Chongqing to Build Venice-style Attraction
A county-level proposal to build a 60-billion yuan (USD8.8 billion) Venice-style tourist city in Southwest China has raised concerns that the massive project may lack funding and would lead to environmental damage in the area.
Kaixian county in Chongqing said the water-themed tourist city will be about 50 square kilometers large.
Li Dianxun, the county's Party chief, told the Chongqing Business Daily Thursday that the attraction would be near Hanfeng Lake, an inland lake created after the neighboring Three Gorges Project started.
The lake is expected to expand to 14.8 square kilometers when the water level of the Three Gorges reservoir rises up to 175 meters.
According to the plan, the local government and the public sector will share the cost of the 60 billion yuan (USD8.8 billion) project.
The county will provide 10 billion yuan (USD1.46 billion) and raise 50 billion yuan (USD7.3 billion) in non-governmental funds. The project calls for a 200-hectare wetland park and a 55,000-square meter water-themed carnival area.
The county's annual fiscal income is reportedly 800 million yuan (USD117 million) and the plan requires the local government to invest 1 billion yuan (USD146 million) a year on average to keep the project going.
You Gang, a county spokesman, told the Global Times Thursday that the idea is just a proposal without details.
Jiang Yong, deputy director of the county's planning bureau, told the Global Times Thursday that a draft for the water-themed city would be completed by July.
The county authorities published an incentive regulation that said any individual or organization that brings in up to 1 billion yuan (USD146 million) for the county's government-initiated projects could get a 100,000 yuan (USD14,636) bonus.
In addition to the fund issue, some experts are concerned about the project's feasibility.
Lei Hengshun, a professor at Chongqing University specializing in the Three Gorges Project, told the Chongqing-based newspaper Thursday that the it is not clear when the water level in the reservoir will rise to 175 meters.
"The water level of the Three Gorges reservoir has been kept at 172.6 meters for three years and the unstable climate this year is not likely to raise the water level as well, which is the main obstacle to the water-themed plan," said Lei.
The plan also poses environment concerns.
"The government need to figure out how to maintain the ecological balance in Hanfeng Lake since such an inland lake cannot exchange water with the Yangtze River itself," Lei added.
(By Fu Wen)
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