Fri, Jul 18, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Political hopeful opposes freeway

CONCERNS The Green Party's commissioner candidate says building the freeway will harm the environment and also the county's short water supply


The Green Party candidate for the Hualien commissioner by-election, Chi Shu-ing (齊淑英), voiced strong opposition to the proposed Suao-Hualien Freeway, saying the freeway would further damage the local environment, destroy the natural scenery in the area and accelerate the decrease of water resources.

"Since the freeway passes through the Nanao and Hoping areas and is planned to run through tunnels, the mountains will be bombed and the explosions would hurt the mountain structure and kill off the forests, and may also cause more mudflows in Hualien," Chi said.

Chi questioned the necessity for the extra freeway by pointing out that now there were already six outbound railways and freeways, one airport and two seaports in Hualien. The extra freeway would not necessarily stimulate the economy in the area, but it would certainly bring disastrous results to the local environment, Chi said.

"More underground water will also be drawn to supply the great quantity of cement demanded by construction of the freeway. This would worsen the problem of land-subsidence and the lack of water."

The millions of dollars invested in the freeway construction would also take up the budget for other constructions in Hualien.

The construction contract opens for bidding in October, the bid ends in November and construction would start in December.

Yesterday Chi and her party were also protesting against Eastern TV's decision to not invite her and another candidate to the televised debate for the commissioner by-election tomorrow.

Only KMT-PFP alliance candidate Hsieh Shen-shan (謝深山), renegade KMT candidate Wu Kuo-tung (吳國棟) and DPP candidate You Ying-lung (游盈隆) have been invited to the debate.

The Awakening Foundation (婦女新知), which was also showing support for Chi yesterday, said it had been supporting women entering the political field for a long time.

"If women are not allowed in the political field, then it would affect the government's women's policies and the resources for women. The television media's action in preventing women from participating in politics is harmful to women. We hope that the female candidate will get invited to the debate," said Wu Wei-ting (伍維婷), the foundation's CEO.

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