Mon, Mar 08, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Outmoded designs hamper development


For Chen Jia-hsin (陳家欣), an engineering consultant with more than three decades of experience, scrapping outmoded designs for public constructions has enjoyed a high priority since one-and-a-half years ago, when he returned to his hometown to serve as the director of the Public Works Department of Kinmen County Government.

Last Friday, when Chen looked into a water-escape canal under construction, he found that cement had set underneath the cobbles.

"This violates the original design," Chen said to Public Construction Commission (PCC) Vice Chairman Kuo Ching-chiang (郭清江).

At another site, proposed by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to build a 1.45km bridge connecting Kinmen's main island and Lieyu (烈嶼), known as Little Kinmen, a cement breakwater was built and "wave-killing" tetrapods were placed on beaches.

Chen reported to Kuo that some 5,000 residents in Lieyu, where public infrastructures are insufficient, hope the NT$4.2 billion bridge will be built to help improve their situation.

"Are you sure all planned constructions need to be built in Kinmen?" Kuo asked.

The same question was also put to participants of a workshop held by the Kinmen County Government to promote eco-technology methods. Most of the participants were construction designers, community-based activists and teachers.

Kuo introduced the adoption of ecological engineering methods in public constructions in Taiwan and encouraged local people to preserve their precious ecology as a foundation to promote ecological tourism in Kinmen.

Chiang Bo-wei (江柏煒), an architecture expert appointed by the Kinmen County Government as chief consultant on environmental landscape management, said at the workshop that the future of Kinmen would be a cause for concern if new constructions were carried out without giving consideration to both cultural and ecological preservation.

"Ugly aluminum doors and windows are being used in ancient houses built during the Ming dynasty roughly four centuries ago," Chiang said.

Hung Chi-tung (洪啟東), associate professor of the department of urban planning and disaster management at Ming-chuan University, said that the younger generation's involvement in local public affairs would be a key way to protect Kinmen.

"When Kinmen residents ask for constructions, at least the designer should resist using construction technologies that are in bad taste. We've seen a lot of that happening in Taiwan," Hung said.

Judy Shih (施慈魂), a PCC researcher specializing in eco-technology design, said that preserving our ancestors' wisdom in the architectural sector can further ensure Kinmen's sustainability.

Kinmen is rich in biological resources because it is located at the junction of the old north zone and old tropical zone. It is also an important route for migratory birds in spring and autumn. More than 250 species of birds have been found around the island. Kinmen is an excellent choice for birdwatching.

According to local activists, however, ecological systems in Kinmen have been jeopardized by unmanageable factors and uncertain policies from outside.

Walking along the coast, Chou Chih-chiang (周志強), a teacher, said that birds might soon lose their habitats if protection areas in coastal wetlands are not established soon.

Workers were also collecting garbage spreading along the beach. Chang Shou-kang (張守剛), who helps the local government in planning environmental landscape management, said some of the garbage was from the opposite bank in Fujian.

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