Battle for Estonian Coastline continues

  • 2015-09-02
  • By Stuart Garlick

TALLINN - Following The Baltic Times’ investigation into the proposed changes to Tallinn’s Kalarand beach area, a great deal of response has been received from all stakeholders and from all sides of the debate.
We spoke last month to Teele Pehk, an urbanist who is questioning the detail plan for construction provided by Kalarand’s long-term owners, property developers AS Pro Kapital.

Due to deadlines and space considerations, we were not able to include all of the opinions and views we hoped in last month’s article. We have since published corrections and clarifications related to specifics of the detailed plan submitted by Pro Kapital, which are available to view on the initial article online.

However, there is another, very important, stakeholder in the development of Kalarand, and that is the municipal authority, Tallinn City Government. It is the city government which, taking into account the results of an ongoing public consultation process on the website, will make the final decision on the future of the quiet north-Tallinn beach, which sits next to the growing and fashionable Kalamaja area of the city.

Tallinn City Government had already incurred the ire of some local residents by replacing the popular Cultural Kilometre footpath, which provided an uninterrupted car-free and tree-covered route from Kalasadama through to the Lennusadam (Seaplane Harbour) museum, and was a considerable draw for tourists loving a nice view and peace-and-quiet in a city.
However, others have noted that Kalarand street, as the wide bypass is known, will relieve traffic problems currently in evidence in other parts of Kalamaja. It will also provide HGV access to a financially-important part of the city, where a great deal of construction work is currently taking place.

Erki Korp, Head of Public Procurement at Tallinn City Government, explained, “Kalarand street was planned before the Culture Kilometre. The Culture Kilometer project was temporary. The design prerequisite of Kalarand street was to provide a route for light traffic on the path of the cultural kilometre. The new road creates additional opportunities, spreading traffic from the extremely congested streets of Kalamaja, also taking into consideration the requirements of Pro Kapital’s plans, concerning the beach promenade, which is going to bring even more light vehicle and foot traffic.”

Korp was clear in his support for development work to take place in the Kalarand area. “Tallinn City Government will support the changes, including the proposal for a beach promenade to be built.”
As Korp saw it, the mooted changes were positive for an area hitherto little-developed in relation to many other parts of Tallinn. “Kalarand is located in the port of which AS Pro Kapital is registered as owner. The detailed plans aim to open access to the sea and to the citizens of the city to create a coherent public space, and to provide appropriate solutions for the perimeter of the city, and for ongoing building and development in the region.”

Korp also denied any conflict between the popularity of the Cultural Kilometre with residents and tourists and Tallinn City Government’s desire to create a vehicle route on the site.
The footpath and cycle route had been featured on a regular basis in tourist-focused literature such as the monthly Baltic Guide magazine, but Korp is positive about the future. “The route, whether in the form of the Cultural Kilometre or Kalarand Street, is very important, both to the community, and to ensure access to [Pararei] prison [a derelict former inter-war and Soviet prison complex], and Lennusadam.”