O Globo published stories yesterday and today about the mayor’s and the city council’s plans for Rio, here:
To sum up very briefly, mayor Eduardo Pães is sending an “Olympic package” for city council approval today, that changes some rules so as to meet the city’s goal of 50,000 hotel rooms for the 2016 Olympics. The actual deficit, according to Globo, is 21,000 rooms, some of which will be in inns, at resorts, in youth hostels and on ships, in addition to traditional hotel rooms. The mayor proposes to allow additional rooms stretching westward from the off-beach streets of Copacabana all the way to Guaratiba, as well as in several other neighborhoods not traditionally devoted to tourism or hotels. The package includes measures for ecological sustainability and restricts building height to existing code specifications.
The package also includes proposals for the city to partner with the Ambev beverage company to expand the sambadrome; and the creation of a state company to coordinate preparations for the Olympic Games.
Rio’s most famous white elephant, the Hotel Nacional in São Conrado (designed by Oscar Niemeyer) is also included in the package, with provisions for additional rooms. The group from the state of Goiás which acquired it last December is considering proposals from seven hotel operators, and hopes to reopen in 2013, according to Globo. Closed for 14 years, the tall black tower worthy of a Star Wars set needs an estimated US$ 70 million and cost the Goianians about US$ 50 million to buy.
The Plano Diretor, or city plan, also goes to the city council today, eight years late (!) There has been some coordination between the mayor’s office and the council but, amazingly enough, additional negotiation is still needed and city planning secretary Sérgio Dias will spend the day at the council plenary session, with his team, to answer questions. City councilwoman Andrea Gouveia Vieira (PSDB) has followed this closely and her site has information on it: http://www.andreagouveavieira.com.br/. Andrea says the plan won’t destroy the city, but is basically a “mosaic of mediocrity”. Let’s hope planning for the Olympics doesn’t take the same tragic path.
Here’s Andrea’s take on the plan:
According to Globo, at least 40 of the 51 city councillors are running in the October election for other posts (the council isn’t up for reelection), so it’s unclear when votes on any of this will take place. There will be a public hearing on the Olympic package, as yet unscheduled.
To read in Portuguese what the pro-accountability NGO Rio Como Vamos has to say about the accomplishments to date of mayor Eduard Pães, see this Globo piece from today’s paper:
The NGO has its own site, here: http://www.riocomovamos.org.br/rcv/conteudo.php?cod=201