Historic Village to Be Spared in 4-Rivers Project

The government has decided to build no rubber riverbed sills in the area surrounding the historic Hahoe Village in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, as part of the four-rivers project. Originally, it planned to lay 300 m-long, 3 m-high rubber riverbed sills in the Nakdong river to permit passage of larger boats. The village is famous for its traditional mask dance.

But civic groups and the Cultural Heritage Administration warned of damage to the village, which they want to register as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.

An official with the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said Thursday, "Early this month, CHA officials and other experts examined the potential effects of construction of the riverbed sills on Hahoe Village as a cultural property. They concluded that the construction would highly likely damage the natural environment surrounding the village and its cultural value. So we finally decided not to build riverbed sills there."

The study showed that riverbed sills could permanently damage the area's unique landscape, where the river surrounds the village, and that the river topography could change as a result of flooding and erosion of sand banks.

The government's initial plan was to build a total of 20 riverbed sills in the Han, Nakdong, Geum and Yeongsan rivers.

englishnews@chosun.com / Sep. 11, 2009 10:05 KST