Elen Kamen, the once elite villa district for Communist era officials built on the rugged lake Ohrid coast, is now open for development with little oversight.
Local environmentalist groups blame Struga Mayor Ramiz Merko of allowing unchecked construction at the resort – which has contributed to the threat from UNESCO that Ohrid will be stripped of its title as a world heritage site. New villas are being built on publicly owned land, reports Ohrid SOS, a local eco group, and temporary light construction is replaced with permanent concrete houses. In 2019, such unregulated construction caused the death of a worker who was hit by a concrete truck that collapsed into a septic tank.
The dispute also has an ethnic overtone as the locals are mainly ethnic Macedonians, usually from the privileged powerful families of the old regime, while the new developers are mainly ethnic Albanians who receive carte blanche from Mayor Merko, who is from the Albanian DUI party.