During an interview with Azatutyun Radio, Yerevan Mayor Taron Margaryan said that his office didn’t even bother to discuss the topic of compensation for business owners who had their stores on Abovyan Street dismantled. The price was too prohibitive, he noted.
As yet, we have been unable to obtain any documents dating from former Yerevan mayors regarding permission to build these stores on Abovyan Street in the first place. Who in the Yerevan Municipality granted permission for their construction up and down the sidewalks on this prime piece of Yerevan real estate remains a mystery.
Can any of these storeowners provide any contractual documentation?
Even if such paperwork can be dug up from somewhere, we all know that such permits were “bought” at a price. Thus, it’s absurd to even be speaking about compensation.
Let those municipal officials “on the take” pay for such compensation out of their pockets. And high on the list should be Narek Sargsyan, the current Chief Architect of Yerevan and the man in charge when those unsightly stores were constructed back in the day.
The money these officials pocketed during their years of tenure is more than enough to compensate all shop owners in Yerevan.
Mayor Taron Margaryan enjoys a high-level of authority, amassed during his years of tenure as the Avan District Leader. Now, he faces a pivotal issue in his budding career.
The question remains as to whether he is capable of making a decision that goes against the grain and depart from “business as usual”.
If the mayor can do this, he will recruit a mass army of supporters, including the activist youth. It would be a feather in his cap, so to say. But first, he must show the will to make such a tough decision that will irritate only two oligarchs.
Both of these oligarchs enjoy no support or sympathy with the public. They won’t even be able to muster two citizens to defend them if Margaryan makes the tough but correct decision.
These oligarchs don’t even have the guts to say – “These stores belong to us.” Hopefully, they have enough sense to ask themselves whether it makes sense to do battle with broad segments of Yerevan residents and active young people all in the name of a few stores.
Let’s put aside the Mashtots Park issue for the moment.
Does Yerevan need a chief architect who constantly deceives the people of this city? Hasn’t the time finally come to send him packing?
I am convinced that Narek Sargsyan has been able to deceive the mayor with equal ease.
Those shops on Abovyan Street were installed with the permission of Narek Sargsyan and they were illegal.
Why hasn’t the Yerevan Municipality continuously failed to punish those who approved such illegal decisions from day one?
We all remember how Narek Sargsyan gave his official “blessing” to turning the green space around Yerevan’s Opera House into one giant cafe. And now he has the nerve to speak about restoring Yerevan to its historic glory?
Sargsyan had no trouble pulling the wool over the eyes of the Public Council during their recent meeting. Council members had become so enamoured with Sargsyan and so used to his lies, that all they could do is hang their heads and believe him.
At the meeting, Sargsyan stated that he didn’t even know who the owners of these stores are. So, in whose name is all this construction being pushed through for?
Does anyone in Yerevan take Sargsyan at his word when he feigns such ignorance? Of course not. The chief architect knows everything. The blueprints for these stores were handled by him. He was the one who signed off on the project now underway to construct a commercial center in the vicinity of Hrazdan Stadium.
It remains for Mayor Margaryan to void his 7373-A Decision of December 30, 2011 entitled – “The dismantling of structures on leased property at 21/3 Abovyan Street and granting of building rights on 247 square meters of land to Arevelyan Oasis Ltd.”.
Arevelyan Oasis is a company owned by Yuri Beglaryan, brother of former Yerevan Mayor Gagik Beglaryan.
So far, we’ve only been able to ascertain the name of Arevelyan Oasis. There’s another company that also has been granted land in Mashtots Park as compensation for being removed from Abovyan Street.
By nullifying this decision, Mayor Margaryan will declare that he has heeded the voice of the people in the decision-making process.
He will usher in a new tradition of municipal business according to which the people needs and concerns must be taken into account before any construction or major changes are made to Yerevan parks and public spaces.
After all, a city is made up of residents and not just two oligarchs.