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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Health Center to Rise on Transvaal Site

MTThe site of the Transvaal water park disaster, where work is to soon begin on a health and entertainment center.
Work is soon to begin on transforming the remains of the Transvaal water park, where 28 people died in a 2004 roof collapse, into a health and entertainment center, the owners of the building have announced.

"We are aiming for spring," said Ivan Karabanov, the head of the legal department for Yevropeiskiye Tekhnologii i Servis, which operated the Transvaal complex and is developing the site.

He said that work would begin as soon as the final permits were received from City Hall.

Work has been underway since last spring to clear the damaged areas in preparation for construction, he said.

The planned sports and rehabilitation complex, with sports halls, swimming pools and medical facilities, will include parts of the Transvaal building that survived the roof collapse, said Karabanov.

A chapel planned to commemorate the victims of the disaster will also be built on the site, he said, with a garden covering the area where the victims died.

Last year, local authorities erected a small stone engraved with the names of those who died, and put up a cross near the building.

Apparently anticipating criticism toward the project, Karabanov was keen to emphasize that the building would be a place of healing rather than fun.

"The main aim won't be recreational but medical," he said, adding that it would be a private business albeit "working within the framework of the Moscow government."

Despite such promises, some relatives of those killed or injured in the accident are not happy that the project is going ahead. Some are still demanding compensation from the owners.

"On the part of YeTS, all this is blasphemous," said Olga Guzeyeva, a relative of one of the victims, speaking at a memorial service held to mark the second anniversary of the tragedy on Feb. 14, Noviye Izvestia reported.

"They cannot pay off the families who lost their breadwinners, but they have money for a chapel!" she said. "And furthermore, they are preparing to erect some kind of health complex. On the bones of our children. It is terrible. In our opinion this place should remain empty."

Responding to the accusations, Sergei Arsentyev, the general director of YeTS, said that his company considered itself innocent in the tragedy.

"I don't see anything blasphemous [in our plans]," he said, according to the Noviye Izvestia report.

"After all, you still ride on the metro, where many people have died."

Blame for the Transvaal water park disaster has been put on the architect of the building, Nodar Kancheli, who denies the accusation, blaming terrorism. On Feb. 6, Moscow's Cheryomushkinsky District Court returned the case against Kancheli to the prosecutor's office to work further on the investigation. A city official is also facing charges of criminal negligence.

Kancheli is also the architect of the Basmanny market's roof, which collapsed last week, killing 66 people.