Residents in Vung Tau, a popular weekend beach destination in the southern Vietnamese province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, are voicing their concerns after it recently became publicized that the developer of a US$50 million aquarium complex is reclaiming a large swath of land from the sea for the project.
A fleet of trucks and excavators have been reclaiming the sea along a section of Vung Tau’s Front Beach, which runs adjacent to Tran Phu Street, to prepare for the implementation of the Hon Nguu Aquarium project.
A probe by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper showed that Vung Tau Cable Car Tourism JSC (VCCT) is the project’s developer.
The aquarium is part of a development plan for Front Beach that was approved by the provincial People’s Committee in 1998.
In 2007, the administration granted an investment certificate to VCCT which allowed the firm to begin work on several projects in the area, including the aquarium.
An environmental impact assessment of the aquarium project was approved by the Ba Ria-Vung Tau administration in January 2019 and VCCT was granted a building permit by the provincial Department of Construction in August.
|A model of the aquarium complex. Photo: VCCT|
According to Tran The Anh, VCCT’s general director, the project is expected to cost $50 million, $15-20 million of which will go toward the first phase, which is land reclamation.
VCCT has past experience working with partners from Japan, Australia, Turkey, and Europe, and is expected to select one of them as a contractor prior to the completion of the project’s first phase.
|Land reclamation carried out at Front Beach in the southern city of Vung Tau. Photo: Dong Ha / Tuoi Tre|
The project will cover an area of 6.7 hectares, including a three-hectare aquarium, a cable car station, and a 22-story five-star hotel.
"We are committed to making a tourism product that meets national and international standards in order to attract more visitors to Vung Tau," Anh claimed.
|A resident looks at the implementation of the project. Photo: Dong Ha / Tuoi Tre|
Despite being approved by local authorities, the project has garnered serious objections from local residents who fear it may block the view of the sea at one of the city’s most popular beaches.
“Front Beach is like the face of Vung Tau and this project is going to be a scar on that face,” Nguyen Quoc Son, who lives in Ward 1, stated.
“The project will surely destroy the landscape of Front Beach,” Nguyen Vu, another resident, said.
Other residents shared opinions that authorities should gather second opinions from scientists and experts, as well as listen to feedback from local residents, regarding the project.