(Saemangeum 8면)

By Park Sae-jin Posted : November 14, 2009, 19:08 Updated : November 14, 2009, 19:08

“Every masterpiece is painted on the blank canvas.”

The ‘2009 International Forum on Saemangeum and Green Growth’ held in Seoul on November 9 started with the introduction of masterpieces by a great Picasso in parallel with Samangeum, a vast reclaimed area in the South Korea’s southern coast, to be a perfect spot for another everlasting and fine piece of work.

A variety of renowned figures ranging from former Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok to Mohan Munasinghe, vice chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), attended the forum and proposed abundant suggestions with the perspective from development, environment, and finance in order to build up Samangeum as an eco-friendly city as well as a business hub in Northeastern Asia.

Participants and speakers of the forum agreed that the sustainable development will be attainable when the area is equipped with good infrastructure for education, healthcare, and residence as well as smooth transportation such as international airport and harbor. They also shared the needs for deregulation and streamline for decision-making.

As a part of efforts to achieve such a goal, Korean government designated the Saemangeum and Gunsan area as its sixth and final free economic zone in May 2005. The Saemangeum Gunsan Free Economic Zone (SGEFZ) Authority drew up a master plan for development in the region with core projects for industries, tourism, and agriculture.

◇ Industrial zone

Location is one of most important factors in business establishment. The Saemangeum area is of special importance as it is located to play a central role as a gateway to the region. Saemangeum is a 401-square kilometer-wide plot of reclaimed land separated from the sea by the world’s-longest sea dike, at 33 kilometers. The area is about 60 percent the size of Singapore, 67 percent of Seoul, 3.7 times bigger than Paris and five times bigger than Mahattan.

In particular, the industrial zone with size of 1.87 million-square meter is going to be developed under the goal of creating the 'Premium Multi-City' in Saemangeum.

The plan is to build complex industrial city in harmony with nature. In terms of industrial development, SGEFZ is going to establish a variety of facilities to promote the information creation businesses such as shipbuilding and high-tech parts and environment-friendly industries such as renewable energies and bio projects.

To do so, the authority has set up 4 development schemes to be the most productive green growth zone in the world; Oxygen City to respond to the global trend of cutting greenhouse gas emission by creating eco-friendly transportation system and expanding the forest area; Cluster City to bridge adjunct businesses such as automobile and renewable energy fields in Gunsan; Culture City to harmonize the business, residence, and recreation by attracting a variety of international events and creating natural space in the area as well as environment-friendly residence; Zero Emission City to recycle resources for industries and living.

The plan seeks to develop Saemangeum into a leading low-carbon, green growth area and the area is expected to serve as an example for green growth and future city development.  

◇ Tourism zone

The authority expects 6 million tourists to visit the Saemangeum in 2010 when it opens up attractions to the public. One of the tourism projects is called Gateway Tourism Complex where the seawall – the longest such facility in the world – is going to be equipped with transportation and tourism services.

The tourism complex is to provide visitors with facilities including parking lot and public toilets and lead the development project for tourism in the neighboring area. The reclaiming work is going to be taken place this month with the expectation to be completed by 2012.

Korean government planned to develop Saemangeum multi-functional lands into a tourist attraction in its change in basic concept for internal land development in 2008. The concept called ‘Rainbow Resort Way 33’ is to build mega resorts for a variety of public need in the space of 5.09 million square meters.

Upon the completion of projects, the zone will be home for cultural and leisure activities and contain various facilities such as golf courses, theme and water parks, convention centers, pavilions and so forth.

Investors started to show interests in the complex of Samangeum. Saudi Arabian developer S&C and Gunsan city signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on June of 2008, sealing the company’s 236 million dollars investment to build a 47-story leisure facility as a landmark of the SGFEZ on the scenic island of Bieung, serving as a gateway to Samangeum.

◇ Forest Zone

The SGFEZ is going to make more efforts to regain its eco-friendly image that used to have before the major reclaiming work by setting aside space for green purposes.

The government announced last month that it would make the industrial complex at the core of the plan nature-friendly. The Korea Rural Community Corporation, which oversees development of the Saemangeum Industrial Complex, made the declaration as it released a blueprint for the 1.94 trillion won (1.63 billion dollars) project.

“It will be the first industrial complex in Korea where water, nature and human beings coexist,” said the KRCC, which falls under the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, in a statement.

Key to the idea is the ‘forest zones’ to be placed inside the 1,870-hectare complex. At least 20 percent of the complex will be forested, the corporation said, while only about 10 percent of the current site is covered with trees.

The KRCC said it will also draw water from the west coast and run it through artificial waterways throughout the complex to create parks.

As for the water supply, as much as 522,000 cubic meters of fresh water per day would be required for living and industrial activities and water can be supplied from the Yongdam Multipurpose Dam.

Together with this approach, the government has a plan for a system of waste management to reduce waste production thoroughly and increasing the ration of recycling for the purpose of delivering greener image to the area. Such a system will be sought to introduce a natural circulation system and can even generate energy from the process. 

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