Cheongpyeong has negative impact on local communities. Many have lost property and money.
Controversy over special relationships involved in “Unification Church Road” costing 10 billion won ($9.76 million) in taxes.
The County Road 4 running from Seonchon to Songsan-ri in Seolak-myeon that is currently undergoing road-widening works hardly has any traffic. This access road to an area that has a concentration of Unification Church related buildings has been widened, and the land owned by local residents has been expropriated for a song. [Taken from them for little money].
County Road 4 in the Songsan-ri area in Gapyeong, that has a concentration of Unification Church buildings like the Cheongshim International Hospital, is undergoing a road-widening project from 2 lanes to 4 lanes, while land owned by local residents is being expropriated for little – at 70% of market rates. When local residents ask, “why is the county road being widened even though there is little traffic” the Gapyeong County Office replies “the works are necessary to accommodate the increasing numbers of tourists.”
It has been pointed out that private land being expropriated to widen the access road to Songsan-ri, Seolak-myeon, an area that has a concentration of Unification Church related buildings, and 10 billion won ($9.76 million) in taxes being poured into the project, is causing disputes over the possible special favors given to a certain religion. This is not to mention a waste of the county budget. Half of the 34,342㎡ (8.4 acres) of land overlapping the section was formerly owned by local residents who were handed compensation valued at about 30% less than market value.
On July 2nd, data and explanations, compiled from Gapyeong County and the Cheongshim International Cultural Foundation, show that Gapyeong County received the request from the Cheongshim International Cultural Foundation to widen County Road 4. Construction to widen and pave a section of 3.34km running from Seonchon-ri to Songsan-ri in Seolak-myeon has been underway since June 2011.
After this section, that belongs to County Road 4 is completed next month, plans are underway to connect this section to the 2 lane National Road 75 that will connect Seolak to Cheongpyeong. (This road is planned to be opened in 2016). The cost for land reimbursements is 5.6 billion won ($5.4 million), the construction costs are 14.7 billion ($14.3 million). The total is 20.3 billion ($19.7 million), of which the Unification Church will cover 50%, while the remaining 50% will be covered by Gyeonggi Province and Gapyeong County. Half of the land required for the project (70,980㎡, 17.5 acres) was donated by the Unification Church and the other half was expropriated from residents. According to the appraisal, local residents received 5.64 billion won ($5.5 million) in compensation.
On the afternoon of June 27th, as the final stages of construction proceed, the section from Seokchon to Songsan-ri appears to be deserted, with hardly any traffic. The road-widening works reach as far as Songsan-ri, an area with a concentration of Unification Church buildings that include the Cheongshim Graduate School of Theology, Cheonshim International Academy, Cheongshim International Hospital, Cheongshim Peace World Center, and the Cheonjeonggung Museum. Meanwhile nothing has been done for the remaining section of Country Road 4, approximately 4.8km stretching from Songsan to Misari that is so narrow that 2 cars can barely pass abreast.
Seonchon-ri residents were against the road-widening from the start and even though they held up placards and sent petitions to Gapyeong County, Gyeonggi Province, the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Civil Rights Commission, nothing could be done. Instead they had their land expropriated at a 30% below market value. Ki-dong Lee (61 years old), who had a fertile rice paddy and a house totalling about 4,000㎡ (43,000 ft2) in total area, said “real estate experts said I would get 1 million won ($976) per 3.3㎡(pyeong, or 35 ft2) of land, but instead I was compensated 630,000 won ($614). I was wronged, but what chance does a countryside resident have against the government?” Another resident Bo-hyeon Nam stated, “If they are going to do any road-widening, they start with the National Road, widening the County Road to four lanes and connecting that to the 2-lane National Road makes no sense. The project was to create a 4-lane access road for a particular religious group using tax payer’s money.” One Seonchon-ri resident expressed concern by stating, “splitting the village into North and South with a wide road makes it difficult for seniors in the community to cross the street safely.”
Even the beneficiaries of the road-widening, the Songsan-ri residents, expressed dissatisfaction. Dal-wung Ham (73 years old) whose family has been in Songsan-ri for 7 generations said, “when the Unification Church moved in many of the 80 households of residents were scattered, leaving only 15. This disrupted our normal farm village life. We would access the mountain facing the village, Jangraksan Mountain (627m high) and grow lettuce and mushrooms, but since the Cheonjeonggung Museum was built we have been blocked from access, which has meant a loss of income for us.” A resident of this village, who goes by the last name Ham (51 years old) said, “This isn’t being done for public use, but rather for the expansion of a private road, and it is an encroachment onto the assets of the local residents who are unrelated [to the UC].”
Following this, Gapyeong County representatives stated that, “the construction was necessary to deal with the increased number of tourists that came with the opening of the Seoul-Chuncheon Expressway, not to mention to resolve the traffic congestion caused by the Unification Church buildings in the Seolak-myeon area. These works were not initiated because of some special favors to a certain religion. While there could be some misunderstanding, as a county with a low level of financial independence, our stance is to pursue projects that are effective.”
Reporter: Gyeong-man Pak
세금 100억들여 ‘통일교도로’ 특혜논란
10 billion won taxes for ‘Unification Church Road’
등록 : 2014.07.03 22:03