May 19, 2018 - Hundreds of citizens of Tivat and Boka Kotorska responded to the invitation of the informal civic initiative "Bokobran". They protested at Ponta Seljanovo against the expedition that the Sea Trade company plans to move this popular beach out of the sand and place up to 252 deck chairs. The protesters sent a message that such a plan for them is unacceptable. With the whistles and the sounds of the drums, "Bokobran" prepared a protest walk from the Adriatic Marinas Administrative Building to Ponta Seljanovo. The participants of the protest held signs reading "Bokobran - No Town Hall", "Basta", "Thank You for Sustainable Disintegration", and more. Among the participants of the protest were the citizens of Boka, activists, members of the Tivat parties, as well as the numerous citizens of Seljanovo. The organizers announced that they invited the mayor of the municipality, Snežana Matijević, to the meeting, but she didn’t respond to the call.
"We borrowed this wonderful piece of the coast from our heirs, but we gave up our responsibility, we agree to finished products. We have forgotten that it is our space, our country and that we are legitimate and trusted to somebody in our name to decide and represent us. Montenegro has established a space planning system where law enforces most of the devastation in Boka. What we have in this space is nothing compared to what is drawn and what is written in the plans. And that was not enough, but the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism has introduced the State Study Location that has the power of law, and that plan is not respected at Ponta Seljanovo," said Antonela Stjepčević from “Bokobran”, adding that even the environmental impact assessment report was not compiled following the State Study Location in the urban technical conditions issued by the municipality of Tivat. "All this is happening in front of our eyes. The Sea Benefit manages Ponta Seljanovo, but who prevents the Tivat municipality that has a 5.6 million euro surplus to take over Ponta, make the promenade and the beach for the citizens of Tivat?" asked Stjepčević.
She then read a letter sent from Slavica Kašćelan-Petović, a scientific associate of the Kotor Institute of Marine Biology, who pointed out that primarily because of the poorly circulating seawater and the intense development of nautical tourism in the Boka Bay, an equilibrium was disturbed.
"Any intervention on the land-sea border leads to changes in the physical conditions of the environment for the organisms that live there. Breaking the beach and cementing the coast irretrievably destroys the existing habitat. How bad it is to become aware of it only much later when we notice that some species are no longer economically valuable, and then it is usually late to do what they are doing," wrote Slavica Kašćelan Petović in her letter. She emphasized that the researchers of the Institute of Marine Biology have shown the presence of protected species on Ponta Seljanovo - "cystoseira barbata", "cymodea nodosa", "aplysina aeropohoba" roach, coral "cladocora caespitosa", shellfish, sea cucumber from "holothuria" sea horses "hippocampus guttulatus". "The presence of these kinds of species is a huge reason to protect this area," includes the letter from the scientific associates of the Kotor Institute.
President of the board of directors of the NGO “Matica Boke”, Željko Komnenović, pointed out that the coastal area of Boka and Primorje is under the brutal centralization that is experiencing its peak after the Law on the Arrangement of Space and Construction of Facilities had passed. He accepted that the "Bokobran" initiative around Ponta Seljanovo was the third most recent gathering in Tivat, where citizens protest for the usurpation of the beach.
"Because of the access to the beach Blue Horizons, the citizens of the settlement Krtole blocked the traffic, and after that, there was a civil protest on the town beach that was converted from a public beach to hotel’s," said Komnenović. "All of this is the result of a catastrophic law that threatens Boka and the way of life of her citizens. Local government’s hands are tied, space is managed from Podgorica, and the locals will know how things can look, but they will not be able to approach it. See what happened in Krašići. The Spatial Plan of the Coastal Area, which is in the form of a draft and foresees the "valorization" of every corner of the coast, is now being restored, said the President of the board of directors of “Matica Boke”. He welcomed the "Bokobran" initiative and called for the unity of all civil organizations from Herceg Novi to Ulcinj.
A resident of Seljanovo town, Sanja Vuković, said that every inhabitant of this part of Tivat has sweet memories from this beach. "I personally have nothing against any investor who comes here, people are looking for entertaining projects, and Boka is certainly a good place to invest. I have a problem with the uncontrolled devastation of our coast. As a citizen, I think it cannot be normal for us to constantly backfill the sand of the sea, making artificial beaches and destroying the living world that survives. As I read in the media, it is planned to fill the beaches along the entire Riviera, from Verige, through Donja Lastva and beyond. Will we, as citizens, allow all this? We think it is a commitment to ourselves and our children to stand up and say that they cannot," said Sanja Vuković.
We have heard the story of the limit of tolerance of the living world that speaks of its sustainability because it is something unsustainable that distorts it. Our world is now ruined. At least we can express our disapproval and unwillingness to be a part of those who allow it. One day our children will ask us and wonder how beautiful Boka was. We will say - 'We tried to keep it'. They’ll ask - 'Why is there so much concrete here?' And we'll say, 'At least we tried to save her,'" said Marijana Mišić Škanata, president of the European House of Tivat. She also wrote a poem, which begins with the verse:
"Our dearest Boka,
wounded you deeply
Swirled with concrete,
under false honey
for the advancement of tourism
You got the boot
Hiding the view
Now you're losing oxygen
A bride’s face
overcome with make-up
It's time to get up
We want natural beauty
Instead of a snobby job
Who will love you
When they make the Adriatic dimly
Beaches where it is not their place
Everyone needs to understand
Unesco's status is muddled
Who will be elected
Do not be stupid
Let's get in the wheel,
defend the remainder
Let's save Boka’s
Because without them we're losing
Human Statutes, too