Ulsan eats crow on lights

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Ulsan eats crow on lights


Six 23-meter light poles, installed last month at public football fields near Taehwa River in Ulsan, are destined to be taken down before ever being illuminated. By Song Bong-geun

ULSAN - When a district in Ulsan city decided to build a couple of new football fields and install lights to allow night games, it seemed like a good idea.

But after spending 360 million won ($333,000) and completing the project, the lights are being yanked down before ever being illuminated.

Because they bothered birds.

Residents are criticizing the district and the Ulsan City government, which paid for some of the project, for not thinking ahead and wasting taxpayers’ money.

Last summer, the Ulsan Central District Office decided to add two football fields next to an existing pair near the Taehwa River. To allow play after sunset, they bought six 23-meter(75 feet) light poles and 16 light bulbs of 400 Lux intensity.

There was some resistance from the start, which was combated by the then-head of the Central District office, Cho Yong-soo.

“When the project was being pushed ahead, residents objected strongly, saying it would cause parking problems,” said Kim Young-gil, a member of the local assembly. “Cho convinced the residents, saying that operating football fields at night would attract more people, increasing business at nearby restaurants and revitalizing the whole district.”

Of the 2.2 billion won budget for the entire project, Ulsan city contributed 1.85 billion won and the rest by the national government. The lights cost 360 million won.

In April, environmentalists held a press conference warning of the impact of the tall, blinding lights on the migration of birds, including white herons and crows that frequent a bamboo grove located 200 meters away. They said it could affect their breeding too.

Construction began in February and was finished last month. But after the environmentalists’ complaint, the district office said it would not use the lights. Tuesday, the Ulsan city government announced it will take down the never-used lights, which will cost it an additional 50 million won, and install them at a district tennis court.

“The district and the city office wasted an exorbitant amount of public money while the residents were lukewarm about the idea, and the local assembly didn’t do anything about it,” said Jeong Seong-wook, 43, an Ulsan resident.

Former head of the Ulsan Central District Office, Cho Yong-soo, stepped down from the post last December for election violations. Park Tae-wan, a member of the local assembly said yesterday, “[On behalf of the local assembly,] I apologize for not thoroughly conducting deliberations on the budget.”

“It’s fortunate to have saved the habitat for migratory birds ,” Ulsan City Mayor Bak Maeng-woo said yesterday. “I will make sure such absurd incidents don’t happen again by strengthening cooperation between the district and the city offices.”

By Song Bong-geun [sharon@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]
3억6000만원 들인 울산 태화강 조명탑 켜보지도 못하고 철거
철새 도래지 고려 안 해 … 철거비도 5000만원

준공식도 하기 전 철거가 결정된 울산 십리대밭축구장 조명탑. 탑 뒤편 강 너머로 철새 도래지 삼호대숲이 보인다.

울산 중구청이 3억6000만원을 들여 태화강 둔치 십리대밭축구장에 설치한 조명탑에 한 번도 불을 밝히지 못하고 철거하기로 했다.

 조명탑이 인근 숲에 사는 철새들에게 나쁜 영향을 미친다는 지적에 포기하기로 한 것이다. 지방자치단체장이 업적을 쌓기 위해 주변 환경을 무시하고 사업을 강행했다가 결국 국민 세금만 날렸다.

 중구청은 7일 이런 내용의 십리대밭축구장 조명탑(6기) 처리계획을 발표했다. 중구청은 종전에 2개 면이던 축구장을 4개 면으로 확장하면서 야간에도 경기를 할 수 있도록 2월부터 조명탑 설치공사를 해 지난달 6일 마쳤다. 23m 높이의 조명탑에는 400럭스짜리 전구가 16개씩 부착됐다. 총공사비 22억원 중 울산시가 18억5000만원을 댔고(나머지는 국비 지원), 조명탑 공사비는 이 중에서 3억6000만원을 따로 떼어 마련했다.

 하지만 중구청은 축구장에서 170~260m 떨어진 십리대밭과 삼호대숲을 찾아오는 백로·까마귀 떼 등에 스트레스를 준다는 지적을 받아들여 조명탑을 없애기로 했다. 철거하는 데만 5000만원 추가 비용이 든다. 공사비를 댄 울산시는 조명탑을 설치하는 줄도 몰랐다고 주장했다.

울산시민 정성욱(43)씨는 “구청과 시가 엄청난 세금을 낭비했는데도 대다수 주민들은 감시에 무관심했고 지방의회는 아무런 견제도 하지 못했다”고 말했다.

세금 감시해야 일류시민 된다

세금낭비 신고센터(www.taxmanifesto.or.kr) 홈페이지를 새로 단장했습니다. 지역별 메뉴를 신설해 내 고장 세금낭비 신고 현황을 볼 수 있게 됐습니다. 중앙일보(www.joongang.co.kr)로도 들어갈 수 있습니다. 트위터(www.twitter.com/taxmanifesto)와 페이스북(www.facebook.com/taxmanifesto) 계정도 열었습니다. 전화는 02-786-1062, 02-751-5738.
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