Poland green-lights strategic canal to Baltic Sea
PR dla Zagranicy
Polish MPs on Friday backed plans to build a strategic canal between the Vistula Lagoon and Gdańsk Bay in the Baltic Sea.
The Vistula Lagoon. Photo: NASA/commons.wikimedia.org
Five metres deep, the 1.3 km canal is to be built by digging through the Vistula Spit, which separates the bay from the lagoon on Polish territory.
The aim is to allow deep-draught vessels to enter Poland’s Elbląg sea port without passing through the Strait of Baltiysk, situated in Russia's Kaliningrad exclave.
A total of 401 MPs voted in favour of the plans while nine were against, and 18 abstained. The plans will now be sent to the upper house of the Polish parliament for debate.
Work on the project, which will cost Poland PLN 880 million (EUR 204m, USD 215m), is to start next year and be completed by 2022.
The construction plans, mooted by previous governments, have drawn fire from environmentalists, who have argued that the project would disrupt the migration routes of animals inhabiting the Vistula Spit and affect their natural habitats.
The canal has sparked opposition from some residents of Krynica Morska, a tourist destination located on the Vistula Spit.
But Jerzy Wilk, an MP for Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, said the canal would increase the country’s security and allow free access to ports located in the area.
He added that the project would create thousands of jobs.