Malaysia

Published: Saturday December 28, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Saturday December 28, 2013 MYT 9:31:38 AM

From dump to theme park

This dump site may be turned into a theme park. — AFP

This dump site may be turned into a theme park. — AFP

A creator of amusement park rides unveiled a controversial project to transform a “rubbish island” in Venice into a cultural attraction.

A TOP maker of amusement park rides unveiled a controversial project to transform a “rubbish island” in Venice into a cultural attraction, insisting the floating city would not be blemished by a fun park. The €80mil (RM351.2mil) leisure centre “will not be an amusement park” with rides only, Alberto Zamperla of Zamperla said, as he explained the plan to transform the artificial island of San Biagio, an old dump site, into a theme park with a cultural slant.

Zamperla, the company behind two-thirds of the rides at Eurodisney in Paris, hopes to clean up four decades of rubbish on the 4ha site at the entrance to the Giudecca Canal and transform it into a centre of fun, history and learning – if it can get the necessary authorisation.

“We’re talking about the history of Venice – one of my passions – but done my way,” Zamperla said. “I know what people like, I know my job. We have built theme parks in the United States, Russia, Iraq, Mexico and North Korea, China and Thailand,” he said.

Zamperla, who also boasts turning Germany’s Kalkar nuclear power plant into an amusement park and creating Denmark’s popular Tivoli Gardens, has teamed up with Venice’s Ca’ Foscari University Foundation for this latest project. The New-York based industrialist, who has a four-year concession for the land, aims to turn the wasteground into an attraction capable of drawing 11,000 visitors a day within two years.

“We want it to be done well, for the project to have a solid grounding from a cultural and scientific viewpoint,” said Carlo Carraro, the university’s chancellor, who has been working with a multi-disciplinary team tasked with reviving both natural habitat and history.

Researchers are looking into ways to salvage the island’s fauna and flora and come up with historical tours to narrate the founding of Venice and the evolution of the celebrated masked carnival held yearly in the canal city.

Plans for a big wheel, roller-coasters, wagons shot at high speed across an artificial lake and life-sized reproductions of the famous galleons used in the battle between the Turks and the Venetians, have already sparked controversy.

“We are completely against it. I am not criticising the idea of renovating a degraded area. But we do not need more attractions, we have enough,” said Matteo Secchi from Venessia.com, which fights local issues.

“Venice has other priorities. Its inhabitants are leaving, it has already become an amusement park,” he said in reference to the number of Venetians moving out of the city, leaving it to the run of tourists. – AFP Relaxnews

Tags / Keywords: Travel, Lifestyle, amusement park, Venice, Zamperla, San Biagio, artificial island, old dump site

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