Following the receipt of information and reportsfrom numerous NGOs and individuals, the World Heritage Centre requested the State Party to submit a state of conservation report, including clarifications regarding the modernisation and enlargement of the original Main Terrace Restaurant pavilion, all works carried out to protect the Szczytnicki Park and the Great Island’s road project proposal. Taking into account the information received, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies initiated preparation of a state of conservation report for consideration of the World Heritage Committee.
The state of conservation report submitted by the State Party on 18 January 2011 provides feedback on three main issues as requested by the World Heritage Centre.
a) Modernisation and expansion of the Main Terrace Restaurant pavilion (currently Centre for business tourism)
This projectconcerns the rebuilding of a structure, designed by Max Berg in 1913, which contained a restaurant and an open terrace. Like all parts of the Exhibition Grounds included in the property, this part of the building was designed to be in harmony with the Centennial Hall, the main component of the property.
A report transmitted to the World Heritage Centre in 2010 by NGOs underlined that the enlargement of the original pavilion is disproportionate to the original designs and volumes of the structure, and that it was carried out by designers and enterprises not qualified to work with historic structures, that some parts of the original structure were destroyed, and that the external concrete-finished surface (“béton nu”) of the original was replaced by mineral fibre panels.
However, the State Party’s state of conservation report notes that the project was guided by several institutions in charge of supervising work carried out specifically in the historical areas. The State Party report states that the work was guided by an international design competition and was based on detailed historical research and building condition analysis which revealed that much of the original building had been lost or modified after suffering severe damages in 1945. The State Party also notes that the new side pavilions, “following the convention of aesthetic minimalism” were inspired by concept drawings prepared by Max Berg who had developed ideas for enlarging the building to its present size at a later date.
While the State Party provided information to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies for review and comment regarding the planned work on the pavilion in advance of construction in conformity with paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, the quality of work which could be seen in the photos provided by NGOs cannot be evaluated as satisfactory. However, prior to any conclusion, a reactive monitoring mission should be carried out in order to properly examine the works carried out in the property.
b) Protecting Szczytnicki Park
The report transmitted by NGOs observes a constant degradation of environment and the monuments in the Park the reason for that being the reduced means available and raises questions concerning the basis of decisions for cutting trees and means to dispose of them.
The State Party report notes that the suitability of the maintenance work was confirmed by an inspection of Szczytnicki Park in May 2010. The report notes that “pursuant to the regulations in force, works consisting in the removal of trees and shrubs are carried out in accordance with the procedures providing for the documentation of the trees that were cut down, reasons for their removal and information on what happened with the wood”.
It is to be noted that the State Party report does not directly address the specific concerns noted by NGOs (availability of resources, justificationfor cutting, and means used for disposing of trees),other than to state that all decisions respect the regulations in force.
c) Great Island’s road project proposal
The NGOs report notes that the construction of a high speed peripheral road across the island would degrade the natural environment of the Park and its microclimate as well as building surfaces and materials, through the emissions associated with increased vehicular traffic. The report also notes that the new route will separate the “garden cities” of Sepolno and Biskupin from the forest landscape of the Park, and that its construction, including noise barriers, constitutes an insensitive and harsh intrusion in what has been regarded as the “jewel” of the town.
The State Party report notes that the planned route runs outside the inscribed property and through areas adjacent to the buffer zone. The report notes that an environmental impact assessment “proved the admissibility of the works”. Further, the report emphasized the benefits to island residents by reducing “communication intensity” in the buffer zone. The State Party documents the traffic management imperatives and constraints that the new road would address: the inability to widen Zwierzyniecki Bridge or to build a new bridge beside it, limited capacity of Grunwaldzki Square to receive more cars, the increasing number of cars belonging to island residents, and the need to alleviate traffic pressures on the Great Island in view of the increasing number of tourists drawn by its many attractions. The State Party report also notes that traffic will be re-directed to the bypass roads “which run far from this historically important and sensitive area” and that the new road (to be recognized as a low category road rather than as a main road) will give local people easy access to the island. The State Party also confirms that the proposed road was the subject of public consultations.
Following the receipt of additional information from NGOs concerning the Great Island’s road project proposal, the World Heritage Centre requested on 2 May 2011 the State Party to submit detailed documents regarding this project, including an environmental impact assessment for review by the Advisory Bodies.