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Ocna Mures ROMANIA HIGH LEVEL CONFERENCE ON THE URBAN CONSEQUENCES OF EUROPEAN DEMOGRAPHIC PROCESSES Budapest, 3 May 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Ocna Mures ROMANIA HIGH LEVEL CONFERENCE ON THE URBAN CONSEQUENCES OF EUROPEAN DEMOGRAPHIC PROCESSES Budapest, 3 May 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ocna Mures ROMANIA HIGH LEVEL CONFERENCE ON THE URBAN CONSEQUENCES OF EUROPEAN DEMOGRAPHIC PROCESSES Budapest, 3 May 2011

2 Topics URBAN CONSEQUENCES OF EUROPEAN DEMOGRAPHIC PROCESSES HIGH LEVEL CONFERENCE ON THE URBAN CONSEQUENCES OF EUROPEAN DEMOGRAPHIC PROCESSES Budapest, 3 May The (hi)story - Demographic trends, causes and consequences - Main policies - Potential - Main Strategic development direction - Assistance needed

3 OCNA MURES CITY - THE (HI)STORY – the visitor

4 The story The visitor … 1 A young man travels by train... he is looking for a place to settle down… in the train he is accompanied by an older man from Ocna Mures … he tell stories about a piece of land, placed in the central part of Romania, in the middle of Transylvania, (photo map) a land known under the name of Ocna Mures, or Uioara (as ancient documents attest) 2… the train stops to a small railway station: Razboieni (photo station) … ”that is an important cross road – says the old man – this point connects Ocna Mures city to a bigger world” Here they get out of the train. It's time for adventure! 3… they are waiting for the bus to get them into the city … some weird metallic structure cut through the sky: the old salt drills from the ancient salt mining (photo drills) …the old man explains: “those salt mines stood as unrested witnesses of a tumultuous history … the mining started in ancient times, (photo old mines) lasting from Roman Empire Age, all the way to the Contemporary one. But little by little, the salt mines have been flooded and most of the mining galleries crushed, the solid salt mining ending in 1978” 4... The bus is crossing a bridge over a big river: Mures (photo bridge) … a welcome sign on the right side of the road (photo sign) … they just enter Ocna Mures town (photo stadion) (photo highschool) 5... A big noise is coming from the left … is a football game (photo stadion) … The old man is smiling “this is the first illuminated football arena in Romania. Unfortunately it is loosing shape due to lack of proper funding. This highschool (photo highschool) next to it is just perfect for a sport school, not only for football, but also for handball and volleyball. For many years in the past we used to be called “the town of volleyball” as a lot of great players came from here”. “Could sport become alive again?” … “Yes. Football, handball and volleyball practice reopened. Over 200 kids gladly joined them. It requires a lot of work and passion - we have that. … and money to support - this is the challenge.” 6… two giant towers made of red bricks show up on the left side of the road … it’s the soda ash products plant (photo plant) … no smoke, no sign of activity inside … “why?”...the old man takes a deep sigh … “that’s our biggest problem. Here os the story: due to favolable natural resources, in 1896 a soda ash products plant was established (The Solvay Plant), opening here a new branch of industry: the chemistry, using the salt as main raw material. Over one hundred years of existance, the plant represented the main economic pillar of the city, becoming the biggest soda ash producer in Romania and absorbing most of the city manpower (over 2000 workers). Its ownership went from Solvay to state (through the nationalisation of 1948). The revolutionary movements in 1989 marked the begining of the decline for the plant, getting in 2000 into bankruptcy door-step. In 2001 it was acquired at the stock exchange by a new owner (Bega Grup) who sold it in 2005 to an Indian company (GHCL). Currently, the plant is closed, leading to a wave of job cuts”… But there are alsao other activities and occupations to talk about … Many small handicrafts traditional in Ocna Mures, such as glass globes, shepherd, woodworking, but also agriculture (including tobacco culture) kept involved an important part of the active population. Slowly, most of them have diminished or even disappeared by now.” … “Could these be invigorated?” asks the young man …”Yes, with some financial and technological help. They would benefit from the tradition we have here and important skilled manpower.” 7… the bus stops in the station … next to a few water surfaces which do not look like proper lakes (photo lake) … “this is where the old downtown was in the past, but the land crashed over the old salt mines, filled in later on with water to stop further erosion”... Even I am here for the first time, I see here a beautiful recreational lake, with boats and dockings, surrounded by trees and wooden coffee shops, combined with the usage of the salty water for medical treatments. This is a great opportunity! (photo choir) 8… they start walking towards the main street … beautiful and imposing churches of various religions appear one after the other. (photo churches) “They speak about a true ethnic mosaic that lived here along the history. After centuries of continuous attraction of various migrating people, the salt mining down-time and closing of industry led to diminishing of ethnicities in number and size.” … “I see them as a valuable touristic attraction point for this region full of history.” … “Besides the churches, the Teleky castle can also be considered a touristic asset. (photo castel) … And our tradition in cultural activities as well: popular dans bands (photo dans), choirs (photo choir), poets, writers.” … “I see all these as great touristic assets, that give the city potential for the future. It can become famous!” 9… “Well, last year we just become famous! … after the industry closing, twice in one year we have been on the cover page of all the newspapers in Romania … in a bad way: big floods in June (photos floods), then the only supermarket was swallowed by a land crash in December, (photo crush). … “Now it is time to turn the page and go for a new beginning! I’ve decided to stay here. There are many things to be done!”

5 There is a piece of land, placed in the central part of Romania, in the middle of Transylvania, a land known under the name of Ocna Mures, or Uioara (as ancient documents attest). The story Ocna Mures ROMANIA Razboieni railway station is an important cross road which connects Ocna Mures city to a bigger world.

6 The story The salt mines stood as unrested witnesses of a tumultuous history … the mining started in ancient times, lasting from Roman Empire Age all the way to the contemporary one. But little by little, the salt mines have been flooded and most of the mining galleries crushed, the solid salt mining ending in 1978.

7 The story The entrance into the city, guarded by Mures river.

8 The story The first illuminated football arena in Romania … loosing shape due to lack of proper funding. The highschool building next to the footbal ground is perfect for a sport school, not only for football, but also for handball and volleyball.... For many years in the past we used to be called “the town of volleyball” as a lot of great players came from here. Could sport become alive again? Yes. Football, handball and volleyball practice reopened already. Over 200 kids gladly joined them. It requires a lot of work and passion (we have that)… and money to support (this is the challenge)

9 The story The soda ash products plant Due to favolable natural resources, in 1896 a soda ash products plant was established (The Solvay Plant), opening here a new branch of industry: the chemistry, using the salt as main raw material. Over the course of one hundred years of existance, the plant represented the main economic pillar of the city, becoming the biggest soda ash producer in Romania and absorbing most of the city manpower (over 3000 workers). Its ownership went from Solvay to state (through the nationalisation of 1948). The revolutionary movements in 1989 marked the begining of the decline for the plant, getting in 2000 into bankruptcy door-step. In 2001 it was acquired at the stock exchange by a new owner (Bega Grup) who sold it in 2005 to an Indian company (GHCL). Currently, the plant is closed, leading to a wave of job cuts handicrafts Many small handicrafts traditional in Ocna Mures, such as glass globes, shepherd, woodworking, but also agriculture kept involved an important part of the active population. Slowly, most of them have diminished or even disappeared by now. “Could these be invigorated?” Yes, with some financial and technological help. They would benefit from the tradition we have here and important skilled manpower.

10 The story A few water surfaces which do not look like proper lakes. This has the potential of a beautiful recreational lake, with boats and dockings, surrounded by trees and wooden coffee shops, combined with the usage of the salty water for medical treatment This is a great opportunity! This is where the old downtown was in the past, but the land crashed over the old salt mines, being filled in later on with water to stop further erosion.

11 The story Beautiful and imposing churches of various religions speak about cultural diversity and a true ethnic mosaic that lived here along the history. After centuries of continuous attraction of various migrating people, the economic down-time led to diminishing of ethnicities in number and size. Valuable touristic attraction points for this region full of history; great touristic assets, that give the city potential for the future. It can become famous!” The Teleky castle can also be considered a special touristic asset. Tradition in cultural activities: popular dans bands, choirs, poets, writters.

12 The story Twice in one year we have been on the cover page of all the newspapers in Romania … in a bad way: Now it is time to turn the page and go for a new beginning! big floods in June … then a land crach which swallowed the supermarket in December

13 DEMOGRAPHY

14 Demographics Natality-Mortality balance diminished until it became negative over the last 10 years Industry shrinkage leads to M/F balance swift in the favor of Female CAGR of -0.4% registered over the last two decades... a linear projection for 2020 leads to continuation of the declining trend. 49% CAGR -0.4% Ethnic structure stable over the last 30 years, with 85% Romanian population Youth... The main driver of the declining trend

15 Causes and consequences of demographic trends CAUSES : CONSEQUENCES : Industry closingNatality decrease UE work opportunity for youth (no borders) 20 years of demographic shrinkage registered & negative trend for the future projected diminishing further of active occupied population reducing of income per household living dependency more and more on survival agriculture further deteriorating life standard determining youth to migrate towards other areas modification of the age structure (aging)

16 Main policies in tackling the demographic challenges At the local level: – Defining the strategic direction for development – Offer facilities for investors to open businesses and offer new jobs, such as : tax exemption on defined time frame depending on number of created jobs; ensuring necessary utilities; make available fields and buildings where investors may activate. – Regular meetings with business people from the city to identify their needs and requirements re. the local administration; – Inform the population on the newly created activities; convert the manpower towards new activities. Colaborate with regional, national and European authorities to open doors towards new opportunities, via: – Encouraging balnear tourism and develop necessary infrastructure. – Development of a sport arena as a base for regional sport center, to become a point of attraction for youth – Strengthening the relationship of Ocna Mures with neighbour cities through involvement into common activities

17 Main strategic direction Vision… Make Ocna Mures a better & more attractive place to live for its inhabitants.Objective… Development of the city towards reversing the negative demographic and economic trend. Main strategic direction... Bring back the balnear resort identity of Ocna Mures and redefine its flagship. Key strategic initiatives identified... 1.Develop infrastructure for balnear tourism -roads, buldings, lake, water pipes, communication 2.Develop and diversify the economic activities -facilities for small industries, agriculture, tourism 3.Develop sport center for performance -infrastructure, education, equipment, activities 4.Prepare human resources & improve social services - education, health system, integration of gypsies, old population 5.Elaborate & implement environment strategy -strategy development, regulation appliance, activities

18 OCNA MURES potential There is still a significant amount of resources and reasons to believe in a better future. A few examples of short and mid term initiatives, with the objective to invigorate the economic sector as the main pillar for recovery the situation and turn around the demographic trend: AreaSome examplesReasons to believe Balnear tourism Clinic Salty baths and pools Recreational park around the lake Teleky castle exploitation Salty water presence Clean, unpolluted air Historical artifacts Industry UPSOM factory retechnologization Opening new facilities for small industries Reopening traditional handicrafts (glass globes, shepard, woodworking etc.) Skilled manpower Tradition Agriculture Farm animals Organic crops Fish No pollution => unpolluted soil Skilled manpower Favorable geographical position Global H&W (bio) trend Sport & Culture Establish a sport school/camp - football, handball, volleyball Cultural activities: - traditional dans bands -choir Available sport field and buildings Ex-sport people of high performance Football, handball and volleyball clubs opened Cultural home down-town Tradition in folkloric dans and choir

19 Assistance needed from Regional level – Invest in regional infrastructure affecting Ocna Mures (roads, bridges) – Directing more social and economic programs towards Ocna Mures – Establish a regional industrial park to prepared for attracting potential investors to Ocna Mures from National level – Officially include Ocna Mures among the affected areas to open door for special facilities for investments – Intensive assistance for complex rehabilitation project and reinsertion in touristic chain, via activities such as designing, feasibility studies for infrastructure. – Agreement between the Ministry of Industry and Ministry of Tourism & Territorial Administration to transfer the ownership of the current flooded area towards the local authority from UE level – Transfer knowhow and expertise from cities with similar experiences that suceeded – Renewal of the city through the transformation of the flooded centra area from a latent danger into a beautiful recreational lake, environmentally friendly and with multiple exploiting opportunities.

20 THANK YOU for offering us this opportunity to talk about OCNA MURES CITY!


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