+ A

A boost for Busan

July 22,2019
HWANG SUN-YOON
The author is the Busan bureau chief of the JoongAng Ilbo.

The scenes around the coast of Busan can be as alluring as those of any other maritime city, like Hong Kong and Singapore.

The picturesque Busan Gwangan Bridge, the Marine City with its luxurious skyscraper skyline along the Haeundae beach and the Nurimaru APEC House are some that stand out during the day as well as at night.

A project to construct a cable car above the sea near Gwangan Bridge has triggered a heated debate in the city. A local builder pitched to construct the country’s longest cable car at 4.2 kilometers (2.6 miles) which would connect Igidae Park to an island off Haeundae Beach along the south.

The idea is to have the cable car cruise over along the 7.4-kilometer Gwangan Bridge stretch, but at 151 meters (495 feet), which is higher than the bridge’s main tower at 117 meters. The project was attempted in 2016, but rejected on traffic, environmental and social value questions.

The company launched a committee with merchants in the area and won 350,000 signatures of support from Busan citizens.

It also has been holding seminars to campaign that this would add a major tourist attraction to the beaches of Haeundae and Gwangalli.
But the project is strongly opposed by environmental groups. They oppose further artificial addition in the sea and along the coast. They argue the project could be as self-serving without any long-term benefits for the city.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, the London Eye and the Harbor Bridge in Sydney were all met with strong opposition, but have now been established as signatures of their respective cities.

The addition of a cable car can boost tourism, but concerns about worsening traffic and the environment, safety and profit issues need to be addressed.

The company plan to fix these problems will be submitted to the city by the end of the year. The choice would be up to Busan Mayor Oh Keo-don to turn Busan into a global maritime city through reconstruction.