HCMC developers fail to build parks

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A place where a park should be in Ho Chi Minh City sits abandoned. sggp.org.vn/VIET NAM NEWS

Many housing projects in Ho Chi Minh City lack parks though all their units have been sold and building one is mandatory for getting a development licence.

Nguyen Nhan Khoa, a lawyer, said residential areas should be handed over to local authorities for management once housing development is completed and all apartments and land is sold.

But many developers do not build parks, abandon them or use the space for other purposes.

SaiGonRes residential area in District 8 sold 102 plots of land, and buyers were promised quality infrastructure and a 2,000sqm park, but they are unhappy the investor, Sai Gon Real Estate Joint Stock Company, failed to build the park.

Truong Nam Thanh, a buyer who said he had paid billions of dong to buy the land, complained to Sai Gon Giai Phong newspaper that eight years after people built and moved into their houses, the place where the park should be is still an abandoned field with wild grass.

As a result – besides a lack of space for recreational activities – during rains snakes slither out of the field into the roads and sometimes into houses, he said.

Thanh and other residents have been demanding that the developer and local authorities should get the park built, but the District 8 People’s Committee claimed the developer has yet to hand the project over to authorities, and so they cannot undertake any work there.

The developer is pleading lack of funds and calling on buyers to wait longer.

Frequent occurrence

Developers not building parks and so delaying the handover to authorities is a frequent occurrence in the city, the Department of Transport said.

There are hundreds of such projects in districts 8, 9, 12, Binh Tan, Binh Chanh and Thu Duc, it said.

The Khang Anh project in District 9 has 350 plots of land. Tran Kieu Trang, a resident there, said a 1ha park had been promised, but the area earmarked for it has remained abandoned for 10 years. Its bushes are a fire hazard and sometimes attract drug users, she added.

The department works with district authorities to carry out inspections and deal with violations, but many investors offer excuses such as lack of funding and needing more construction time, or say that not many residents live there yet.

The Department of Construction, to which the city transferred the management of parks from the transport department last year, has said it would address the issue of developers not handing their projects over in time.

Various departments are working together to investigate the problem of developers not building parks and come up with recommendations.

Nguyen Ngoc Hieu, deputy head of the District 8 Urban Management Department, said district authorities cannot deal with and sanction violations themselves, and have to report to the city for action.

They have urged the city to force investors to build parks or get money from them and find new contractors, or use public funds if the developers are no longer in business, he added.

Khoa, the lawyer, said authorities have been too lenient on violations, and to avoid this problem of missing parks, they should ensure investors complete all the promised utilities before issuing the Land Use Right certificate.

Tran Cong Tao, a legal expert, said the penalty for not handing over housing projects in time or failure to build utilities is just 40-50 million dong ($1,723-$2,154), which is not enough to deter such violations. VIET NAM NEWS/ANN