Artificial islands plan drifting toward oblivion

Riigikogulane Märt Sults jagas Põhja-Tallinna valitsuse saalis selgitusi tema algatusel kavandatavate tehissaarte kohta.

PHOTO: Eero Vabamägi

MP Märt Sults’ artificial islands detailed plan has been in proceedings for nine years and was just postponed by several more months because of a citizen’s application.

Yesterday marked the public discussion following the plan’s unveiling. The latter saw two environmental proposals. The first, put forward by Port of Tallinn, was solved even before the discussion began. The second was filed by an individual who probably had not taken the time to acquaint themselves with the plan as all their wishes had been addressed in different stages of proceedings. One of the proposals was to include ornithology experts. This was done already in the draft plan stage, and it was a proposal by Tallinn Bird Club that will see the artificial islands complemented by an islet specifically for birds.

The author of the proposals did not show up for the discussion, which is why it was impossible to determine whether they had been satisfied by the Tallinn Urban Planning Department’s written explanations.

“If the person who made the proposals fails to appear at the discussion, their proposals will remain outstanding,” said representative of project manager K-Projekt, Jüri Mirme. He added that in cases like these the department will present the detailed plan to the finance ministry for a similar discussion. “Next, the organizer will decide whether they will give the city government the right to adopt the plan or recommend changes.”

That concluded the official part of the discussion. One of the attendees wondered why the word “casino” finds no use in the plan which is essentially for “Sults’ casino islands”. Märt Sults had to recall how the concept of “casino islands” was born.

“The word “casino” was uttered during a city government sitting eight years ago. It was being said at the time that Tallinn needs to be cleared of casinos, and I said okay, let’s have islands for them in the sea. That is when the name stuck,” Sults said. He added that a single sentence can achieve great things if it becomes folklore. “I said back then that we should clean the city of casinos, put them all on an island, raise a fence around it, and that is where those devils should stay. That sentence has been living its own life for more than eight years; it is actually a business island,” Sults said.

He explained that just like the Hilton is a hotel, and no one refers to it as a casino, his business island will host shops, restaurants, casinos, hotels, etc. “The profit will not come from the casino but from a 10,000-seat multifunctional conference center,” Sults noted. “Even if it is only sold out quarterly, the entire archipelago will have paid for itself. The other things are there to cover costs, while profits will come from a conference center the likes of which exists nowhere in Europe,” Sults promised.