VietNamNet Bridge – Parks and lakes in Hanoi have become narrower, giving place to car parking lots, shops and convenience stores. Hanoians have to lead a busy industrial life and they do not have fresh air to breathe.
Where have the parks gone?
“Car, motorbike keeping service, 24/24” – a lot of boards with the words are being hung in the Tuoi Tre Park area. The entrance door to the park on Thanh Nhan Street is hidden behind the coaches and the billboards. The Van Tue Restaurant is located just 50 meters far from the entrance door. There is also the entrance to Fivimart supermarket. If going further by 20 meters, one would see the land areas which have been used as car keeping lots.
What are there inside the park? A karaoke shop Jaguarudi, Tuoi Tre café, Tuoi Tre Thu Do Wedding Party Restaurant, Queen Bee II restaurant and Cung Xuan Restaurant. Tens of cars were seen standing close to each other around the Vo Thi Sau statuary.
Nguyen Hanh Ly, a local resident said that in the past, she got up early and went to the park to do some physical exercises. She had to make his way through the cars, motorbikes and sniffed the smoke. Therefore, she has decided to stay at home to avoid the smoke.
Tuoi Tre Park is not alone. A lot of other parks like Thu Le, Indira Gandhi (the Thanh Cong Lake Park) are facing the same problem: they have been cut into small pieces to give space to restaurants, trade centers for commercial purposes.
Two imposing buildings - Petrotimes Building and Phuong Dong Hotel – stand right in front of the entrance of the Thanh Cong Lake Park. A café has been set up inside the park.
The Thu Le Park has also been surrounded by cafes, restaurants, entertainment areas, tennis playing grounds.
Nguyen Hoai Nam, a Hanoian, compared Thanh Cong Lake with a “village’s small pond” when it is located next to the multistory buildings. He has warned that the same thing would also occur with the Hoan Kiem Lake in the center of Hanoi, if the project on Power Building is implemented.
Local authorities powerless?
Hanoi authorities, which first reported the problems at the Thu Le Park 4-5 years ago, ordered to destroy all the construction items encroaching on the campus of the park. However, the works still have been existed for the last many years.
Hanoians have been complaining about the violations at the Tuoi Tre Park for the last 10 years. The case was also many times put on the agenda of the city’s people’s committee and people’s council. However, no improvement has been made so far.
Hanoi’s Vice Mayor Nguyen Van Khoi has admitted that most of the construction works built inside the park from 2001 to 2007 were not licensed. Khoi said in 2007, the city’s localities requested relevant ministries to force to destroy the illegal items, including the restaurant, tennis service house, storehouse, and some others.
No one can say for sure when the instructions can be implemented. The Hai Ba Trung district’s authorities have been simply reprimanded for being slow in dealing with the problem, while the Hanoi Construction Department has not well supervised and speed up the implementation of the works.
Khoi said the city’s budget is not big enough to invest in parks and lakes. Meanwhile, it is very difficult for the city to call for the society’s investment, because investors would only spend money when they can make profit.