In October 2015, the public appealed to the state organs with a proposal to return the Kok-Zhailau valley to the national park. This proposal was supported by the Ministry of Agriculture of the RK (Letter No.18-02-30/27102//uk-1892 dated on 26.11.2015).
Administration of the Ile-Alatau National Park, as usually, preferred to stay aside from the solution of the problem. Although, it is not prohibited for them to initiate a question of returning the lands or, at least, to support the public initiative (Letter No. 2-19/1281 dated on 09.11.2015)!
According to the information provided in the letter of the deputy mayor of the city of Almaty, R. Taufikov (No. 2-31/7078 dated on 09.12.2015), the city mayor’s office already spent 8 billion 68 thousand tenge of budget money on the “Kokzhailau” mountain ski resort (MSR) project. This amount includes:
– cost of the feasibility study and project documentation of the “Kokzhailau” MSR – 2 billion 650 million tenge;
– construction of electrical supply line (substation 110/10-10 kW: construction of the building is started, the concrete foundation is completed, equipment is purchased) – 4.1 billion tenge;
– construction of sewage collector of the MSR, preliminary cost of the project – 1 billion 318 million tenge;
– construction of external line for natural gas supply for the “Kokzhailau” MSR (length of the line – 20 km), preliminary cost of construction – 900 million tenge.
At the same time, a request for allocation of finances from the Republic budget for building of infrastructure of the MSR for 2016 was declined. However, the mayor’s office of the city of Almaty informed that, taking into account the 8 billion 68 thousand tenge of the budget money spent on design and construction of the “Kokzhailau” MSR and infrastructure for it, “the mayor’s office believes that adoption of a decision on returning of the Kokzhailau natural landmark to the national park, at the present time, is inexpedient.”
The mayor’s office plans to use the indicated territory for movable objects of ethnic identity, including ethnic villages and others.
It should be noted that earlier, the authorities refused to provide the information about the expenses on construction of the MSR, and this is the first official letter which indicates specific amounts spent on realization of the MSR project.
In summer 2015, the president of the country, Nursultan Nazarbayev, warned the people about the coming “difficult times” and called “the nation to be frugal”. At the same time, he outlined the goals for the government of “not letting social conditions of citizens to worsen and fulfilling all of their social obligations to the population.” Therefore, we decided to calculate what social projects for the city could have used the 8 billion tenge spent (5).
Taking into account that the money were allocated before the August devaluation, by the old currency exchange rate (185 tenge for $1), this amount would be equal to approximately 43.2 million US dollars.
For solution of one of the most urgent problems of the city, that is transportation, solving which would also improve the ecological situation in the city, the following could be done:
– purchasing 21 modern new tramways;
– or building more than 370 km of bike lanes;
– or building a 20-km high-speed bus lane;
– or purchasing 260 new city buses running on natural gas;
– or building a high-speed bus lane or light-rail tram lane from Almaty to Talgar or to Kaskelen (1);
– or purchasing and planting 1.6 million trees (5,000 tenge each)
– or hook up 26.6 thousand private homes to the natural gas grid.
For solution of the social problems in the city, the following could be done:
– building 4 new secondary schools with 1,200-student capacity (2);
– or building 26 childcare facilities with 200-children capacity (3);
– or building 10 outpatient clinics (4)…
Wouldn’t it be better to perform a number of social projects and solve the urgent problems for the city?
* Exchange rate: July 31, 2015 – 185 tenge for $1; December 31, 340 tenge for $1.
(1). Cost of transportation projects is taken from the “Strategy of Sustainable Transport for the city of Almaty” (2012): http://www.almatydc.kz/uploaded_files/682b203634f40bcaa55ca020c193e35413b12b3f.pdf
(2) Approximate amount needed to build one secondary school – 2 billion tenge. Source (2009): http://almaty.gov.kz/page.php?page_id=1319&lang=1&article_id=7623
(3) Approximate amount needed to build one childcare facility – 300 million tenge. Source (2012): http://almaty.gov.kz/page.php?page_id=9&lang=1&news_id=11419
(4) Approximate amount needed to build one outpatient clinic – 800 million tenge. Source (2009): http://www.nomad.su/?a=11-200902160007