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Jurmala strategy agreed

  • 2011-12-22
  • From wire reports

RIGA - Jurmala City Council on Dec. 15 approved the city’s territorial development strategy for the next twelve-year period, reports LETA. The initial version of the document had caused an uproar: Jurmala residents complained that it was not environmentally-friendly, and strongly disapproved of several provisions in the strategy. Now the strategy has been amended significantly in line with residents’ proposals, said Jurmala Mayor Gatis Truksnis (Latvia’s First Party/ Latvia’s Way). The new version of the territorial development strategy provides that only buildings of up to five stories could be built in the resort city during the next twelve years, and the plan for building a promenade on the beach has been cancelled, said Truksnis.

The mayor added that the strategy could be altered if necessary, and that every new construction project would require a separate public debate. The Council’s development plan now provides that a new hotel could be built in Dubulti, right at the sea, where a 4.5-hectare land plot has been reserved for it. The city council plans to reach a deal with a major investor on building the hotel.

Mayor Truksnis said that the municipality was planning to attract a respected investor, “on a par with Hilton,” for the development of the project. One of the strategic goals of Jurmala is to be able to accommodate up to 500,000 tourists in the city’s hotels every year. At the moment, around 241,000 tourists visit the city each year. “Grupa 93” which drew up the project believes that a global market leader would have to be brought to Jurmala for attaining the goal, such as Mariott International, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Four Seasons Hotels, Hilton or an other company of this scale.

This would put Jurmala on the map of the world’s best resorts, bring more tourists to the city and improve Jurmala’s prestige, said “Grupa 93” representative Neils Balgalis. At the same time, the activity of small- and medium-sized businesses in Jurmala must be facilitated so there would be more spa and resort services in the city. “Even Riga does not have a hotel that would equal Sheraton or Hyatt. If an investor of such caliber enters Latvia, we will be put on the world map, more people will travel here,” said Balgalis, adding that such a hotel would make it easier for Jurmala to achieve its strategic goal of a half-million tourists a year. The 4.5-hectare land plot in Dubulti is situated at the end of Ogres Street, not far from Dzintari concert hall where the annual pop music festival ‘New Wave’ is held.