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Czech Republic: Water running again on Přednádraží street in Ostrava

Ostrava, 25.8.2012 0:02, (ROMEA)

Oldřich Roztočil, owner of the real estate in the ghetto on Přednádraží street in Ostrava, and Martina Gavendová, spokesperson for the Ostrava Water and Sewer Works (Ostravské vodárny a kanalizace - OVAK) company, told the Czech Press Agency today that ghetto residents now have access to running water again after more than three weeks without it. OVAK received an expert evaluation of the technical state of the plumbing in one of the buildings this morning. The company did not want to restart the water service without that evaluation, which found everything in order. Company workers managed to reconnect the water service today even though it was originally presumed it would not restart until Monday.

More than 100 people, including children, are remaining in the locality despite the disagreement of the authorities. Most of the residents are Romani. OVAK disconnected the water service to Přednádraží street for lack of payment. Roztočil then paid off the back payments owed for building no. 8, which is an independent delivery point. OVAK waited for the expert evaluation and laboratory analysis of water after it passed through that building's pipes before restarting service. Gavendová told the Czech Press Agency today that all of the conditions for renewing the delivery of potable water have been met.

People will access the water from a single tap for the time being. Next week the landlord intends to repair the building's plumbing by replacing the lead sections of the piping, which might not have withstood a recent pressure test, with plastic ones. Next week the water could be piped throughout the entire building.

"The tap will function like a pump at a filling station for the time being. There is a water meter there and people will have to write down how much water they draw. They will then pay me accordingly," Roztočil explained.

The landlord has been ordered by the Building Works Authority to demolish building no. 19, which is in the worst condition, by tomorrow. According to inspectors, the building is in disrepair and at risk of collapse, but. Roztočil commissioned a second inspection which found that the building could be saved under certain circumstances. He does not intend to demolish it.

Roztočil wants to appeal the authorities' decision and must file his appeal by Monday at the latest. He is reportedly still addressing the details of that appeal with his lawyers.

Jana Pondělíčková, spokesperson for the Municipal Department of Moravská Ostrava and Přívoz, stated previously that if the owner does appeal, the file will be transferred to a superior body, the Construction Administration Department of the Ostrava town hall. "In that case the Building Works Authority will not take any steps toward executing the decision and will wait for the results of the appeals proceeding," she said, adding that the municipal department would insist the building be secured.

The Nemopas company, which conducts real estate inspections and provided Roztočil with his second inspection, has calculated the cost of demolishing the building and erecting a new one compared to preserving the building. It would cost CZK 26 million to demolish and rebuild, while preserving the building would cost CZK 28 million.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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