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Kõlvart partly agrees with critics of green-tech trade fair

NEXPO Tallinn.
NEXPO Tallinn. Source: ERR

Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) agrees partially with opposition criticism of NEXPO, stating that the €3 million green technology fair was too expensive and too few people attended. However, he called Tallinn's final year as green capital a success.

For six days, the city spent €3 million to construct a temporary pavilion for Nexpo. The pavilion was made of petroleum-derived PVC and heated with biodiesel, and the event was launched with a €100,000 green laser beam that illuminated the sky.

It is now known that only 4,000 people attended the event, which sums up to €750 per visitor. Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart is likewise skeptical of the outcome.

"In spite of the fact that the initial estimate was 2,000 and the total number of visitors came to 4,000, I think the actual number of visitors supposed to have been higher," Kõlvart said.

In fact, I think there could be twice as many visitors. People needed to be invited more actively.

The construction of a one-time heated pavilion in November raised the budget. The mayor adds that this is because numerous events were happening at the same time and he wanted to keep them close together. At the same time, he recognized that more cost savings were possible.

"All the expenditure that was incurred was made on the basis of public procurement," the mayor said.

"However, we must confess that the prices we received were somewhat exorbitant. Some costs, in my opinion, could have been reduced," he said.

When asked if the €100,000 expenditure on laser beams was one of the expenses that could have been left out, Kõlvart said he personally if asked would not agree with that spending.

Nonetheless, the mayor does not exclude out NEXPO in the future. However, in the future, it may not be held in a temporary pavilion.

Tallinn's opposition criticizes the entire year of the green capital, which had a budget of more than €10 million but was primarily spent on seminars and pocket green park zones.

"I think that a green capital cannot be a one-year project, it has to have an ongoing objective," Tõnis Mölder, member of the Isamaa group in Tallinn City Council, said.

If we draw parallels with past European Green Capitals, large investments have been made in public transportation to make it more ecologically friendly, in the green economy, in waste management to process waste more economically, but also in electric car charging spots, for example.

Kõlvart disagreed with the criticism and he said he plans to continue with the pocket parks project.

"The biggest project we launched this year was the creation of alternative energy sources, i.e. water, sewage and seawater pumps, sewage and seawater energy. The aim is that from 2027 onward these pumps could be operational," he said.

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Editor: Barbara Oja, Kristina Kersa

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