중앙데일리

Merger creates largest provincial city

Dec 12,2009
A plan to consolidate the cities of Masan, Changwon and Jinhae of South Gyeongsang Province to create a megalopolis - the largest provincial municipality in the nation - was approved by the Changwon city council yesterday in a 15-to-4 vote.

The Masan and Jinhae city councils approved the plan on Monday.

Yesterday’s action effectively gave the green light to the South Gyeongsang legislature to take the next step to consolidate the cities.

The provincial legislature will vote on the bill on Monday, but passage is almost certain, since all three cities have backed the program.

The consolidation is expected to create a megalopolis with a population of 1.08 million. As of now, Gyeonggi Province’s Suwon is the largest provincial city with 1.06 million residents, followed by Seongnam with 940,000 residents. The newly consolidated city will occupy 743.48 square kilometers (183,718 acres) with a 2.2 trillion won ($1.9 billion) budget and 3,792 public servants. The gross regional domestic product of the city is expected to be 21.8 trillion won, larger than the metropolitan cities of Gwangju and Daejeon.

The Ministry of Public Administration and Security said it will draft a bill for the consolidation and submit it to the National Assembly before the end of this month with the aim of launching the city in July.

The three cities will form a consolidation preparatory committee that will determine the new city’s name.

Because of its size, the consolidated city will have one mayor and two deputy majors, but it will still be under the authority of the South Gyeongsang provincial government. The mayoral election is expected to take place in June.

While the plan won the city legislatures’ approval, the three cities are expected to battle on the specifics of consolidation. Electing a mayor, selecting the venue of the new city hall and deciding on the city’s name are just some of the tasks that lie ahead.

The Lee Myung-bak administration has said it will support the consolidated city to become the hub of the nation’s southeast by further promoting the special identities of each city. Changwon is known for manufacturing, while Masan has focused on cultural and service industries. Jinhae’s key industries are shipbuilding and harbor transportation.

The ministry said the consolidation will save the cities 762 billion won over the next decade. They will also receive 236.9 billion won in incentives from the government. The ministry also estimated that the consolidation will create more than 13,500 jobs.

By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]





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