Wed, May 21, 2008 - Page 4 News List

Chen Chu to pressure new Cabinet

POP CENTER The mayor said the Cabinet should solve the land controversy, otherwise the city would be forced to abort the project by the end of June

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) said yesterday she would push the Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration during its first Cabinet meeting tomorrow to immediately resolve a dispute that has hindered the city government's plans to build a landmark at two Kaohsiung Harbor piers.

Chen, a member of the Democratic Progressive Party, told reporters at city hall that she would participate in the Cabinet meeting to deliberate the land controversy surrounding the construction of a pop music center at Kaohsiung Harbor’s piers 16 and 17.

She said the land acquisition should top the priority of the new Cabinet, adding that the new administration should meet the expectations of Kaohsiung residents without delay.

Chen has expressed the city government’s eagerness to settle the location controversy as the city would be forced to abort the project should it fail to obtain the piers from the Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau by the end of next month, as requested by the Council for Cultural Affairs.

Although the location of the pop music center was agreed on in June last year, the bureau, which falls under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, has yet to hand over the land to the city government.

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 bureau and the city over the location of the music center has hindered the project.

The city government initially favored Pier 10 for the center, but it later changed the location to piers 16 and 17 in response to opposition from the bureau and other associations.

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

Chen said yesterday that the project should proceed despite the change in government.

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