Mon, Nov 06, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Community longs for factory's `good old days'

SUGAR WORKSHOP Wanhua District created a demonstration area for sugarcane cutting to help revitalize a local plant

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

In celebration of efforts to revive the nation's only sugar factory in northern Taiwan, the Seventh Annual Sugar Cane Carnival was staged yesterday, as the local community urged the Taipei City Government to carry out its promise of rejuvenating the area.

The festival took place in Taipei's Wanhua District.

Special ceremony

In addition to invoking memories of the "good old days" with a model sugar workshop made by community members along with traditional activities such as sugar cane cutting, it also featured a special ceremony to invite guests and community members to write down wishes and expectations of the community and hung the cards on a "wish tree."

Attending the festival, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) lauded the community's efforts and promised that the city government would continue to assist with the renovation project even after he steps down as mayor about a month from now.

The president of the Sugar Cane Workshop Culture Association, Chen Chin-yao (陳金耀), however, complained about the city government's failure to keep its promises in revitalizing the area, while calling on Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei mayoral candidate Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), who also attended the ceremony, to assist with the renovation project if elected.

"For us, the goal of the community reconstruction has not been reached despite our efforts for the past eight years.

The Taipei City Government did not fulfill its promises ... We hope that the next mayor and his new administration will work harder to help us," he said.

During the Japanese colonial period, the district's Tali Street was the site of the nation's only sugar factory north of Taoyuan.

Shadow

But over the years, the once-busy factory has become a shadow of its former self, with empty buildings and decaying warehouses that mirror the decline of Taiwan's sugar industry, which came about as the result of stagnation in global sugar prices and the opening to sugar imports.

Ma had promised to revitalize the district, along with other old communities around the city, as part of his municipal policy.

The community is building a new sugar cane park on the factory site, which will feature historical records of the sugar cane-period and a space for the locals to mingle, perform recreational activities and also learn about the past.

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