Svydovets massif, in the Ukrainian part of the Carpathian mountains.

"There is simply no place like this one in Ukraine," he said. "It's unique."

In this untouched area of the Carpathian mountains in Ukraine, 60 kilometres (37 miles) north of the Romanian border, plans to build the country's largest ski resort have fuelled tensions between ecologist groups and the local administration.

Environmental activists say the project risks destroying a unique ecosystem as they fear that the country's new leaders will favour economic development over environmental preservation.

Current plans for the Svydovets ski resort - which were first announced in 2017 - include the construction of around 60 hotels and 400 cottages to host up to 22,000 tourists a day, over 230km (140 miles) of ski slopes.

While the patch of land covered by the future resort is almost entirely empty of infrastructure, three villages in the Tyachiv and Rakhiv districts could be affected.

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