The city government unveiled this week yet another ambitious project – a concept design for a huge convention complex that will look like a giant sea turtle if seen from a considerable distance. Among others, it shall possess an array of modern amenities including a 250-room 5-star hotel and fancy attractions.

Named as the Pawikan International Convention Center Arena-Resort Complex (PICCA-RC) it is envisioned to be built in the city’s property in Barangay Sta. Lucia. Among its features is an arena that can accommodate around 25,000-30,000 individuals.

The city official who described the project to employees during a flag raising ceremony explained that its goal is to fulfill a demand for a large convention facility that the city presently does not have and thus help boost its tourism.

The presentation of the project focused almost exclusively on the physical appearance of the finished structure, utilizing descriptives such as “gigantic” and “ultra-iconic”. When reporters requested for more substantial details of the project, there were no ready answers yet, stating that the project is still on the concept phase.

The city officials said they are still in the planning stage and that they haven’t discussed yet how the planned project also conforms with officially formulated development goals.

They have already decided, however, that the city government will not allocate its resources for the project and that it will be built by a foreign company. A firm identified as Langenburg Technologies apparently has committed to finance the project, even as there are no details available yet on its terms of engagement with the city government.

The appointed designer for the project was the same person who was engaged by city hall to draw the design of a huge tower that city mayor Lucilo Bayron also envisions to erect — the so-called Princesa Tower that will rival the famous landmarks of the world on this category.

The growing number of fancy plans on city hall’s plate, which it has lumped together into so-called “flagship projects”, amazes anyone on the limitless boundaries of the city’s development planning vision and sense of priorities.

A high rise tower that puts the Burj Khalifa to shame and a sprawling convention resort with a combined price tag in billions of dollars are, unfortunately, will remain half baked ideas unless they are matched with rational planning and realistic goal-setting.

Rather than being simple dreamy-eyed, we would also like to see the city’s flagship projects tackle ideas that are much closer to home – say upgrading the road networks to world-class standards, or finding better ways to improve the power situation in the city so that blackouts will no longer be the norm.

It should be equally challenging for our dreamers at City Hall to develop real and lasting solutions to the growing traffic problem in the city, set policies that will boost the business climate so that there will be more jobs available for the jobless.

There’s nothing bad about dreaming, but it helps to have both feet firmly planted on the ground.