Plans to further develop the man-made Karasuma Peninsula in Kusatsu with a resort hotel failed as no takers emerged to build it. A third-sector corporation called the Biwako Lakefront Center (びわ湖レイクフロントセンター), established in 1989 by Shiga Prefecture, Kusatsu, Shiga Bank, and other companies to promote the hotel resort development, was dissolved in Aug. 2008.
The total losses was calculated in March 2009 as follows:
Shiga Prefecture: Loss of 290 million yen.
Kusatsu city: Loss of 340 million yen.
Shiga Bank: Loss of 460 million yen.
The peninsula already has the Mizunomori lotus pond (blooms in July) and Lake Biwa Museum. The rest of the land is pretty much a park.
On March 26, 2009, Omi-Hachiman’s city council passed a bill to establish the Omi-Hachiman-Azuchi Municipal Merger Deliberation Council (近江八幡市・安土町合併協議会) on April 1 to aim for a municipal merger with neighboring Azuchi town. Azuchi also passed the same bill in their town council on March 25, 2009.
They both aim to merge by March 2010. However, a citizens group in Azuchi gathered 4,000 signatures and submitted a petition to the Azuchi Town Council to require a referendum to be held to vote on the issue. Unfortunately, the bill to hold a referendum was rejected by the town council who took a vote on the issue on April 14, 2009. The town council apparently wants the merger to go through despite the residents’ opposition.
Such a merger was attempted four years ago, but a referendum in Azuchi rejected it. One problem is that Omi-Hachiman is in deep debt and no one really wants to merge with that city. Interesting that neighboring Ryuo town is not even close to merging with Omi-Hachiman even though the town is part of Omi-Hachiman’s area.