Tallinn City Government says it planning to spend more than €7 million to construct an "insect corridor" in the capital. Opposition deputies on the city council say that a bug-friendly green corridor could be set up for half that price.
Bug-friendly corridors help pollinating insects in particular to flourish, helping with biodiversity.
Funding from two EU projects will go towards financing the project.
Deputy Mayor of Tallinn Vladimir Svet (Center) told ERR that; "Next year, we will start implementing the plan's initial phase."
The trail, called in Estonian Putukaväil ("insect passage") will follow a swathe of green area formerly used for a high-voltage power line corridor, in North Tallinn.
"It borders Merimetsa on one side, and Ristiku on the other. Late on, there will be an opportunity to extend it along the territory of the current Kopli industrial estate, as far up as up to Telliskivi tänav," said Svet.
Overall, the insect corridor will cover nearly five hectares, and will extend as far as Hiiu, on the southern outskirts of town, once complete (see map above), should pass through six of Tallinn's city districts, and consist of nine green areas, Svet said.
Overall the project will cost €7,050,000, Svet added.
Center is in office with the Social Democrats (SDE) in Tallinn, while Reform, Isamaa, Eesti 200 and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) are in opposition.
Karl Sander Kase, Isamaa chair at Tallinn city council, said that while he supports the concepts of an insect trail, the current time is not ideal for its construction, which can also be done more cheaply and utilizing existing green areas.
"Perhaps the price tag would have been 50 percent less two to three years ago," Kase said. "The question also arises as to whether it could have been postponed for a few years – while we deal with those present matters which are more time-critical or important," he went on.
Vladimir Svet rejected this criticism, saying that the dimensions of the planned corridor justify the price tag, while funding is evenly distributed across the project, he said.
The insect trail's emphasis is not on play and sports areas, but also on landscaping, he said, noting that communal gardens, lighting suitable for animals and insects, and walking and cycling lanes will be an integral part of the development.
"This is a rather large park in terms of territory, and is different from an ordinary family playground, whose cost can be up to a million euros. So I would say this is a really worthwhile investment in respect of such a large, expansive park," he went on.
Karl Sander Kase remained unconvinced, saying that improvements to Tallinn's existing parks and open spaces should take a precedence over building new ones, while making buildings in the capital more energy efficient could also be a goal.
This latter project would cost less than a million euros, he said, while the planned project "certainly takes up a very large chunk of Tallinn taxpayers' money."
Editor: Andrew Whyte