Citizens clueless about Danube shore mobile dam construction

The Budapest City Council has already made several decisions regarding the Római part (Roman Shore) dam system, most of them in cooperation with the local district’s office. In short, the law requires a first-class defense system to be built by the City Council. The Council, on the other hand, classified the territory as one that only requires a ‘summer dam’, which is a much lighter structure that is easily built up and then dismantled. As the highest point of this mobile dam does not reach the height specified in the relevant regulatory documents, it has to be financed from sources other than the EU funds.

The primary reason for constructing the dam and the necessary embankment was to protect the unique heritage of this part of the capital that is now the only remaining natural Danube shore, which has also been a popular leisure destination for many generations. The area hosts a number of seasonal open-air restaurants and bars that are decaying fast. Most of them are concentrated right on the riverside, the very area required for the dam embankment, which is supposed to defend the very same properties that now need to be destroyed because of the constructions. Hence there’s a considerable incomprehension and obscurity about and around the summer dam project.

Or there isn’t? Meet the lobbyists of north Budapest.

– A big shot at the Association for the Roman Shore is Gábor Egri, listed as one of the 100 wealthiest Hungarians. As the owner of the Holiday Beach Budapest, a luxury hotel at the riverside, his property is highly exposed to seasonal floodings in the area.

– The investors and property owners in the six high-end residential complexes, out of which two is situated within the area behind the future summer dam (ie. between the Rozgonyi and Kadosa streets).

– Two further members of the Association are Csaba Galgóczy and Antal Győző Búzás, the former being a significant property owner in the flood area, the latter a local party politician who also lives in an endangered area.

Another significant stakeholder in the area is the Római Tennis Academy (RTA), which was damaged severely during the 2006 flooding but survived the 2010 events due to its privately built dam (partly financed by debt).

Any conclusions to be drawn? First, most of the properties in the area are already more or less well protected from a sizeable flood. The decaying local seasonal pubs will not be saved by a new mobile dam anyways. Second, it is obscure that, apart from a small number of private individuals, who else will be protected by a publicly financed mobile dam. Lastly, and most importantly, due to the newly built embankment, the meteoric rise of the value of about three acres land is expected. The public and the authorities are clueless about the ownership structures, and further developments plans of this area.

Read atlatszo.hu’s Hungarian language coverage on the Roman Shore dam system published here and here in March 2013. The text was translated by atlatszo.hu volunteers.