The Arctic project of the Prague Zoo, expected to cost 1.2 billion korunas, is under fire, yet city officials have no plans to abandon it despite public criticism. Antonín Klecanda, the city councilor for education, believes that although the funds could be used for school construction, he would save by shortening Metro Line D rather than scrapping the “bear den.”
Former head of Transparency International, David Ondráčka, considers today’s budgetary climate absurd. He argues that billions are needed in the budget for new schools, especially as over seven thousand children from other regions attend middle schools in Prague. He suggests that instead of reevaluating the Arctic project, reconsidering the Metro D project would be more beneficial, which costs many billions and whose extension to Písnice is essentially unnecessary.
Interestingly, one of the arguments for building the enclosure, according to Klecanda, is that similar facilities exist for bears in zoos abroad. He believes that billions would be saved if the Metro ended in Libuš, and the bear den would only be a slight drop in the ocean.
Pirate councilor Jana Komrsková also supports the new bear pavilion project. She points out that the project, committed to by the Adriana Krnáčová council in 2017, has a valid building permit; hence, the city council has given it the green light.
In conclusion, while the project has its supporters, the critics are numerous and vocal. There are calls for greater fiscal responsibility and funds to be directed towards more strategic areas. The debate over the “billion for a bear den” continues, reflecting the broader question of where and how public funds should be invested.