Through public consultation, nature and people have benefited

23 June 2020

The inhabitants of Frăsinești village in Ungheni district and those of Cantemir town are proud that together with the local authorities and the diaspora, they managed to solve two environmental problems that could not be postponed.

Residents of Frăsinești village in Ungheni district and those of Cantemir town are proud that together with local public authorities (APL), but also with the diaspora, they managed to solve two environmental problems, the solution of which could not be postponed. The people of Frăsinești have planted about a hundred saplings on a piece of land eaten away by erosion, and the people of Cantemir have transformed the park into a pleasant and accessible place, even at night. People are aware that their involvement in community life makes local government more effective, and with it comes increased trust in public institutions. The piece of land on the edge of the village used to give Frăsinești's residents a lot of trouble. Over the years, the land near the Prut River has increasingly "leaked" downhill, and because of landslides and erosion, the nearby road has become impassable, especially when it rains or snows heavily. In order to solve this and other problems in the locality more easily, a Local Action Group was created in Frăsinești, called FAST (short for Sons Ambassador of Total Change), which regularly discusses with citizens and helps them to identify and prioritise the pressing needs of the locality. After several public consultations with residents and LPA representatives, it was concluded that the eroded land could not wait any longer and that urgent action was needed. Iulia Iachimovschi, leader of the initiative group, says that people were very receptive, as the proposal came from them. Equipped with shovels, buckets, gloves and protective masks, the citizens decided to start work this spring, when they decided to plant trees on that stretch of land. Iulia Iachimovschi says that both the villagers and the local authorities of Frăsinești took part in the greening of the land: "That piece of land is right by the road, and a little further down the road, about ten metres away, is the state border on the Prut river. More than 90 ash saplings were planted and they all got stuck, only one dried up. The people in the village were with the decision and the work, and the town hall with the technology and the water". Although they decided to work during the pandemic, the inhabitants of Frăsinești respected all the health rules imposed by the doctors, coming to work equipped with shovels, buckets, masks and protective gloves, confirms the leader of the FAST action group. The park in Cantemir has been brightened up The park in the town of Cantemir has also changed its face with the help of local residents, the authorities, the diaspora, and with financial support from the Swiss government. They all joined forces to restore the park to its former glory. I met local Ana Angheluță on a bench, admiring the newly budded jasmine. She says she has lived in the small town since 1977 and fondly remembers the times when the park was an oasis of calm, filled with roses and cheerful people. "For many years, however, the park had not been cared for, it was like a forest had grown up and you were afraid to go there in the evening. Now you see how clean and beautiful they've made it?" the woman says, pointing to the patch of freshly weeded flowers. The diaspora has also come to the rescue Mayor Roman Ciubaciuc is pleased that, together with the citizens, the park has been redesigned to make it a pleasant and friendly place. Because it was not lit, the park was only accessible during the day, so the number one task was to install the lighting network. At the same time, it was decided to renovate and rebuild a havuz in the middle of the park, but this required a larger amount of money, so the search for funds was launched: projects, appeals, requests. This effort was finally successful, with more than 1.2 million lei being accessed. The Swiss government contributed 250 thousand lei, the local authorities - 910 thousand lei, the locals donated more than 48 thousand lei, and the natives abroad also contributed. Rodica Vasiloi is one of the people who responded positively to the call to donate money for the renovation of the park. She has been living in Ireland for three years with her family, but she didn't hesitate for a moment when she saw the announcement on social media that money was being raised to upgrade the park in the middle of the city. "We decided to participate by donating as much as we can afford. At least with something to contribute to the development of the city where we were born and spent some of the best years of our childhood and youth. Any project requires the involvement of the citizen through accessible methods", Rodica Vasiloi is convinced. Involving citizens makes the authorities more responsible Mayor Roman Ciubaciuc says that citizens are more responsible and supportive when they themselves contribute to solving a concrete problem in the locality, because this is where their work and their money are. Correspondingly, it can be guaranteed that the attitude of the locals towards this park will be completely different. Thanks to the participation of citizens in the decision-making process, public policies are closer to the needs of the population, concludes the mayor of Cantemir. Lilia Zaharia