Zbudza - Part 3?

Although I have spent lot of time exploring Zbudza and the surrounding region, visiting the place, talking to residents and the Mayor completely changed my view.


Excavation field

My first stop was a former administration areal and excavation field. The areal is in a private ownership of a nearby chemical plant and the admission is prohibited. On the site, there are 6 boreholes, 3 administration buildings and a platform for 4 brine cisterns. The areal has never been used and the only work which has to be done is to cut the grass and do the regular checking if the excavations are well maintained and brine is not leaking. A doorkeeper, who also lives in Zbudza, explained me kindly the situation from more than 2O years ago, when inhabitants were looking forward being employed in a new salt works. Although the factory would not be located directly in Zbudza, but in nearby Michalovce or Strazske, residents from the village would get the priority amongst other workers. Moreover, the taxes would increase the village budget and possibly contribute towards improvements in infrastructure and services. After few years of constant changes and ‘empty promises’, euphoria was replaced by deep disappointment and people became very sceptical and negative about discussions related to salt deposit. One resident said: “I wish brine was used for building a brine baths. In that case, all residents and village would benefit from the potential we have.”dsc_0760_1jpgPrivate landsolivar1jpg

Picture source: http://zbudza.sk/galeria/?gallery=galeria-obce#stavanie-maja-2012dsc_0764jpgThe surrounding of the leaching fielddsc_0925jpg

Salt from Zbudza deposit. Exploited from the depth of 650m


Interviews with residents

One resident said: “I wish brine was used for building a brine baths. In that case, all residents and village would benefit from the potential we have.” 

Another resident said: “From time to time, we find white spots in our garden. Brine rises above the ground and is crystallised into pure salt.”

I was informed about the salt mining done in 1950’s, when rock salt was extracted from 3 shafts situated together with a big drilling tower directly in the middle of the current playground. The salt was used primarily by the residents, as well as was sold in the surrounding villages. Unfortunately, no more detailed information and maps have been preserved.dsc_0784jpg


Interview with the Mayor

During my interview with the Mayor, I aimed to explore the initiative the municipality could take in using the salt deposits. The main observations could be summarised as:

-       The municipality works as an independent business. A Mayor is responsible for its organisation, funding and general functioning. He has to be clever about the money distribution for local shops, school, sewage, infrastructure, lighting….as well as take responsibility for cultural and social life and small tasks such as maintaining a web page

-       Zbudza, as a small municipality with only 533 inhabitants does not receive sufficient funding from the government. The municipality struggles to finish building a proper infrastructure, not to mention starting planning the brine baths or possible salt works

-       Except for the Mayor, there are no other people who would have the knowledge and be willing to take the initiative to start a business

-       Many people with slightly higher education are working abroad

-       The main sources of employment are factories in nearby Michalovce and Strazske

-       The biggest priority for the municipality?- Sewage

-       The biggest impediment for building a new salt works and brine baths in Zbudza? Apart from insufficient funding and lack of entrepreneurs and specialists? - Land ownership rights. The municipality doesn’t own any land, except for small pieces in the village centre. The process of gaining land rights would take several years.dsc_0777jpgdsc_0774jpgLocal shopdsc_0778jpgdsc_0779_1jpgdsc_0781jpgKindergartendsc_0782jpg