Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) recently instructed officials to prioritize a land reclamation project along the southwest shoreline of Kaohsiung City to counter a shortage of harbor space, the Cabinet said yesterday.
Plans to stimulate the project would involve using the massive amounts of gravel and soil washed downstream by floods and mudslides caused by Typhoon Morakot.
The premier on Oct. 1 instructed the Council for Economic Planning and Development and the Ministry of Transportation and Communication to work with the Kaohsiung City Government to push the plan.
He also raised the subject with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Monday, Wu’s office said.
The project, known as the South Star Plan, aims to eventually reclaim a total of 250 hectares of land outside the Talinpu (大林蒲) Community adjacent to Kaohsiung Harbor.
Tang Kuo-hsien (唐國顯), the director of Wu’s office, said that further support the project would help promote the development of Kaohsiung City and facilitate the clearance of large amounts of gravel and soil deposited in river beds in Kaohsiung County and Pingtung County.
“Back when Premier Wu was mayor of Kaohsiung, he was not fully supported by the central government over its enormous funding. The funding won’t be such a big problem now because we won’t have to worry about buying gravel,” Tang said.
Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊), who also suggested Wu resume plans to support the project earlier this month, asking the Executive Yuan to appropriate NT$13.2 billion (US$408 million) to expand the project.
The project began in 1980. The Kaohsiung City Government proposed it as a way to control coastal erosion and simultaneously find an environmentally friendly way to dispose of construction waste. Non-hazardous industrial waste was also included in later years.
The project was suspended several times because of a lack of funding.
The Kaohsiung City Government said that about 170 hectares had been reclaimed and it hoped to reach the target of expanding the stretch to 250 hectares by 2011.
Various proposals regarding the use of the land reclaimed from the sea have been discussed, including a recreation zone for yachts, a new location for a CPC Corp’s Dalin (大林) oil refinery and an idea proposed by Wu to build a harbor to provide sea and air transportation services.
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