Sat, Jan 24, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Taipei, Farglory negotiations on ‘Dome’ fall apart

GIANT THRONE?Taipei City Councilors accused the firm of altering the original ‘egg’ design into a ‘toilet seat,’ saying Farglory was looking to save on costs

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Taipei City councilors Kao Chia-yu, left, and Wang Wei-chung criticize a new design for the Taipei Dome in Taipei yesterday, saying that it resembles a toilet seat cover.

Photo: Hsiao Ting-fang, Taipei Times

Contract negotiations between the Taipei City Government and Farglory Land Development Co (遠雄) over construction of the Taipei Dome broke down yesterday, with the city accusing the firm of deliberately stalling negotiations.

Sounds of shouting and table pounding emerged from the negotiation room in Taipei City Hall during the three hours of talks. City representatives finally emerged to declare negotiations had collapsed after the firm refused to reverse 39 contract revisions flagged in 2009 as questionable by the Control Yuan.

Following renewed controversy over contract terms, the city and corporation had announced an “initial consensus” on contract revision following a Wednesday night meeting between Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and Farglory chairman Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄).

Yesterday was the first follow-up meeting by the two sides’ negotiating teams.

Department of Legal Affairs Commissioner Yang Fang-ling (楊芳玲) said that the delays were a natural continuation of years of stalling tactics by Farglory to avoid changing the terms governing the Taipei Dome development project awarded to it by the city.

“Over four or five years of discussions, the city government and Farglory have agreed that some contract revisions should be made in accordance with the view of the Control Yuan, yet not one character of the contract has changed,” Yang said.

“Today, we merely hoped that Farglory would agree to put into the contract articles that have already been agreed to, but unfortunately after a lot of consideration, they still decided to stall,” she said.

Farglory Public Relations Department deputy manager Jacky Yang (楊舜欽) said that company representatives had been called to city hall yesterday without being notified what would be discussed.

They had merely requested three days to compare past meeting records provided by the city with their own to confirm the nature and content of past agreements, Yang said.

No definite date has been set for new talks, Taipei Deputy Mayor Teng Chia-chi (鄧家基) said.

In related news, revisions to the Taipei Dome’s design approved by the city on Thursday attracted criticism from Taipei City Councilors, who said the company changed the original “egg” shape into a “toilet seat” to save on costs.

“When you sent in your bid, you agreed to incorporate an aesthetic ‘egg shape,’” Taipei City Councilor Wang Wei-chung (王威中) told a press conference. “After the redesign, the ‘egg’ looks more like a toilet seat.”

The official Chinese name for the facility translates as “giant egg.”

“Farglory lacks the ability to construct the egg shape,” Taipei City Councilor Kao Chia-yu (高嘉瑜) said, adding that the facility’s contractor requested design changes after it ran into construction difficulties, pushing the design changes through the municipal urban design review committee to cut costs.

“It is difficult to reach a definite conclusion on aesthetic matters,” said Lo Wen-ming (羅文明), the Department of Land Development’s division chief responsible for urban design, adding that the new design did not violate any rules or regulations.

Lo said the city had tentatively approved the design in May last year, with final approval coming after it passed an environmental impact assessment last month.

Yang said the design was revised for aesthetic reasons rather than because of construction difficulties or to reduce costs.

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