Will politics bury Salzburg Stadium project?

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Austria Salzburg stadium update January 2022 Image: Max Aicher & Austria Salzburg

As per the plan by Austria Salzburg investor and building contractor Max Aicher, a multipurpose stadium for 5,000 spectators and 482 apartments is to be built on the Salzburg (Austria) exhibition grounds.

The ‘World Today News’ stated that 193 million euros are to be invested in the mega project. After completion, the multipurpose stadium will be donated to the City (Salzburg). Sports and cultural associations could benefit from this. Open-air concerts could also take place in the stadium.

However, the entire project is mired in a lot of political controversy. Although Salzburg’s Mayor Harald Preuner has opposed the project tooth and nail, but the three political parties – Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ), Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) and The New Austria and Liberal Forum (NEOS) – submitted an application recently for revisiting the project.

The Salzburg City Chairman of FPÖ, Andreas Reindl, stated, “Mayor Preuner of ÖVP should at least take a relook at the development and then arrive at a political decision on the same. The project site is not owned by the ÖVP, but the City would have to provide the same. In addition, 428 apartments would also be built, which works in the greater interest of all. In addition, an underground car park with 1,200 parking spaces is being planned.”

Mayor Preuner stuck to his gun, “The entire development does not sit well for the City of Salzburg. The area is needed for other purposes and we cannot allow a multipurpose stadium to come up on grassland. And we certainly cannot allow apartment buildings to come up next to the motorway.”

The ‘World Today News’ further stated that despite Mayor Preuner’s stiff opposition, the project application is already on the table of the Spatial Planning and Building authorities, for which Vice-Mayor Barbara Unterkofler (ÖVP) is also responsible.

Alexander Reich, Manager of the Vice-Mayor’s Office, informed, “Our experts will now take a close look as to the feasibility quotient of the project. The issue is regarding the grassland and the noise pollution which comes along with such a development.”

Kai-Michael Dankl of the Municipal Council (KPÖ) remarked, “After Preuner’s categorical ‘No’, experts should examine the project in an unbiased manner like the Salzburg Institute for Spatial Planning and Housing (SIR). I do not have the confidence that the department led by the ÖVP will arrive at a balanced decision. If things do not go in favor of building the stadium, the Max-Aicher-Group will have to look for other alternatives.”

Fingers are crossed that the Salzburg Stadium Project does not turn out to be a stillborn concept and politics does not get the better of this development.

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