The Irrawaddy

YCDC Approves Reservoir Safety Plan for Controversial Mega Project

YANGON—The city’s municipal body has given permission to the developer of a controversial high-rise project to implement its proposed safety measures for a reservoir next to the project site.

Yangon City Development Committee gave the green light to Zaykabar Company, the developer of the Myayeik Nyo Royal Project, on Friday to sink bored piles and add water seals as a precautionary measure to protect the 92-year old service reservoir from damage that might be caused by construction of the US$500m project.

The approval followed a decision at a Yangon government cabinet meeting on the same day after the company submitted safety plans signed by relevant engineers.

Daw May May Thwe, a YCDC committee member, told The Irrawaddy on Monday that the permission also included approval for the construction of a three-story on-site office building after a retaining wall was built nearby to prevent landslides in the neighborhood.

“They are allowed to go ahead with their proposed safety plans for the reservoir, office building and retaining wall. Nothing else,” she said.

Slated to be completed by 2020, the Myayeik Nyo Royal Project is now in the beginning phase and comprises the construction of 12 buildings with heights ranging from 382 feet to 412 feet. In one corner of the project’s 13-acre plot lies a reservoir that distributes water to Yangon’s 16 downtown townships.

Residents who live near the construction site are opposed to the project because they fear that damage to the 20-million gallon reservoir could result in their neighborhood being flooded and cause water shortages across the city.

Both the Yangon government and YCDC suspended the project in March and again last week until the developer could come up with a safety plan for the reservoir following media reports—including The Irrawaddy’s— about the residents’ concerns.

Located in one of Yangon’s prime areas in Bahan Township, the project is named after the now-defunct Myayeik Nyo Hotel, which was run by Myanmar tycoon U Khin Shwe, who is also chairman of Zaykabar Co., one of Myanmar’s largest construction companies. The project contractor is China State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd (CSCEC).

Once covered with dense vegetation, the project area was known as Mount Pleasant during the British colonial days. Many mansions belonging to high officials, including the Mayor’s Residence and the Mayor’s Guest House (both are on heritage list) and the residence of the manager of Chartered Bank, were located there.

In February, the Mayor’s Residence was demolished during site clearing process to make way for the project.

Editor’s Note: The previous version of the story misstated that the office building and the retaining wall have to be built at the same time. In fact, the wall has to be built first.