For 160 years, the “Lubna” sugar plant was the economic heart of Kazimierza Wielka, a small town in the farming stronghold of southeastern Poland. But in 2006, the German owner of the factory stunned residents by announcing that it was to close.
“It was a shock — an unbelievable shock. People were miserable,” said Zofia Nocon, who worked in the factory for 30 years. “The reason Kazimierza came into being was the sugar factory. People worked there for generations . . . My grandparents, parents, and siblings [all worked there]. No one imagined that the plant would ever be closed.”
A decade on, however, local officials are working on a project that they hope will lure investors back to the settlement some 50km north-east of Krakow. Fuelled by the discovery of sulphur waters, and a grant from the EU, the municipality is preparing to build a spa which, if all goes according to plan, will be developed into a health resort to give the local economy a second pillar alongside its tradition of agriculture (…)
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