The Port of Gdansk has recently become an instrument in the political battles of the Mayor of the City of Gdansk. The Mayor of Gdansk has decided to antagonise Gdansk residents and the Port with the aim of increasing his chances of being re-elected. Until now, we have remained silent, hoping that - given the ethos of public service - the Mayor of the City would stop escalating the dispute for his individual benefit. Unfortunately, it appears that his overriding purpose is to put Gdansk residents at odds with a socially responsible company of strategic importance, not only for the economy, but also for the functioning of the City.
On 19 April 2018, we received a letter from the Mayor of the City of Gdansk. Considering the above, with reference to the charges raised by him, we hereby declare the following:
IT IS NOT TRUE that as part of a Study of the conditions and directions of spatial development, the Port of Gdansk requested the right to change the function of 10 ha of beach in the Stogi district (the beach has been held in perpetual usufruct by the PGA for years).
IT IS TRUE that pursuant to the decision of the Mayor of the City of Gdansk, as the entity conducting the proceedings, in the draft Study made available for public review, the beach area was marked as "port-industrial" with the Mayor's consent, upon request of DCT Gdansk S.A. (application no. 246 of 22 March 2016). The Port of Gdansk ONLY submitted a comment to the plan, concerning a change of the function for the forested area situated in the immediate vicinity of the beach - which seems obvious in light of DCT Gdansk S.A.'s request. The comment was rejected by the Mayor.
IT IS NOT TRUE that the commune of Gdansk does not receive any money from the Port of Gdansk through taxation or other activities.IT IS TRUE that:
- In 2016, the City budget received the following amounts from the Port of Gdansk Authority:
In total, this amounts to: PLN 20,722,811.97 (constituting 10.63% of the PGA's revenues).
- PLN 19,126,830 in property tax,
- PLN 1,268,148.28 in perpetual usufruct,
- PLN 220,095.79 in land charges,
- PLN 101,237 in charges for economic use of the environment,
- PLN 1,582 in stamp duties,
- PLN 4,918.90 in land survey charges.
- In 2017, the budget of the City received the following amounts from the Port of Gdansk Authority:
In total, this amounts to: PLN 21,089,978.26 (constituting 10.25% of the PGA's revenues).
- PLN 19,557,372 in property tax,
- PLN 1,268,148.28 in perpetual usufruct,
- PLN 220,095 in land charges,
- PLN 182.29 in charges for economic use of the environment,
- PLN 5,310 zł in forest clearance pursuant to the decision,
- PLN 2,709 in stamp duties,
- PLN 36,161.90 in land survey charges.
Within two years, contributions from the Port of Gdansk were sufficient to cover, for example, the City's share of the costs of revitalisation across the entire city of Gdansk ("The total value of revitalisation projects completed in Gdansk comes to over PLN 104 million, out of which more than PLN 64 million comes from [EU] subsidies", source: gdansk.pl)
IT IS NOT TRUE that Gdansk residents do not benefit from the activity of the Port of Gdansk.
IT IS TRUE that many Gdansk residents are employed at the Port. Thanks to their hard work, they are able to support their families. The logical conclusion is therefore that some Gdansk residents make a living from the Port. The investments carried out, the growing transshipment volumes, and the expanding business offer of Gdansk's port all lead to new jobs being created and are a source of pride among Gdansk residents. The claim that the Port's development does not benefit the locals is therefore incomprehensible.
IT IS NOT TRUE that the Port of Gdansk Authority does not carry out activities for the benefit of the local community.
IT IS TRUE that we carry out such activities both for the residents of the city and the region. These are activities not undertaken by previous Port authorities. The Port of Gdansk is finally becoming a place that is open to people - for those interested, we organise walks around the Port (about 70 Gdansk residents took part in four guided walks on a single weekend in April last year), we show school trips from Gdansk and across Poland around the Port each week, and we support school competitions; as a Group of Companies, we support charitable foundations, we aim to create an outdoor summer cinema for locals, and we co-organise the Tri-City Sailing Cup with its final in Gdansk. We are finishing work on a project involving an Infobox that will be created at the mouth of the Martwa Wisla River and will constitute a public space. The value of the project comes to around PLN 5 million. We are planning to include exhibition, conference and catering facilities there.
We are particularly surprised at the lack of consistency in the Mayor's actions. On 4 March 2016, the then President of the PGA, Dorota Raben, received a letter from the Mayor of the City of Gdansk, in which the Mayor requested our position on the Port's development aims and planned investments for the purposes of the "Study...". The letter reads:
"In particular I request that you address the issue of the possible development of the port towards the east on the Stogi Island (Port Island), i.e. towards the bathing beach in the Stogi district. The available information indicates that the Development Strategy of the Port of Gdansk until 2027 focuses on the basin and the areas located to the north and west of the Port Polnocny. In the past, you also considered the possible eastern direction of development. Taking into consideration the strategy and the long-term vision for the port's development as one of the primary economic bases of the city, in our opinion, reserving land in the eastern direction is by all means recommended".
The Mayor, therefore, was the one to suggest the Port's development towards the east. Is the approach to the issue at hand dependent on who is the Port's President at any given time? Was the "interest of the residents of the Stogi district" not yet a priority for the Mayor in 2016?
We wish to assure everyone that the development plans of the Port of Gdansk will be implemented based on the concept of the Central Port - which will be built at the base of the Westerplatte Peninsula - included in the Strategy of Development of the Port of Gdansk.
The proposal to establish the "Pact for Stogi" initiative is nothing other than an element of a political game. We are certain that the revenues generated by the Port for the city's budget can be used in such a way as to provide the districts located in the immediate vicinity of the port with the majority of those resources. This is, of course, only a suggestion, as we are fully aware that the decision where the money from the PGA goes rests with the Mayor of the City of Gdansk and the City Council.
We want the residents to feel relaxed and safe, and to be aware that the Port is an integral part of the city.
As the Port of Gdansk Authority, we appeal to the Mayor, once again, not to use the Port as a weapon in his election campaign. We understand that the local elections are a heated time when politicians want their faces to be associated with a public mission performed in the name of the best interests of the residents. However, the Port of Gdansk was, falsely and with deliberation, placed in the role of a threat and an enemy of the residents of its neighbouring districts. This is something we cannot allow to happen.
for the Port of Gdansk Authority SA