Tue, Nov 09, 2010 - Page 3 News List

City projects must not be for political gain, Su says

By Ko Shu-ling  /  Staff Reporter

Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City mayoral candidate Su Tseng-chang inspects poorly maintained paving by a tree on Dunhua Road in downtown Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Lin Cheng-kung, Taipei Times

Democratic Progressive Party candidate for Taipei mayor Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday accused the city government of spending large sums of taxpayers’ money to develop projects that he claimed were for short-term political gain.

Inspecting a much-criticized bicycle lane and other urban development projects on Dunhua N Road and Dunhua S Road, Su said Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) showed good judgment four years ago when he proposed turning the road into Taipei’s version of Paris’ Avenue des Champs-Elysees.

However, what he saw at Victoria Park was litter, dry fountains and broken pavement tiles, Su said. The roots of large trees were sealed with concrete, lighting fixtures for advertisement never worked and the contractor was entangled in a lawsuit with the city government, he said.

The city also spent more than NT$70 million (US$2.32 million) building the bicycle lane, a project that has come under heavy criticism for mixing cyclists with motorized vehicles.

“City projects cannot be used to serve a particular person’s political interests,” he said. “It is a pity that the city spends so much money, but in the end, the safety of residents is undermined [with the result that] the bicycle lane is rarely used.”

Su said the projects were great ideas and, if handled properly, could have created a win-win scenario. In the end, however, the city government and its contractors suffered, and the ultimate victims were residents.

“To do something and do it right, you must have a well-thought-out plan and the ability to deliver. Otherwise, it’s just empty talk,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hau unveiled his green city declaration, urging world leaders to make their best efforts to increase green spaces and build sustainable cities.

Attending the closing ceremony of the Green City International Conference, Hau said in English he hoped the two-day conference and the declaration would motivate governments and municipalities around the world to build green cities.

Hau and participants at the conference called on national and international leaders to ensure that city governments provide healthy and inspiring environments for their residents.

“Investment in green cities is an investment in a healthy population and a healthy economy, with very high financial and social returns,” he said. “To find eco-friendly green solutions for social, economic, climate, financial and technical problems, we are convinced that more cities and municipal governments will benefit from green urban power by exchange of knowledge and best practices, like we did in this green city conference in Taipei.”

At a different setting in the afternoon, Hau said the city would open a Hakka theme park in Gongguan (公館).

Hau made the remarks when attending the launch of a Hakka support group at his campaign headquarters yesterday afternoon.

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