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Town Gets Big Rewards for Attracting Crematorium

Posted August. 13, 2010 11:34,   


A three-story office building in the township of Samdong-myeon in front of Samdong Elementary School in Ulsan’s Ulju County is in the final stage of construction, with completion slated for the end of this month.

Though the office has just 12 employees in a region with 1,969 residents, the building is being built on 2,047 out of a combined 8,494 square meters of land.

The traditional rural area is having a luxury office built because residents agreed to attract a crematorium.

The Ulsan city government since 2002 had tried to find areas to relocate an old public crematorium in its Dong ward. Most residents opposed the relocation but Samdong-myeon was different.

Senior residents persuaded others to attract the crematorium to develop old Samdong-myeon. The village of Bosam in Samdong-myeon is the background of a mountain town depicted in the 1987 film classic “The Surrogate Woman” and one of the most remote areas in Ulsan. It grows shiitake mushrooms but makes little money.

Representatives formed a task force for the crematorium in August 2003, hosted an information session by visiting villages, and held a vote among the combined 741 households. Of them, 446 households or 60.2 percent approved the plan.

Residents agreed to the facility in return for some 20 incentives, such as building an office building for the township.

Ulsan planned to spend 4.25 billion won (3.57 million U.S. dollars) to build the office but Ulju County added 700 million won (588,700 dollars) to the sum. The first floor will be the township’s office and the second and third floors will house residential and commercial facilities such as restaurants, a library, a fitness club and karaoke.

In January next year, the site on which a closed branch of Samdong Elementary school is standing will be turned into a playground.

Twenty billion won (16.8 million dollars) will be invested into 16 projects residents have long hoped for.

Residents are now discussing what to improve in the village such as road pavement or building a room for the elderly. The cost of incentive projects to come along with the crematorium is 472.7 billion won (397.5 million dollars), or 240 million won (201,800 dollars) per resident.

The head of the Samdong-myeon development council said, “Since this project receives budget directly, I’m talking with residents about what to build.”

Leading council official Seon Jong-chan said, “This is the best opportunity for development since Samdong-myeon was made. Since the old Samdong-myeon is changing dramatically, most people are pretty satisfied.”

A resident from Ulsan’s Buk ward, which failed to attract the crematorium, said, “Today’s crematoriums have modern facilities so they cannot be considered unpleasant facilities. If the facility was built deep in the mountains in the mountainous area of Buk ward, our neighborhood’s financial independence would have increased dramatically.”

The Ulsan crematorium will be completed in March 2012 on a plot of 98,000 square meters. Construction is 10-percent complete and the facility will have 14 cutting-edge cremator furnaces that emit no smell or smog.