The long-stalled construction project for the Taipei Dome yesterday passed Taipei City’s urban design review amid protests over the project’s possible impact on local traffic and overall environment.
The proposed site of the complex, which includes a 40,000-seat indoor stadium with surrounding shopping and residential districts, is located at the corner of Zhongxiao E and Guangfu S roads. Construction is scheduled to start in July if it passes the environmental impact assessment early next year.
The Urban Design Review Committee’s decision to approve the project was met with strong protests from a group of environmentalists and local residents who rushed into the closed-door meeting and clashed with police.
“Several hundred old trees at the historic Songshan Tobacco Factory were removed because of the project and local residents have lost a place to exercise and relax,” said Yu Yi (游藝), a member of a civic group that calls for the preservation of the factory site. “The city government is profiting enterprises by approving the project.”
Calls by protesters on the city government to reject the project and annul the build-operate-transfer contract with the Farglory Group failed to prevent the review committee from approving the project, which was originally scheduled for completion this year.
Farglory chairman Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄), who attended the committee meeting, rejected the protesters’ claim that the building would have a negative impact on the environment, adding that the complex would not pose a serious threat to the environment as it has gone through “the strictest reviews.”
Ting Yu-chun (丁育群), commissioner of the city’s Urban -Development Department and review committee chairman, said that even if the project were approved, the Farglory Group would still be required to submit a report on traffic control measures.
The group signed the contract with the city government in 2006 and plans to invest more than NT$23 billion (US$700 million) in the complex.
Since then, ongoing protests from environmentalists and local residents have stalled the review process and the group subsequently agreed to reduce the size of the complex from 590,000m2 to 555,000m2.
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said yesterday the project had followed all necessary administrative processes over the years and that the city’s review committee had approved it through a fair and transparent mechanism.