[EDITORIALS]Clear the way for cemetery

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[EDITORIALS]Clear the way for cemetery

The construction of a comprehensive cemetery park in Wonji-dong, Seoul, will finally begin Wednesday when a road into the park gets under way. Early next month the construction will gear up even more when the leveling of the ground for a crematory, a charnel and funeral homes begins. It has been nine months since the Seoul Metropolitan Government picked the site and struggled with resistence from the Seocho-gu Office and its residents, while at the same time appeasing the landlords of the area by lifting greenbelt development restrictions on the property.

But it is worrisome that the construction might be deadlocked in the midst of the Metropolitan Government's insistence and resistence by Seocho-gu Office and its residents since they plan to stage a massive protest rally Sunday at the construction site at Mount Cheonggye. The Seoul Metropolitian Government is confident that the construction will go smoothly since more than half of the landlords of the area agreed to be expropriated. But the Seocho-gu Office and its residents appear ready to block the construction by filing a suit to nullify the deregulation on the land.

The Seocho-gu Office and its residents have agreed on the need to build the park. But they have not succeeded in narrowing differences with the Seoul Metropolitan Government as they asked the plan to be massively scaled down and to find alternative sites because of traffic and environmental problems. When it lifted the greenbelt restrictions on the area, the Ministry of Construction and Transportation recommended that the Seoul Metropolitian Government and local residents fully discuss the scale of the plan, traffic and evironmental problems and compensation matters in the process of carrying out the construction. Both parties should listen carefully to this exchange.

More than half of the deceased in Seoul are cremated, and Byeokje Crematory already runs more than capacity. No more places will be available soon in the six charnels around Seoul. Crematory facilities in Seoul are overburdened. The comprehensive cemetery park will find nowhere to go if it again becomes an issue in the local election in June. Let's not wait until then to reach a compromise.
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