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The Warsaw Voice » Other » December 19, 2007
EURO 2012 - Regions
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Metropolitan Ambitions
December 19, 2007   
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Bydgoszcz is unique in Poland. The city has the largest amount of green areas and great golf courses within the city limits. Track-and-field youth world championships are held in the city as well as music events, including international piano competitions.

Bydgoszcz has a unique system of sluices and canals providing water connections with Berlin and the Baltic Sea. The airport links it with many cities in Europe, and railway lines lead out of it in all directions.

Under politicians' plans for the coming years, Bydgoszcz is to be a safe city, people- and environment-friendly, a modern and functional metropolitan area fostering the development of an innovative economy, a major domestic and international center of administration, science and education, culture, sports and tourism. Bydgoszcz is systematically building up an image. The development of the Bydgoszcz-Toruń metropolitan area will take many years, but it is a great opportunity for both cities. Mayor of Bydgoszcz Konstanty Dombrowicz talked to Urszula Imienińska about the city and its plans.

Have the efforts in developing the area been worthwhile?
Our cities, Bydgoszcz and Toruń, have to work together-that was our motto in 2002 when we were starting preliminary talks on the joint metropolitan area. The two cities are just 50 km apart, and hundreds of cars travel both ways on national route No. 80. Along the road, in the communes between, new houses are being built where Toruń and Bydgoszcz residents are moving, only proving it will soon be hard to pinpoint the borderline between us. And the Vistula river connects us.

Also, the two cities complement and support each other in many fields. Toruń has the Nicolaus Copernicus University, which has merged with Bydgoszcz's medical university (Collegium Medicum). Apart from the Kazimierz the Great University, Bydgoszcz has the highly valued University of Technology and Life Sciences. On one hand, there is Bydgoszcz's Academy of Music, on the other Toruń's Fine Arts Department at the university. In terms of student numbers the future conurbation already surpasses Gdańsk, Katowice and Szczecin.

Realizing the opportunities offered by this conurbation, Bydgoszcz's local government has defined the main goals and directions of the city's development in 2007-2013.

Plans to expand the railway network are important for the future conurbation. To start our joint project-the BiT City railway line-we need to modernize the line on the left bank of the Vistula and build a new one on the other bank. We also want to restore the importance of water transport within the conurbation.

Building the conurbation will take many years. However, we know the two cities must work together to create not just a joint urban center, but also an important business and academic hub for northern Poland.

Late December/early January will see the start of our campaign promoting a shared railway and municipal transport ticket, which will be available as of Jan. 1 in Toruń and Bydgoszcz. Plans for the metropolitan area will be ready any day now, covering Toruń, Bydgoszcz and both our counties. We will publish a book of photos presenting the beauty of both cities, and a guide to Toruń and Bydgoszcz and other attractive sites in the area.

What can you offer foreign investors?
Let me highlight Bydgoszcz's strong points once more. It is easy to reach by any means: water, air or on wheels. It is located in the heart of Poland and the center of Europe. It has a special economic zone and people who are willing to work. We have young people and we are creating jobs for them. Jobs are important, and their number is growing. Highly specialized facilities are being set up. Unemployment in Bydgoszcz has dropped from 13 percent four years ago to 9.1 percent today. That's more than 8,200 people. Of course, this is not only due to a larger number of jobs, but even so not everyone has taken the plane to London. We have been receiving a great many inquiries about the technological park from companies that plan to employ several hundred people each. The park will have several hundred hectares up for grabs; this is forest land, but there was no other free terrain in Bydgoszcz. Investment is also possible on the area of former irrigation fields which require redevelopment.

No investor will want to come here, however, if the city is congested with traffic. That's why we need to set ourselves certain priorities and carry them out one by one.

From Bydgoszcz to Europe

There will be regular flights from Bydgoszcz Airport to Berlin, Copenhagen and Katowice from Jan. 7. Tickets are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online on www.jetair.pl , at the Bydgoszcz Airport ticket office (tel. +48 52 365 46 607) and at the LCC travel office (tel. + 48 52 321 01 00).

A detailed flight timetable is available at www.plb.pl and at Bydgoszcz Airport. Bydgoszcz-Katowice-Bydgoszcz flights leave on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, flights to and from Berlin on Thursdays, and to and from Copenhagen on Mondays and Fridays.
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