During a conference, Fazil Askerov, the head of the Tourism Development Association in the Odessa region, presented the project of the Resort City “Danube”, to be built on the sandbar between Lake Sasyk and the Black Sea, close to the Romanian border.
The Danube resort will involve the construction of 10 kilometers of the embankment, approximately 80 hotels (from 150 to 1000 rooms), a site for large-scale music festivals (up to 50 thousand people) and a gambling zone.
Moreover, Askerov believes that it is possible to organize an active sports recreation area on the safe side of the Lake Sasyk (up to 1.5 meters deep) for kitesurfing and canoeing. The host airport will be Izmail, located 90 km from the future resort.
Oddly, the project of the resort was also supported by the former head of the Adjara government in Georgia, Levan Varshalomidze. He approved the project, which, according to Askerov, is planned to be built in the next 5 years, by 2025.
I was told that this project is space. I resisted for a long time. But Levan Varshalomidze, who created Batumi, came and said “do not deny it, because space is close,”Fazil Askerov, Head of the Tourism Development Association
Unfortunately, there are many problems with this project. It has already caused a lot of indignation and criticism by environmentalists and public personalities, concerned about the fate of Lake Sasyk. Scientists are sure that the drying up lake must be damped, connecting to the sea.
Askerov claimed that the project of the resort city “Danube” was developed with the support of the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. The new law on gambling in Ukraine is a triggering factor of this project.
What is the Sasyk lake?
It is a lagoon or liman in southern Ukraine, near the Danube delta. Its area is 215 km2 and the depth up to 3.3 m. It is separated from the sea by a 0.5 km wide sandbar.
Sasyk is an important wetland site for migrating, breeding and moulting birds, named in the Ramsar list (an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands). About 25,000 pairs of wetland birds make their nests there and seasonal conglomerations are up to 100,000 birds.
In 1978, a concrete dam was built on the sandbar and the lagoon was connected to the Danube River by a canal, through which fresh flood waters come. This changed the salinity in the lake, and this fact, together with the recreation and fishing activities, deteriorated the habitat for wildfowl.
The Soviet dam project was aimed to convert the lagoon to a fresh water lake to use for irrigation. However, this failed and the use of water from Sasyk caused the salinization of about 30,000 hectares of land, with detrimental impact on crops and mineralization of ground water and wells. The project ended in ecological, social and economic disaster.
A 2007 report stated that the lagoon was too dangerous for swimming because of pollution, including pesticides and heavy metals. The water is reported as greenish with an unpleasant smell. For this reasons many experts suggest to break the dam and reconnect the lagoon with the sea.