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Seoul Suburb Under Fire for Nixing Stream Cleanup Project

Seoul Suburb Under Fire for Nixing Stream Cleanup Project

Posted August. 06, 2010 11:15,   


The northern Seoul suburb of Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, is under fire for not participating in the cleanup of a polluted stream because of the project’s relation to the four-river restoration project.

On the Goyang City Hall’s homepage, a user posted the message, “What do the four major rivers have to do with restoration of the ecosystem? Even if there is a relation, the city should make a decision for its citizens at least.”

Another user posted, “Since the five opposition parties and certain civic groups with the same stance do not reflect the opinions of Goyang residents, the city must make a decision in the interest of all Goyang citizens.”

Other citizens supported Goyang Mayor Choi Sung’s decision to drop out of the cleanup project, warning of an enormous maintenance cost if an artificial river is made as planned.

Amid such strong criticism, the city released a document explaining why it chose to drop out of the project, citing fiscal problems and excessive maintenance costs. This is contrast to the former mayor’s push for the project in the name of environmental restoration and regional development of underdeveloped areas.

A city government source said, “The controversy has grown as the former mayor’s direction has changed. Officials are just following the order but the fear is criticism from residents.”

Goyang joined an ecosystem recovery project for Changneung Stream as an exemplary venture for waterfront cities based on water circulation. The central government and Gyeonggi Province were to provide 46 billion won (39.4 million U.S. dollars) in funding, but Choi pulled Goyang from the project because of its relation to the four-river restoration project.

Goyang snubbed the explanatory session for the project in becoming the lone city in Gyeonggi Province not to participate.

A city source said, “We would’ve tried again to join efforts to restore the heavily contaminated Changneung Stream had the exemplary project gone into full gear, but because of such controversy, we couldn’t apply for the project afterwards.”