Sector-specialising advisors representing the Association of Polish Cities (Grzegorz Roman and Piotr Górka) and the town’s permanent assigned advisor Agnieszka Dawydzik visited Hajnówka on 21 and 22 April and 2022.
On the first day of the visit, Hajnówka’s deputy mayor Ireneusz Kiendyś headed a municipal research tour. Visits to key locations – tourism and nature attractions and delivery sites of development endeavours the New Development Pathway is based on – afforded Association of Polish Cities’ advisors a better understanding of the town, and a sense of its genius loci. Day one closed with discussion and site visit-related feedback by the advisor team during a session attended by mayor Jerzy Sirak and representatives of the Municipal Authority divisions. Experts believe that the town’s main challenge lies in its size, i.e. its expansiveness and lack of a well-defined CENTRE. The railway station – Municipal Authority – Roman Catholic church – Holy Trinity Orthodox church outline holds Hajnówka’s beating heart within, which is why all development activities ought to focus thereon. It has also been pointed out that Hajnówka’s hardcore development levers include the following:
- Industrial and entrepreneurship development – to be concentrated rather than dispersed across multiple urban locations,
- Connection to the key communication artery, i.e. National Road DK19, intended to become an expressway in the future,
- Multi-family residential housing.
Activities to support municipal development have been planned as part of Hajnówka’s New Development Pathway. The related debate included a number of interesting data and concepts the town ought to aim for in delivering project endeavours. Details were duly discussed on the second day of the visit, in the course of thematic workshops:
Workshop I: HAJNÓWKA’S NEW TOWN CENTRE. The meeting focused on activities associated with Hajnówka’s new town centre, spatial planning and zoning governance, and developing and organising local urban space.
Workshop II: RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION DEVELOPMENT – the meeting was attended by a local developer business. Advisors presented the current demand for residential space, pointing to today’s trends in similar urban planning projects and future municipal operational costs (social, financial, environmental etc.) depending on the development model selected. The follow-up debate involved discussions and a quest for correct issue and barrier resolution scenarios, and concepts of developing a municipal residential programme to boost local development.
Workshop III: PUBLIC TRANSPORT – the meeting was attended by the President of the Municipal Services Company. Grzegorz Roman, sector-specialising advisor representing the Association of Polish Cities, presented the communication and transport policy for the town, pointing i.a. to the following: the need to remove heavy lorry traffic from the town centre; communication and transport connections between the town and region (schemes of collaborating with the county included), need to draft a general concept for urban transportation, more sustainable mobility (improved pedestrian and bicycle commuting solutions); and environmental aspects – conversion to electric buses, designing a solid parking policy, urban transportation and communication system automation, and public transport timetable review.
Project Team members acknowledged practical guidelines tying in with spatial planning, urban organisation, residential policy, and sustainable public transport. The next meeting with Association of Polish Cities’ experts has been scheduled with an entrepreneurship focus.