Vladivostok locals get no benefit from APEC summit
This year's Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Leaders' Summit in Russia has been called the most expensive international summit in history, but residents in the host city Vladivostok aren't reaping any benefits.
Russia has invested more than $21 billion US in the two-day event, bulding a new airport, three bridges and a university campus on Russky Island, just off the coast of Vladivostok, where the meetings will take place.
But on the other side of the island, which normally has a population of about 5,000 people, locals have no access to telephones, public lighting or running water.
"Of course, we’d like some help," resident Valentina Nesterova told CBC's Jean-François Belanger. "But when we inquired about public lighting or running water, we were told it would cost too much."
One of the newly built bridges linking the island with the mainland is touted as being among the world’s tallest, with pillars as high as the Eiffel Tower, but locals will have little use for it. The majestic four-lane boulevard turns into a dead end a few hundred metres past the summit venue. It is being called a $1-billion bridge to nowhere.
"So they built a bridge," said island resident Elena Kuchnar. "It’s cool for delegates of the summit, but for us it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference."
World leaders, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, will descend on Vladivotsok for the Sept. 8-9 summit to talk about issues such as trade and food security.