Legoland set to open, but nearby historical artifacts ‘overlooked’

Legoland Korea Resort in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province on Tuesday, two days before its official opening. (Yonhap)

After 11 years of many obstacles and criticisms, the Lego blocks are finally stacked and Legoland Korea Resort is ready to open on Children’s Day.

However, historical artifacts found near the site and surrounding areas – the source of opposition to the theme park in Chungcheon, Gangwon province – remain neglected inside the plastic greenhouses.

As the official opening of Legoland Korea Resort nears on Thursday, the theme park is once again under fire for dragging its feet with the creation of a separate park and dedicated exhibit hall. to artifacts, terms that Legoland developer Gangwon Jungdo Developments Corp. (GJC), accepted. according to the conditional permits that were issued to build Legoland.

The Pan-Citizen Countermeasures Committee, which has lobbied against the opening of Legoland, and other civic groups and artists, held a joint press conference near the theme park on Monday, condemning the Heritage Administration culture for neglecting historical artifacts.

The Pan-Citizen Countermeasures Committee and other civic groups and artists are holding a joint press conference in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, on Monday.  (Yonhap)

The Pan-Citizen Countermeasures Committee and other civic groups and artists are holding a joint press conference in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, on Monday. (Yonhap)

“Legoland’s operating license is now invalid because it completely failed to comply with the terms of the conditional use license,” the committee said. The statement also accused the CHA chief of dereliction of duty for tolerating the “illegal opening” of Legoland.

Hundreds of stone artifacts, including the Jiseokmyo dolmen which dates back at least 2,000 years and the Doldeotneol tomb from the Goguryeo era, are currently wrapped in black plastic and stored in greenhouses surrounded by a 2-yard fence. meters high.

The committee pointed out that Legoland was initially allowed to continue construction in the years 2014 and 2017, on the condition that historical artifacts are protected and preserved by creating a dedicated park and exhibition hall.

Gangwon Province and GJC, an investment arm of Gangwon Province, had offered the terms to CHA.

In addition to criticism over the preservation of artifacts, the theme park has faced other issues since construction began in 2011. They include issues of environmental destruction and allegations of unfair contracts and bribes -of-wine.

Civic group leader Oh Dong-chul and mime artist Yu Jin-kyu filed a complaint against the cultural heritage administration chief at the Chuncheon police station on Monday.  (Pan-Citizen Countermeasures Committee)

Civic group leader Oh Dong-chul and mime artist Yu Jin-kyu filed a complaint against the cultural heritage administration chief at the Chuncheon police station on Monday. (Pan-Citizen Countermeasures Committee)

Oh Dong-chul, president of the Chuncheon Civil Society Network, said the 2017 regulations state that the park and exhibition hall must also be ready on Legoland’s opening day, but “nothing has changed in the way relics are stored”.

“Our groups have been on several hunger strikes, including one in 2019. More than 150 billion won ($118 million) has been donated to the theme park. There is no reason to delay the creation of the preservation park planned since the construction of Legoland began,” Oh told the Korea Herald on Tuesday.

The CHA, run by the central government, however, blamed Gangwon Province for GJC’s inability to secure the necessary budget for the park and exhibition hall.

The agency also denied there were any issues with how the artifacts are stored.

A sign posted by the Gangwon Jungdo Developments Corporation indicates that the area contains valuable stone artifacts which will later be moved to an artifact park and museum.  (Pan-Citizen Countermeasures Committee)

A sign posted by the Gangwon Jungdo Developments Corporation indicates that the area contains valuable stone artifacts which will later be moved to an artifact park and museum. (Pan-Citizen Countermeasures Committee)

An official from the CHA’s Artifact Excavation Division told the Korea Herald that the stone artifacts wrapped in black plastic are safe because they have been exposed to the elements for centuries.

“The building permit (for the park) was issued last year and all the designs have been completed. Construction will hopefully begin in 2023 as soon as the budget issue is resolved, and it will only be a matter of time from there. said the official.

By Kim Hae-yeon ([email protected])

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