After receiving complaints by local residents, Vung Tau has halted construction of a new tourism project, pending further environmental assessment.
As Tuoi Tre reports, on October 15, Chairman of Vung Tau People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Long issued a document ordering the Hon Nguu Aquarium Project to suspend construction. The decision came after scores of Vung Tau residents expressed concerns that the project might damage the local beach and ruin the town’s seaside promenade.
In the document, the People’s Committee asked the Department of Construction to collaborate with Hon Nguu’s developer, Vung Tau Cable Car Tourism JSC, to conduct studies of the upcoming aquarium’s impact on the environment, neighboring communities and local tourism.
According to its development plan, the massive tourism project spans 6.7 hectares, most of which will be made available by reclaiming stretches of Vung Tau’s Bai Truoc Beach. The site will feature a three-hectare aquarium, a cable car station and a 22-story five star hotel. Over the past few days, many people living in the area started noticing throngs of trucks pouring construction materials into the sea to carry out reclamation, so they voiced their alarm.
Some are worried that the presence of such a significant complex infringing on the coast might affect the marine environment and sea currents in the area, while others think that the imposing hotel will be an eyesore along an otherwise open view of the ocean.
“This project is like a mole on a pretty face. [If] that location is the face of the city, then the project is like a toothpick or scar impaled on the face,” Nguyen Quoc Son, a resident of Ward 1 or Vung Tau, told Tuoi Tre in Vietnamese. “I don’t know how financially enriching it might be, but I think it’s offensive.”
Many suggest that the province hold a public forum with scientists and other experts to properly examine the impact of the tourism complex, and also to allow Vung Tau dwellers to present their thoughts on the matter.
The Hon Nguu Complex is estimated to cost US$50 million. In its first phase, the developer will spend US$15–20 million on reclaiming nearly 16,000 square meters of the sea in Bai Truoc.[Top photo via Tuoi Tre]
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