Developer: Nickelodeon resort in Palawan will be on land

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The developer for the controversial Nickelodeon theme park in Palawan has denied reports it plans to build an underwater park, saying its facility will be a resort built on land.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Coral World Park Undersea Resorts refuted claims it is building a theme park in Coron with Nickelodeon's parent company, Viacom International Media Networks. The group clarified it is planning a resort in the area but has no intention of building facilities underwater.

Environmentalists and netizens have expressed outrage over the supposed "underwater theme park", citing concerns about how this would harm Palawan's ecology. However, the developer said there are no plans for such a structure.

Susan Lee, Marketing & Communications Director of the Coral World Park, said "There has never been any form of communication from our side mentioning a theme park."

Lee added, "Our plans are to build a resort and attraction, of which we are designing as an undersea attraction with an ocean conservation."

This statement comes amid reports that a 400-hectare undersea-themed development in Palawan is underway. The proposal, made public by news reports and a press release issued by Viacom on Tuesday, has spurred petitions from environmental groups and citizens wary of its effects on Palawan's pristine marine ecosystem.

Coral World Park said while the company takes the petitions seriously, most of the information on the resort was misunderstood.

The company clarified that the "undersea theme park" is not really underwater, but will be land-based. All developments in the park will be on ground, and the only facility built on sea will be floating on water.

While 100 hectares have been allocated for the Nickelodeon facility, only 30 hectares will be used for the attraction itself.

The company added the resort will center on conservation tourism and, when completed, will be the largest coral reef conservation program in Asia.

It said it will secure all necessary permits from the government before it starts building the facility.