It appears that the owners of the construction site at 60 Komitas Street, a story Hetq has been covering since work began, have permission from the Yerevan Municipality. Local residents had contacted Hetq with pictures that workers had tried to pull the trees from their roots to cart them away. Street trees are the property of the Municipality and thus, by extension, they belong to city residents. Unfortunately, property owners in Yerevan, or most of them, view trees as an obstacle to their businesses and thus they will tear them down if allowed.
Today, when we visited the site along with Romik Mangasaryan from the Ministry of Nature Protection, who served notice to the workers not to harm the trees. As you can see from the pictures, the trees probably will not service anyway, given the debris and cement piled around them.
Artashes, the construction site manager, showed us a copy of the work permit but didn’t allow us to study the details. He assured us that the trees wouldn’t be destroyed and that work was progressing according to the law.
He verified rumors that a CPS gas station down the street would move to the new site. The permit allows for work on a 50/7 meter parcel. In the back, there is an office building close by. So we asked Artashes if there would be enough room for cars to enter and gas up. He assured us there was enough space.
When then started to photograph the workers and we asked them why they cut down some trees and were trying to now remove the remaining stumps. Artashes came over, fuming, and threatened “not only to break our cameras but our heads as well.”
The workers said they were only following orders. Readers will remember that just two days before the date of the work permit the Municipality had stated that all work at the site had been halted.