Meeting the River unites cities and results in new tourist infrastructure and facilities

The final conference of the project “Meeting the River” was held today at the promenade near Aquatika where one could hear all the activities performed and how the project will influence the increase of attractiveness of Natura 2000 areas.



- A new tourist infrastructure and facilities have been built through the project. NATURA 2000 open air interpretation centres were built and equipped with multimedia and educational equipment, in three towns of Karlovac County, where the entire NATURA 2000 area along the rivers will be localized. The value of infrastructural works on the project amounts to HRK 4.5 million, while HRK 2 million was spent on equipping interpretation centres with multimedia and educational equipment. The total value of the project amounts to HRK 8.9 million, of which HRK 7.3 million was co-financed by grants from the European Regional Development Fund, while a little over HRK 900,000.00 was co-financed from the Fund for co-financing the implementation of EU projects at the local and regional level. The final own share of beneficiaries and partners is 7% of the total value of the project, i.e. the beneficiary and partners invested slightly more than 620,000.00 HRK in the project worth 8.9 million HRK, which confirms the favourable financial structure of the project for beneficiaries and partners. The project holder is Karlovac County, and the partners are the City of Karlovac, the City of Ozalj, the City of Ogulin, public institution Natura Viva, public institution Development Agency of Karlovac County, Tourist Board of the City of Ogulin, Tourist Board of the area of Kupa, said Antonija Perač Fištrović from PI Regional Development Agency of Karlovac County.

Multimedia equipment procured through the project consists of a hologram, interactive floor, floor projections and VR glasses. The purpose of multimedia equipment is to bring NATURA 2000 protected species of flora and fauna closer to visitors in a modern and fun way, with special emphasis on the youngest growers, in order to raise public awareness of the importance of preserving NATURA 2000 areas.

Expert background/studies and plans have been prepared, through which data on the biological values of the project area have been collected, which are exhibited in open air interpretation centres through multimedia and educational equipment, thus creating infrastructure and educational facilities. Prepared expert bases will be useful for some new projects in the future.

“On our walks in the project areas of Ozalj, Ogulin and Karlovac we gave a review of all the interesting aspects regarding NATURA 2000 sites, the specifics of species and habitats located in these areas in order to inform the public about the importance of these areas in the context of the European ecological network of protected areas, because we have to become aware of what we have and long-term hold for future generations,” said Natura public institution director Viva Darka Spudić.

- Since the very beginning of the initiation of this bid during 2018, we have coordinated applications in the county area, and in consultation with towns and municipalities we decided to apply for three projects. One Meeting the River, followed by The water secrets of Slunj and the project of Barac's caves, means that over HRK 50 million have arrived in Karlovac County from EU funds. Our role in Meeting the River project was the operational implementation of the entire project. We have established cooperation which we expect to result in new project proposals in the coming period, said Karlovac County Regional Development Agency Deputy director Krunoslav Kralj.

Mayor Damir Mandić stressed that the Karlovac part of the project is on the trail of all thought on how to show the beauty of Korana from the bridge to the bridge.

- This beauty corresponds to the demanding implementation of this project. The promenade proved to be a very good epidemiological measure during the coronation because our fellow citizens used it the most, and I believe they will use it in their walks. This promenade brought Aquatik closer to our fellow citizens. What is ahead of us, and related to this area, is the drafting of the urban plan of the ŠRC Korana, an area that I am convinced will yield a lot of quality and added values to our city, Mandić said.

In front of the Tourist Board of the Kupa area, director Toni Šarić pointed out that every infrastructure is welcome and that with such projects the goal will be achieved more quickly, which is one of the most interesting continental destinations and to promote the beauty of the Kupa river.

- This project has upgraded our existing tourism infrastructure so that we can have even more content for our local residents and for our guests. We may have had a little less luck in Ozalj in the amount of funds that fell off on this project, but despite that we built a promenade and received informatics content on it. We, as well as all our guests, are learning from this project. The project continues with other similar projects in the very center of Ozalj and I announce that the construction of the educational path that continues on this project will commence soon, as well as the natural heritage, said Ozalj Mayor Gordana Lipšinić.

The great importance of this project is that it has unified a large number of partners, and it is also the first project of Karlovac County that has brought European funds into a larger infrastructure project.

- It was precisely this experience that, apart from realizing something physical on the ground, taught us mutual cooperation, respect, assistance, successful realization and responsibility. We have already entered a new financial period and on the experience of this successfully realized project we can start new ones. One of them is “Touch of civilisations” where we have the old town of Ozalj, old town of Ogulin, old town of Dubovac and Karlovac Star among other towns. Duga Resa, Ozalj and Karlovac are urban areas that have received the ITU mechanism. This project only emphasizes the importance of the natural heritage, of our beautiful rivers, but we also showed that they can be used both in tourism and economics. This is a guarantee of new jobs, and this is what we need in the county to ensure the life of our young people, families in the county. This area is enriched for those of us who live here, especially for dear tourists, said prefect Martina Furdek Hajdin.