The government is clinging obstinately to archaic development plans without keeping abreast of the latest developments in ecotourism, environmentalists said yesterday, demanding a public debate on a plan recently drafted by the Council for Economic Planning and Development to build cable cars on mountains.
At the Legislative Yuan yesterday, activists handed over invitations to a debate to representatives of the council, which finished drafting the plan last month.
"The government must not only clarify the goals of its policies, but also provide opportunities for the public to discuss means of implementing the policies," Chou Ju (
Chou said that people's intimacy with nature did not have to grow on the tops of high mountains.
"Being given correct ecological knowledge, people can access Mother Nature less intrusively and enjoy its beauty in diverse places, ranging from backyards to national parks," Chou said.
The invitations came after a demonstration organized by the Anti-Cable Car Union (
The council's draft calls for cable car projects -- together projected to cost about NT$3 billion (US$91 million) -- on mountains higher than 3,000m, including Jade Mountain, Snow Mountain, Hohuan Mountain and Nanhu Mountain. They would make it easier for tourists to visit sensitive areas in three national parks. The number of visitors traveling to those parks each year is projected to rise from 5 million to 8 million. The draft has been forwarded to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, which is expected to make a final decision soon to act on it or not.
After the demonstration, council Vice Chairman Chang Ching-sen (張景森) published articles in several Chinese-language newspapers, saying that the activists "are ignorant and immature."
Chang also said that cable cars had been described by the UN Mountain Agenda as one of the most environment-friendly approaches to mountain traffic, and many countries use them.
Some activists said that Chang, a promising political star working for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), had let his power go to his head and had become too arrogant.
Chen Huei-tsyr (
"Unfortunately, we don't see solid proof supporting the safety the government claimed in the draft," Chen said.
Lee Yung-jaan (李永展), professor at Chinese Culture University's department of architecture and urban planning, said a public debate on the plan might save ecologically fragile national parks from being damaged by the establishment of a total of 114 giant pylons for four cable-car projects.
Chen Ming-chuan (
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