Durlești Forest, located in the suburbs of Chisinau, is destroyed under the eyes of the authorities. Instead of trees growing, we see reinforced concrete constructions all over the place, despite the fact that only light and demountable constructions are permitted in the forests. Those who pour concrete into the forest have great interest, as the price of a house in this area can reach 200,000 euros. Currently, seven buildings are under construction in the Durlești forest. However, the inhabitants of the area are afraid that the whole forest will be cut down and used for real estate purposes.
Durlești Forest, located in one of Chisinau’s sectors has an area of over 250 hectares. In 2008, the central administrative authority in forestry Moldsilva agreed to rent 40 hectares of the forest land to a company Batami Grup. The lease contract is valid until 2037. On this plot of forest, the new company borrower initiated the construction of several buildings.
“We were shocked that the forest was being cut down illegally”
The inhabitants of the Poiana Domnească neighborhood, located in the nearby Durlești forest, say that, in December 2020, during the night, they heard the noise of saws and cars bringing concrete. “We were shocked that the forest was being cut down illegally. About 50 trees were cut down. Dozens more have already been prepared, concrete has been poured around them for the foundation and they are still expected to be cut,” reports a resident of the area.
“I notified the Prosecutor’s Office, I called the police on the spot and the work stopped for a while. But you see how much has already been done. From the last data I understood that the lots are already distributed, they are registered at the Real Estate Agency. I don’t understand how this was done, based only on the rent. It’s a bit strange, it’s like I would rent the apartment from someone and sell that apartment in pieces”, says the resident of the area.
Residents in the area demand the cancellation of the forest renting contract
Residents of the “Poiana Domnească” sector next to the forest signed a petition and submitted it to several state institutions. “Certainly, these constructions are not carried out for the purpose of a recreational area, but to be sold as private houses, which contradicts the legislation. A similar situation has already taken place in the same forest, only from the lower part of Durlești, where the constructions are finished, moreover, connected to the engineering networks and registered at the cadastral office. Our concern is even greater. The area is located at the highest point in Chișinău, being at high risk of landslides, with a lot of underground springs that are at shallow depths. Cutting the forest, and digging the buildings’ foundation, will inevitably change the land and will endanger the houses in the area by landslides,” states the petition.
Environmental inspector: “The company didn’t present any documents allowing them to cut down trees”
The Inspectorate for Environmental Protection is among the institutions notified by the locals. At the end of December 2020, an IPM team carried out an inspection. The representatives declared to us that “there are illegal cuts and violations” but they would need several more days for a final statement.
The renter avoid talking to ZdG
Ion Meleca, the forest renter and the one who initiated the constructions, was present on the spot when the Inspectorate for Environmental Protection representatives were performing the inspection. He refused to talk with the ZdG team in front of the camera and told us to come back in a few days to set up an interview.
Reinforced concrete pillars poured among the trees, registered in the Cadastre as unfinished constructions
The seven buildings that are to appear in the Durlești forest are already registered in the Cadastre with the title of “unfinished construction” even though there are only reinforced concrete pillars poured into the ground.