City to exist and park to prosper
Today we are in the city without a name, but wide streets and places for bus stops are already lit and tarmacked
Road construction leading to the Industrial Park
The newspaper reports regularly on events in the Great Stone Industrial Park, the builders constantly give cause to comment, whether it be the laying of foundations, the arrival of trains from China or the erection of the first building... celebratory ceremonies with fireworks don’t really reflect the daily rhythm of building on this huge site. We have arrived for no particular occasion, to show our readers a normal working day.
On Fridays and Wednesdays there are meetings of building staff. The Deputy Prime Minister, Anatoly Kalinin, periodically chairs these when required, but today is an ordinary session with the usual chair, Deputy Chairman of Minsk Regional Executive Committee, Sergey Nevmerzhitsky. The Belarusian representative is the Director General of regional capital construction management, Valentin Ilyushonok, on the Chinese side, the Commercial Manager of the Chinese САМС Engineering Corporation, Tan Hao. People here call him Maxim and he speaks Russian well with no translators required. Representatives of a great number of organisations participate in the work, the 7th and 3rd building trusts, Minsktransstroi, Oblselstroi, Minskpromstroi, Belgazstroi...
Scale of the project is impressive
The roles of Valentin Ilyushonok and Maxim define the status of the companies which they represent. САМС Engineering Corporation serves as general contractor for the complex and is responsible for delivery of the equipment. Capital construction management carries out engineering maintenance of works and technical supervision: everything under construction and planned must correspond to design parameters and Belarusian building regulations.
Unexpected visitors suddenly arrive on the site. They are the Aide to the President and Chief Inspector in Minsk, Alexander Yakobson, and Chairman of Minsk City Executive Committee, Andrey Shorets. They join in the session and follow the group to the model of the future city. Kirill Koroteev, First Deputy Director General of the Belarusian-Chinese Industrial Park Development Company explained how, as the site is in the early stages of construction, the support and involvement of local authorities is key. But there will be a time when residential construction can begin nearby, as well as the buildings necessary for the social infrastructure of an estimated 80,000 people. Questions of important guests: who will build apartments; who will support kindergartens and polyclinics; and finally who will be responsible for cleaning the streets and other practical everyday problems for the authorities to solve.
It is important to underline that the main topic of the staff discussion was the readiness of the engineering infrastructure, as Belarus is responsible for it. After the departure of the visitors and the end of the session, we are invited to go around the boundary of the future city and to inspect the readiness of the infrastructure.
At the site of the utilities centre, though most of the complicated equipment is hidden underground and is not visible, six artesian wells and reservoirs with a volume of 2.8 thousand cubic metres can provide the city with pure water. The equipment has been repeatedly tested, and it is expected that the inspection board will visit soon. The wastewater treatment site amazes us with the scope of the works, the abundance of builders and machinery. It is one of the most important places in Great Stone! The budget cost is Br172 billion with a completion deadline of October. In some places the builders are still working on foundations, “We are behind on the August schedule by 10 days,” says the head of construction department #55 of the Soligorsk construction trust # 3, Vitaly Vereskovsky, but he is confident the days will be gained in September.
Whilst the builders slightly lag behind their own schedule, they are essentially ahead of the planned schedule, as Sergey Nevmerzhitsky confirmed, “It was expected that services would begin to be installed in March 2017, while the guidelines for the construction period is 21 months. We have managed to reduce it three times, and we will put the station into operation in October.”
...On the day we visited, 170 Chinese builders and about 2 thousand Belarusians were working on the park. We can already see the impressive outlines of buildings in the logistical park erected by the China Merchants Group, a business centre with hotel, exhibition and warehouse complexes. Just a few months ago the area was wasteland while now there the city grows in front of our eyes.
By Victor Ponomarev