The thermal bath project planned at Lake Klopein is a bit of a mystery. This project has been in St. Petersburg for over twenty years. It’s affecting the Kanzian community, but those familiar with the issue don’t seem to want to comment on exactly what it should be. In any case, this project should have been presented by MID-Bau managing director Andreas Messner at the last local council meeting. Messner, one of the partners of the drilling company, is planning the project “voluntarily”. However, the lecture could not be held due to “special reasons” and the presentation was postponed indefinitely. “We are still debating when to submit the plans,” says Messner.

There have always been rumors about possible investors, now Franz Peter Orasch of the Lilihill Group comes into the picture, who allegedly wants to invest millions in the tourist area. Mayor Thomas Krainz (SPÖ) knows about possible investments in Seelach, but not about the interest in thermal baths: “I saw the plans for Seelach in Klagenfurt. “But there was never a presentation to the local council,” says Krainz. Orasch also purchased the Rondo area in the center of Seelach precisely for this project. All leases were no longer extended and the area was fenced. It has been an eyesore for many ever since.

“Plans no longer exist”

But now Orasch wants to sell the Rondo area again. An international broker offers the property to registered customers. It is possible that plans for a million-dollar investment have been shelved for this reason. 23.2 million euros were supposed to flow into the “La Piazza – a Mediterranean environment for well-being” project in Seelach. Orasch, whose wife runs “Domain Lilienberg” in Tainach, is probably no longer an option as a potential thermal spa investor. “This was an overall project that included not only the renovation of the Rondo but also the installation of thermal baths. But these plans have been put on hold,” says Andreas Kristan, head of tourism, who hopes Orasch will change his mind. “We maintain good contact and are still hopeful,” says Kristan. There is no comment from Orasch himself. Lilihill company spokesman Alexander Khaelss-Khaelssberg simply announced that “there are no changes.” Messner, known for numerous shopping malls and construction projects outside and inside Carinthia, is not an option as an investor. “I am responsible for planning aimed at helping find a reputable investor,” says Messner.

Krainz denied the allegations against him

© Markus Traussnig

Accusations against the mayor

In any case, Krainz is convinced about the thermal bath project. “We need an attraction so guests can go to Lake Klopein again.” But the Greens accuse Krainz of “personal interest”, something Carinthian journalist Franz Miklautz recently said. It was published on the mediapartizan.at platform. Krainz and his wife will benefit exclusively from the construction of thermal baths.

Reinhard Mathes, Green Party

Reinhard Mathes, Green Party

© GKrammer

“Mayors, property owners and shareholders – this mix of interests seems to me quite problematic,” local councilor Reinhard Mathes (Greens) said in a press release. Deputy local councilor Daniel Wuttej (Greens) agrees with this criticism: “Such opaque entanglements are absolutely unacceptable because they damage the reputation of society and the community representatives whose job it is to create a good future for citizens. And not to turn the meadows and forests around the lake, which is our common source of income, into concrete and money.”

“Do not seek personal gain”

Greens are demanding now Full information on the use of funds used at Thermalbad Klopein Development GmbH. Especially since the community is involved financially as well as the tourism association and the drilling company. This GmbH was founded in 2013. “Since then we have continually paid to cover the costs of developing the project,” says Kristan. “Although the budgeted amount has not yet been exhausted, the costs should amount to 100,000 euros per person concerned,” says Krainz, who denies the allegations against him: “I personally cannot benefit. “You’re getting beaten up by people who have no idea.” He is only one of twelve shareholders of the drilling company. “We invested private money to make thermal water drilling possible. “We didn’t know if we would find what we were looking for,” says Krainz. But the drilling was successful and even healing water was discovered. “We are happy to sell the company back at cost,” says Krainz, referring to the “pig” as “half-truths spread.”

The Greens also criticize the sale of a 4,000 square meter property on the north shore of Lake Klopein with access to the lake to an investor so that the community could co-finance thermal bath plans. “We decided this with a majority vote in the local council. No one went swimming there anymore. It was a swamp landscape,” says Krainz. There are still public accesses to the lake on the south side.

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