Wednesday, 22. May 2013 - 18:05
29. 06. 12. - 16:00
A bitter dispute between Vienna city council officials and a flamboyant businessman who has almost two dozen pubs and clubs at the Copa Cagrana took a new twist this week when the council sent in a wrecking crew to smash down buildings that they said had been illegally constructed.
The city council also said that the cost for smashing down the buildings and removing the rubble which will be around €60,000 would be sent to businessman and leaseholder Norbert Weber.
He responded by accusing the local council of acting in a way more befitting Ethiopia than Austria and promised to challenge the demolition in the highest court.
The Copa Cagrana lies alongside the River Danube and is a tiny cluster of bars and clubs and restaurants that loudly vie for clientčle with loud music and overenthusiastic waiters.
But although well visited, the city council believes that the existing facilities do not make the most of the region's potential and they say that it has become rundown and dilapidated.
Social Democratic (SPÖ) environment councillor Ulli Sima is leading the campaign to have the area improved. She said the Copa Cagrana must become a location of "contemporary gastronomy" and added: "The site has enormous potential."
The Copa Cagrana was created more than 20 years ago on the city’s Donauinsel (Danube Island), a flood protection and popular recreation area. The site’s name refers to the beach of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Kagran, an area in Vienna-Donaustadt.
Sima explained she has been observing developments at the Copa Cagrana for some time. The councillor criticised that the site was "visually unattractive", and stressed that city officials discovered serious shortcomings such as faulty electronic installations. Sima also hit out at the managers about the poor state of some of the toilets.
Weber holds the lease for the land which he rents out to 17 pubs and bars at the Copa Cagrana, said he was unaware of action for eviction
In the latest twist two stalls selling various products to tourists and the roof over another area were pulled down.
In October 2010 the city of Vienna started general eviction proceedings against Webers company "Boardwalk Entwicklungs GmbH".
City council spokesman Martin Jank said however that the demolition that was carried out this week was nothing to do with the general eviction process – he said it was more to do with the fact that the buildings demolished had been illegally put up in the first place.
He said: "This is always the last resort – unfortunately the leaseholder ignored numerous warnings and we were left with no choice."
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