Nha Trang beach has been occupied by many constructions. Photo courtesy of Tuoi Tre
The central coastal province of Khanh Hoa has approved a “luxury urban area” project that will be built on 80 hectares of Nha Trang Bay despite objections construction will destroy the natural environment.
The Diamond Bay luxury urban area will also use nearly 60 hectares of water of the bay, considered one of the most beautiful in the world, outside the main location for its services, according to the plan approved by the province government last December. The fill-up is expected to use more than 3.6 million cubic meters of soil.
The project is invested in by local Hoan Cau Company and includes a 40-story hotel, a 45-story garden high-rise of apartments and many parks to the south of Tran Phu Bridge, which runs along the sea.
Khanh Hoa several years ago allowed Hoan Cau to rent the bay at the price of VND90,000 (US$4.27) a hectare a year for a nearly 50-year term to “protect the bay and develop it for tourism purposes,” according to the contract.
Truong Kinh, director of Nha Trang Bay Management Board -- which was set up by the province government and includes local officials -- told Tuoi Tre on Wednesday that he had yet to be informed of the project.
Bui Dung, chairman of Khanh Hoa Province Architects Association, said they were consulted on the project before the approval and they have filed a rejection, given that there’s other areas available for such a project and destroying Nha Trang Bay’s scenery and ecosystem was not worth it.
Nha Trang’s marine environment has been whittled away for years as many tourism projects launched since 1999 have affected hundreds of hectares of beach and water area.
The bay has been also polluted by waste discharged directly from tourist boats that don’t have septic tanks and from sewers along seaside streets.
Dr. Nguyen Tac An, vice chairman of the Vietnam Marine Science and Technology Association, said the latest plan will finalize the bays’ death sentence.
An was quoted in a Friday report by Tuoi Tre newspaper that the plan puts an end to the highly potential sea and tourism economies in Nha Trang.
The plan alleges that Nha Trang’s current design is too simple, monotonous, unaesthetic, and fragmented.
It says Nha Trang’s seaside area only has a square, a small park, several restaurants and coffee shops and one resort.
An said if that is bad, the plan will make things much worse, from a spacy beautiful waterfront into a narrow and messy beach.
He also said the plan does not fit with three previous city plans passed in 1995, 2011 and 2012.
The 2012 plan said seaside space will be saved for tourism and public services.
That clause was interpreted by drafters of the new plan to mean that major tourism constructions are allowed, that the area needs a diversity of activities including commerce and entertainment to maximize the effect of the land.
“Commercial activities are not suitable for seaside areas.”
An said the advantage of Nha Trang’s beach so far is its lack of human “crude” intervention, and it should be left as it is because the future of Nha Trang’s economy is with the sea.
He said a plan that is disrespectful to the sea will also put Vietnam in an awkward position as global tourism trends favor pristine destinations instead of commercialized and urbanized ones.
An said that the quality of Nha Trang beach is already slipping as its white sand has turned dark yellow and its biodiversity is disappearing.
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