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Ishigaki balks at developer’s sprawling resort project

Date Posted: 2007-09-12

After years of promoting tourist development and encouraging people to migrate to their island, Ishigaki residents have said ‘enough!’
Ishigaki City and its residents have drawn the line on intrusive new development, and the mayor says Zephyr, a Tokyo-based real estate development company, is to be told ‘no’ to its proposed resort and housing project. The mayor says Zephyr’s project “is not adjusting to nature. It looks like Ishigaki Island is going to lose its natural environment and ecosystem of animals, plants and forests. Everything is going to die away,” he says, “and we can’t accept your project.”
The City is preparing a formal rejection to Zephyr’s plan, saying it covers too large an area. Zephyr has met with local residents, and heard them say “No, we can’t accept your project. It’s too much changing nature. We need the ocean and we need fields and mountains.” Citizens told Zephyr “Don’t develop this big area.”
Zephyr President Takao Iioka wants to transform an area of Nakura into a housing area he says is designed to nature, including green forests, orange color tile roofs and white walls. Iioka says his company designed the project to meet local building rules, and that it would look like a Mediterranean resort. In front of the housing, he says, there would be white beaches, with the backyards facing the forests.
The project would entail cutting trees and carving away portions of the mountains. The mayor says “we’re asking the company ‘Is it good to cut away all nature, make houses and change the view of our island?’”

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