Wed, Oct 08, 2008 - Page 8 News List


No Maokong Gondola, thanks

As a long-term resident of southern Taipei, few things filled me with more anger and frustration than the construction of the Maokong Gondola. When President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was mayor of Taipei, the eight years he spent in office were, in fact, quite benign: nothing attempted and nothing accomplished.

Aside from running around the city in really short shorts, I can’t think of anything truly remarkable that he did. A fawning media helped convince a lazy, bored electorate that Ma was an outstanding civil servant.

During the tail end of his second term as Taipei’s esteemed mayor, Ma managed to cram through Taipei City Hall the construction of the cable car system at Maokong. There was no assessment of the environmental impact or potential effect on the community and no consideration of why a cable car designed for the French Alps should be built in Taipei’s last rural oasis.

Now, on the very spot I used to go hiking, sits the terminus for the cable car. It’s an ugly, hulking, concrete block of a building. In fact, if you had never been to Maokong before, you wouldn’t realize just how visually scarred the whole mountain has become. Where there were once stunning city vistas and mountain views, not a single view has been left unobscured by steel cables and their supporting towers.

Who asked for this ridiculous amusement park ride? We residents of Wenshan district did not ask for the “Disneyfication” of our once peaceful and beautiful city retreat. Nor do we want it now. The thousands of daily visitors do nothing at all for our economy or our community except bring more noise, traffic and congestion to our roads. Sure, a handful of businessmen have made a killing. But that has done nothing to improve the average resident’s daily lot.

The erosion that has occurred under the support pillars following a succession of typhoons came as no surprise. Visit Maokong any time after strong rains and you will see rock and mud slides. The geography is very unstable and I sure don’t want to see what will happen next time an earthquake strikes this area.

It’s not too late to take it all down and give us back our mountain. Tell the greedy businessmen to take the busloads of tourists somewhere else. We don’t need them.


Taipei City

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