Seoul council kills major projects

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Seoul council kills major projects

The Seoul Metropolitan Council yesterday rejected Seoul Metropolitan Government’s three key projects, widening the chasm between Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon of the ruling Grand National Party and the council dominated by opposition Democratic Party councilors.

The Seoul city council rejected the Seoul government’s plans to build an opera house and other culture facilities on Nodeul Island in the Han River, a dome stadium in southwest of Seoul and running gondola lifts at Mount Namsan.

Mayor Oh envisioned building an opera house and other cultural facilities on Nodeul Island, inspired by Sydney’s Opera House, to raise Seoul’s profile as one of the top international metropolitan cities.

Under the original plan, Seoul Metropolitan Government planned to spend more than 630 billion won ($566 million) for the Han River Art Island project by April 2014 on Nodeul Island and areas adjacent to the island.

“Seoul city government’s financial status is poor, and there was skepticism over whether Seoul city government is actually capable of building the Han River Arts Island within the next four years,” said DP Councilor Kim Dong-uk.

“The council decided to cut budgets for unsure construction projects,” Kim said.

The city government, however, passed a bill allowing the city government to buy 5,020 square meters (1.2 acres) of land with 86.9 billion won for the Han River Arts Island project.

“Sydney took 10 years to complete its opera house,” Kim said. “The rejection of the Han River Arts Island project sends a message to Seoul city government not to hastily build the Seoul’s landmark culture place in a short period of time.”

An official at the Seoul city government said it will continue its efforts to keep the project alive.

In addition, Seoul Metropolitan Council rejected the city’s plan to build a dome stadium in Gocheok-dong with 140.7 billion won, saying it needs time to review whether the plan is reasonable.

The council also rejected a bill to build gondola lifts linking the entrance and the peak of Mount Namsan with 23.2 billion won because there already are cable cars running at the mountain and new lifts could hurt the environment.

“The council is cutting budgets for key projects because it wants to secure enough funds for free school lunches in elementary schools,” said Lee Jong-hyun, a Seoul city government spokesman.

By Kim Mi-ju []
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