Khakassia is Dropping Airport Project in Favor of New Houses

Khakassia is Dropping Airport Project in Favor of New Houses


Authorities of the Republic of Khakassia that lies in the southern part of eastern Siberia in the upper reach of the Yenisei River have announced a significant expansion of the territory of its capital city Abakan. In the next 10 years, the city’s area is to be doubled. However, there are several issues to be solved prior to it.

Plans for accelerated development of the Khakassian capital emerged back in the Soviet times. In the 1990s, it became obvious that they would never come true. Now, Abakan's ambitions are linked to the prospects of the Abakan-Chernogorsk agglomeration. The current population of the city is 186,000 people. That is approximately one third of the population of the republic. According to Abakan’s authorities, the municipality has almost used up available internal reserves for growth. In fact, the only thing left to do is to demolish the private sector and fill the vacated space with high-rise buildings. Meanwhile, there are perfectly flat lands in the north of the city, behind the dam, that are ideal for construction. It is these lands that the authorities are going to use. "It's a challenging task,” Irina Voinova, the deputy head of Khakassia, told “Khakasia hasn't had to tackle anything like this in the last 50 years. There is a plan for housing construction in the republic which is approved by the authorities. According to it, 3.5 mln m² of housing are to be built by 2030. This is like to build another Abakan."

To do this, another 2,000 ha will be "added" to Abakan. However, these lands cannot be simply encompassed by the city even though they are completely empty. Firstly, now, they are located on the territory of Ust-Abakan district. Secondly, they are on the list of federal water resource lands of the water fund. Third, they are situated in the zone of potential flooding in case the level of the Yenisei river rises. This is what the dam protecting Abakan was built for. The plan is to resolve these issues gradually. First of all, the land will be purchased from the Ust-Abakan municipality. The bargain is unusual. In exchange, the municipality will get the entire compound of the Abakan national airport and all of its taxes. The mayors of the city and the municipality have already agreed on this matter. The only thing that remains at present is to coordinate the decision with district and city deputies.

After that, it is necessary to get federal approval for changing the category of land authorized for construction. And finally to think how to keep Abakan II safe from floods. For this purpose, a whole system of drainage channels and dams will be developed. The government of the Khakassia is going to settle all these issues within two years. "The land swap agreement alone will take about a year to finalize,” said Alexei Lemin, the mayor of the city. “Now, the main construction works are taking place in Abakan. However, our capacity is already almost exhausted. The new site envisions opportunities for many years ahead."

As reported earlier, last year, the city authorities had a dispute with the Abakan airport. According to the new federal legislation, there are many restrictions on economic activities on the airfield area which is a part of the city. Construction is one of them. There is an allowable limit on the number of storeys. The approval of the development plan for an area of this kind might put an end to the city's development. As the regional government says, they managed to find a compromise solution with the Federal Air Transport Agency. Within the boundaries of the city, the number of stories was increased from 4 to 12. Farming is also allowed in the vicinity of the airport. However, ploughing is only permitted there at night so as not to frighten the birds that might then get into the aircraft engines.

It should be added that in 2020, Khakassia's builders set a record and commissioned 278,000 m² of housing. The figures were up 12% on 2019. For every resident in the republic, 0.5 m² of new housing was commissioned. This is the best statistics in the Siberian Federal District.

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