Dubrovnik: Environment Group Threatened by Golf Resort Lawsuit

Lauren Simmonds

The Dubrovnik golf resort saga continues.

Unless you have been living under a rock (or just not following us), you’ll have heard something, however little, about the back and forth battle going on just above Dubrovnik. This time, it doesn’t involve guns and the Napoleonic building located high on top of Srdj, but papers, pens, paper, court orders and permits – a likely Croatian story.

The company with the desire to construct a large golf resort on the relatively unspoiled nature atop of Mount Srdj, which towers over the Pearl of the Adriatic and offers some of the most incredible and entirely unique views over not only Croatia’s rugged coastline, but of the interior of neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, attracting tourists year-round, has thrown another spanner in the works of local environmental activists attempting to stop the generally unwelcome idea of a golf park.

While the idea of building such a facility in Dubrovnik is subjective and a matter of opinion, there are many nay-sayers in the city and indeed across the country with more than logical arguments on their side. Not only is Srdj and its picturesque nature, lying so close to a major tourist city, one of the things that makes Croatia’s southernmost destination so unique, but it is the site of a Napoleonic building, Fort Imperijal, which is a symbol of Dubrovnik’s tremendous struggle, sacrifice, and of course eventual victory against the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) and Serbian-Montenegrin aggression. 

The imposing fortress, which is now home to the Homeland War Museum, attracts a great number of tourists who may be unaware of the immense suffering Croatia’s tourist Mecca endured during the messy breakup of Yugoslavia during the 1990s. The Seige of Dubrovnik threatened to raze the beloved UNESCO World Heritage Site to the ground, and Mount Srdj is of as much significance as any war memorial is.

Aside from the tourist money the mountain draws in year after year, its huge significance as a reminder of Dubrovnik’s suffering and victory, and its unspoiled nature, the mountain has only one defence, and that is the protection of environmental activists who have not stopped protesting and fighting golf resort plans for well over a decade now.

Owing to the importance Srdj plays in the hearts and minds of many, the golf resort, about which there are many concerning factors, has been a topic of heated debate from all sides of the political, business and environmental spectrum since its original announcement.

As Metamag/Emily Macintosh writes, activists working to put a halt to any such plans have been served a costly lawsuit over their twelve-year campaign to stop developers’ plans for a mammoth golf resort on top of the sloping mountain above the City of Dubrovnik.

The developers behind the golf project – the Netherlands-based Elitech company and its so-called ”daughter” company are reportedly seeking around 200,000 kuna in damages from Friends of the Earth Croatia – a colossal amount that could force the campaign group to shut down. They are also seeking a court order that would prevent Friends of the Earth from speaking in public about the case.

Friends of the Earth Croatia is part of the Srdj je naš (Srdj is ours) campaign that has been protesting the plans for the huge, gated golf community since all the way back in 2006.

Speaking to META, Enes Ćerimagić, a lawyer for Friends of Earth Croatia, said: “We’re heavily targeted by the investor, and we’re in peril of being shut down. We’re afraid that, more and more, this is becoming a modus operandi against environmental defenders.”

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