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News 28 Feb 17

Croatian Coastal Town Seeks Land for Marina

The coastal town of Ploce has urged Croatia's government not to use its port as a training centre for military special units as this would threaten its plans to build a marina and hotels.

Sven Milekic
BIRN
Zagreb
Ploce. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/OnkelJohn

The Croatian coastal town of Ploce is seeking permission from the government in Zagreb to convert part of the town's now defunct military base into a location suitable for a marina with 400 berths and hotels.

Davor Mihaljevic, chair of the town’s council, from the governing Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, told BIRN on Monday that town authorities had asked for "a part of land” of the former Neretva base, named after the local river, to develop tourism.

They want officials to remove the administrative "special purpose" designation of the location and the site assigned for the building of a marina, hotels and other facilities.

He said the location and existing facilities are worth around 40 million euros, while the investment of the marina would cost around 14 million euros.

Mihaljevic explained that the "special purpose" label prevents such investment and the further development of tourism in the town.

According to the town authorities, another location in town, already used by the military, could be turned into a centre for training a special marine unit, as Defence Minister Damir Krsticevic has proposed.

“There are already projects; there are already interested parties in this,” he continued, explaining that the state could keep its ownership of the site but award a concession.

Mihaljevic said the initial problem was that state authorities had quit leave the base and not guarded it - which had led to the theft of its facilities. Now the reconstruction of the site for military purposes will cost more money, he explained.

He said reports that locals “don’t want the military in the town” were nonsense. The town authorities “understand the need for a southern military port due to national security purposes”, Mihaljevic explained.

Ploce, with 10,000 inhabitants, is located on the delta of the river Neretva, which runs also through neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is located near the 20-kilometre strip of Bosnian coast and the Croatian peninsula of Peljesac.

The town never had much in the way of tourism but was an important logistical centre, with a port connected to an important railway line running through Bosnia to its capital, Sarajevo.

The town will play an important role in the Pan-European Corridor 5c, a highway connecting Budapest, Sarajevo and the town of Opuzen, near Ploce.

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