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Proposed Hoi An Resort Sparks Environmental Concerns

A decision by Hoi An authorities to once again greenlight a tabled multi-million dollar resort project has sparked concern among local residents.

As VietnamNet reports, back in 2008 the People’s Committee of Quang Nam province approved a project by Gami Hoi An JSC to build Gami Hoi An, an ecotourism village. However, for reasons unknown, the investor didn’t go through with the construction plan and left the site untouched, save a for short concrete embankment.

Seven years later, in 2015, Quang Nam finally revoked Gami’s license after many failed attempts to get the developer to restart the project. However, last year authorities decided to once again give the ambitious project a shot.

The resort town, named the Gami Hoi An Plaza Project, is based entirely on two islets 400 meters from Hoi An’s town center. The entire site, spanning an area of 11 hectares, is designed to include a five-star hotel, luxury villas, commercial areas, a conference center and a marina.

While local authorities were hopeful about the prospects of bringing in more high-paying tourists, many locals are worried that a project of such scale will negatively impact Hoi An’s living space and environment.

Nguyen Su, former secretary of the Hoi An Party Committee, took issue with the approved maximum height of the project. Currently, new structures in Hoi An can only be 13.5 meters tall in order to maintain consistency with the rest of the town. However, Gami’s blueprint for the new resort includes buildings that will be 16.5 meters tall.

“The regulation on heritage conservation has been ignored,” Su told VietnamNet. “I don’t think this is an extremely important work [that deserves the height exemption]. The local authorities must not let a project affect the entire living space of Hoi An.”

He added that the two islets also play an important role ecologically as a buffer zone between the town and the UNESCO-recognized Cu Lao Cham Biosphere Reserve.

“During the development process, if rivers ‘die’ and islets are replaced with concrete works or high-rise buildings, the future of Hoi An will be damaged,” Su said.

Dr. Chu Manh Trinh, an expert on the Cu Lao Cham reserve, also echoed the former secretary’s sentiment that construction work on the islets should be carefully carried out to minimize impacts on the environment.

Trinh also shared with Nguoi Lao Dong that on a recent inspection of the site his team spotted signs of erosion, caused both by development projects and sand theft.

[Rendering via Gami Group]

Related Articles:

Work Begins on $4bn Hoi An Resort

[Photos] Hoi An Officials Fortify Cua Dai Beach to Prevent Further Erosion

Report: 33% Of Hoi An Could Soon Be Underwater

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