Kandawgyi Park helium balloon project garners objections

A ballooning plan to provide tourists with a bird’s-eye view of Kandawgyi Park may yet be deflated by lawmakers trying to jettison the proposal.

Myanmar Voyages International Tourism Company said it has already secured permission to launch a helium balloon venture above Yangon’s Kandawgyi Lake. The chair of the company said the plan will help boost tourism in the country’s largest city, and expects to start launching balloons in December.

“We got permission after a [Yangon Region] cabinet meeting in June,” said the MVITC chair, who asked that his name not be used. He added that the business is partnering with a US-based company for the venture.

The chair said that he has already paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in land-lease fees for the upcoming project.

But Mingalar Taung Nyunt township lawmaker U Hla Htay said yesterday that MPs are preparing a proposal to question the project in an upcoming regional hluttaw session. Some residents have asked that the balloon project be cancelled, he said.

“The government should have informed parliament before they gave permission to the company,” U Hla Htay said.

One of the biggest complaint is that the project may require that dozens of old trees be cut down.

Yangon City Development Committee denied having granted permission to Myanmar Voyages International Tourism Company to launch the project. However, a YCDC member added that the tree concerns were groundless.

“We already conducted a survey and can ensure that there is no need to cut down old trees. Some smaller trees will need to be removed and replanted elsewhere,” said U Ko Ko Lin from YCDC’s Department of Playgrounds, Parks and Gardens.

Yangon resident U Soe Myint, who lodged an objection to the project, said the ballooning area will block the entrance to the park that he uses to exercise in the morning.

“The main point here is that this project should be accepted by the people,” he said.

“We are worried that we will not have access to our park entrance if the balloon project takes up the size of a field. The government should not make a decision about public land without the people’s support,” he added.

The Myanmar Times was not able yesterday to get comment from the regional government in response to the balloon plan, or the objections.

 

Source: The Myanmar Times

 

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