Villa development project in Ha Long Bay opposed by architects 27/01/2015, 09:29:27 AM (GMT+7)

(VietNamNet Bridge )-Architects and environmentalists have expressed their strong opposition against a project to develop villas and a golf course in the Ha Long Bay Natural Heritage area.

Doan Bac, a renowned architect, said he opposed the idea of building villas in the area. “If we do this, we will lose Ha Long Bay completely,” he said.

The Tuan Chau Group has submitted to Quang Ninh provincial authorities a plan to pour 20 million cubic meters of soil into Ha Long Bay to build three flower-shaped villas on the sea.

Bac noted that the highest value of Ha Long Bay is that it’s landscapes and people remain unchanged, from the past to the present. If things there become different, Ha Long Bay would no longer exist, because its highest value would disappear.

“The principle of developing heritages is that we need to optimize services, not to expand services,” he said. “Ha Long Bay’s outstanding character, if it is lost, will never be regained.”

The expert warned that UNESCO, at its recent sessions, repeatedly recommended solutions to protect Ha Long Bay amid influences of tourism, construction and aquacultural development.

Only when the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee convened in Doha, Qatar in June 2014, were Vietnam’s efforts on preserving Ha Long Bay’s value recognized.

Architect Nguyen Van Tat, talking to the local press, noted that the investor (Tuan Chau Group) must give answers to three important questions.

First, will the existence of construction works in the area violate UNESCO’s rules? Second, how did construction works affect regional geographical and hydrological conditions and flood control? And third, how will ;landscapes in the area change?

“The encroachment on the sea and the development of construction works will surely change the face and current of the bay,” he warned.

Tat noted that Vietnam would have to pay a heavy price, in case UNESCO recalls the certificate for world heritage, in exchange for small economic benefits. He noted that the benefits do not deserve such a heavy price.

Dao Ngoc Nghiem, former Hanoi’s chief architect of Hanoi, strongly opposed the idea. “No one would build golf courses in the heritage area,” he said.

Ngo Doan Duc, also a renowned architect, warned against the development of Ha Long Bay as an artificial island.

“Please respect nature and don’t think of making an intervention just to bring benefits for some certain groups of people,” he said.

“If the Tuan Chau project is developed, the bay’s landscapes will be affected,” he said. “I believe people in other parts of the world would not think of pouring soil into natural heritage areas.”
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