Last year's resident-led campaign to check the indiscriminate establishment of love hotels (nickname of motels that are hotbeds of illicit affairs) and pubs drew considerable social attention. The campaign resulted in the resignation of the local mayor in question and the introduction of the system of citizen's summons, showing the makings of active self-government by residents.
The campaign eventually led to Goyang City's decision to cancel construction permits for scheduled love hotels, change the purpose of love hotels already undergoing construction, and buy some of the accommodation and entertainment facilities in Baekseok-dong, Madu-dong and Daehwa-dong. The campaign spread beyond Goyang City to the entire nation, affecting other cities such as Seongnam. It triggered other residents' campaigns to guard citizens' rights to pleasant residential and educational environments, and also induced the amendment of municipal regulations to reflect residents' needs.
Having come this far, the residents are now planning to operate the love hotels and pubs bought by the city as culture centers for residents.
In particular, the 'Han-mwe Women's Culture Center Committee,' established in March, is planning to create an environmentally-friendly, alternative and multi-purpose culture center for women residents. The committee is conducting a survey on women's cultural needs and ways to utilize the culture center. It has also started a drive to induce greater participation by getting residents to purchase and own small pieces of the land.
Another organization that is actively leading the culture campaign is the 'Citizens' Committee to Turn Nightclubs into Youth Centers.' The committee, to be launched this month, wants the city to buy the mammoth nightclub that had to stop construction. The committee will then take over to utilize the area as a culture center that can hold extra-curricular activities, recitals, exhibitions and festivals for housewives and students of all ages.
There are other suggestions for different ways to use these "love hotels." One is using the love hotels in Madu-dong as accommodation facilities for the nurses and guardians of patients in the nearby National Cancer Center. Another suggestion is using the love hotels in the entire Ilsan City as dormitories for foreign workers and traders.
The problem is how to obtain the budget to buy the facilities.
An officer at the City Residence department of Goyang City says, "The basic objective is to secure community facilities, but it will take some time to procure the budget to buy the love hotel." He explained that the plan to purchase the hotel can be pursued only after it has been approved at the City Assembly budget review session next month. But even if the purchase is successful, Goyang City has said that it cannot let the residents run the enterprise due to operational complications.
Regarding this, Goyang City congressman Kim Beom Soo called on the City administration to work harder to purchase the love hotel. Pointing out the importance of residents' participation in city administration, he warned, "If this campaign comes to a dead end, it will be a big blow to the development of good citizenship, and citizens will lose interest in other publicly beneficial activities."