Sun, Oct 05, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Tainan councilor apologizes over ‘beheaded’ trees

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

People prepare to tie yellow ribbons on trees along what remains of the “green tunnel” in Greater Tainan’s Yujing District yesterday to protest heavy pruning of the trees last month.

Photo: CNA

Tainan Councilor Wang Chun-tan (王峻潭) on Friday apologized over excessive pruning of trees at a tourist spot in Greater Tainan, saying that he would take measures to protect the trees and ensure their survival.

Mango trees along both sides of the Wang Ming “green tunnel” in Yujing District (玉井) had their canopies completely removed on Sept. 25 after Yujing District Office head Lee Chia-lung (李佳隆) ordered that they be pruned for safety reasons.

The Tainan Government issued Lee a demerit on Friday for his handling of the operation, which sparked widespread protest among residents and environmentalists.

Wang said at a city council meeting that he visited the Wang Ming tunnel and found the district office had gone too far in trimming the trees.

“I acted as a mediator, hoping to maintain peace in the community,” Wang said.

“I hereby apologize for the discord that I might have caused,” he added.

Shortly after the “beheading” of the trees, the city councilor reportedly said that many Yujing residents had approved of the operation because wind often caused branches to fall from the trees, creating a hazard and causing accidents for motorcyclists using the road.

People who panned the move were all “manipulated by certain stakeholders,” Wang added.

“Perhaps due to poor communication and the district office’s lack of knowledge when it comes to tree pruning, the trees were over-trimmed,” Wang said.

“As a result, the barren treetops have become an offense to people’s senses,” he said.

He added that he believed the district office’s move was carried out to prevent road accidents.

Wang said the office should heed the regulations and improve its horticultural know-how to restore the old trees to their former glory as soon as possible.

A female Indonesian worker in Yujin was the first one to find out about the incident, a report said.

A Greater Tainan citizen surnamed Liu (劉), who employs the woman, said she told him about the incident while he was away.

“I asked her to take pictures of the area and on the same afternoon she rode her bike there and took photos with her tablet,” Liu said.

The pictures went viral on the Internet and were passed on to Greater Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德), who said he was transfixed by the scene.

Tainan City Councilor Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) lambasted the district office’s method for pruning the trees, calling the work “idiotic” and “unforgivable.”

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