HÀ NỘI — Many Hanoians have applauded a proposal by the People’s Committee of Hoàn Kiếm District to build an embankment around Hà Nội's iconic site of Hoàn Kiếm (Returned Sword) Lake.
The proposal was made to address areas around the lake that have seen various degrees of subsidence and breaking up over the past few years. Details are on display at an exhibition being held by the lake at the Hồ Gươm Cultural Information Centre to collect feedback from residents and experts. The exhibition started last week and will run until tomorrow.
Under the project, the city will build an embankment around the lake’s banks using precast concrete blocks. Each hollow block will be 2.5 metres in height and 1.6 metres in width.
The embankment would be painted in a mossy-green to match its surroundings, with gaps to grow aquatic plants, the Hà Nội Mới (New Hà Nội) online newspaper reported.
Vũ Hải Bằng of Hàng Gai Ward in Hoàn Kiếm District, who has lived in Hà Nội for more than 60 years, said: “I vote yes for the project.”
It would make the landscape around the icon of Hà Nội more clean and beautiful, he said.
“Building the embankment using concrete blocks makes sense because they are durable,” Bằng said.
However, the constructors should try to avoid causing negative impacts on the lake's surroundings because there were a lot of historical sites nearby, he added.
Phạm Duy Quang of Hai Bà Trưng District said infrastructure around the lake had been degraded for years.
“I hope the project will be commenced as soon as possible,” he said.
The project would improve the landscape around the lake and ensure more safety for visitors walking around it, he said.
Phạm Hoàng Hà, a resident living near the lake, said the subsidence had occurred at spots popular among elderly people who did their morning exercises there, and where young people took photos.
“Infrastructure improvements should be harmony with the lake’s ancient style,” he said.
Phạm Thanh Tùng, chief of the Việt Nam Association of Architects, also said he is in favour of the project.
The method of using hollow concrete blocks had been in use in many other countries, he said.
The concrete blocks would be made from special materials suitable for Hoàn Kiếm Lake, and there would still be space for aquatic plants, he said.
The city's administration should quickly implement the project because the lake was among the top destinations for tourists, he said.
However, there are a considerable number of people who did not agree with the project because they thought the concrete embankment would ruin the landscape.
In response, Trần Trung Sinh of Hoàn Kiếm District’s project management board said the project would balance between long-term sustainability and beauty.
Sinh also said construction would take place between 10pm and 5am to minimise the unwanted effects on the surroundings.
Phạm Tuấn Long, vice chairman of the district People’s Committee, said the concrete blocks would be embedded in the bottom of the lake to prevent subsidence.
One report said the entire embankment would be about 1,600 metres in length, including 600 metres of subsided sections.
The city is planning to build a section of the embankment before Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday.
Hoàn Kiếm Lake is surrounded by Old Quarter streets including Lê Thái Tổ and Đinh Tiên Hoàng on the east and Hàng Khay to the south. — VNS
Vũ Hải Bằng at the exhibition in Hà Nội. — Photo hanoimoi.com.vn