Thu, May 15, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Kaohsiung music center project faces uncertain future

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Kaohsiung City's plan to build a pop music center on two piers of Kaohsiung Harbor may fail as the Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau has yet to hand over the land to the city government, months after President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) announced the facility's location.

The city government may be forced to drop the project if it fails to obtain the piers from the bureau by the end of next month as required by the Council for Cultural Affairs.

Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) yesterday urged the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, which supervises the bureau, to speed up the handover of piers 16 and 17 and called on the incoming Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) central government to support the construction plan.

The city government received NT$4 billion (US$121 million) from the council to build the center, but a dispute between local maritime industry associations, the harbor bureau and the city over the location of the music center has hindered the project.

The city government originally favored Pier 10 for the center, which it said would be another landmark for the city. The maritime groups and the harbor bureau opposed the idea.

On June 14 last year, after negotiations with the Cabinet, the ministry and the harbor bureau, the city government decided to build the center on piers 16 and 17 instead. Two days later, the president presided over a ceremony in Kaohsiung to announce the final location.

However, the maritime groups and labor unions remained opposed to the plan, saying that they did not understand why the Cabinet would give up two piers that are still in use.

Ten maritime industry associations walked out of a coordination meeting called by the council in protest last Friday.

Mayor Chen said the city government had faced many difficulties trying to erect the pop music center. She said that she would be frustrated beyond words if the project was not completed.

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