Thu, Mar 31, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Taipei Dome vote stalls

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

The environmental impact assessment process for the Taipei Dome construction project was delayed again yesterday after the city’s Environmental Impact Assessment Review Committee decided to postpone the vote because of insufficient information from the contractor.

The committee has postponed the final voting on the assessment four times since 2007. During the fifth meeting yesterday at Taipei City Hall, many committee members voiced concern about the necessity of building a 40,000-seat stadium in downtown Taipei and its possible impact on local traffic.

“We already have Taipei Arena in downtown and rather than sports events, it is mostly used as a venue for concerts. Given that the market size of sports in Taiwan is just not large enough, do we need a bigger sports facility in the city?” committee member Huang Jun-hung (黃俊鴻), a civil engineering professor at National Central University, said during the meeting.

Committee member Kuo Su-chiu (郭素秋) challenged what she called a disproportion between sports and business facilities.

In addition to the indoor stadium, the complex would also include a surrounding shopping and residential area, a movie theater and a hotel. The floor area of the shopping area would account for 70 percent of the complex.

Amid concerns about the dome from committee members, the committee chair, Taipei City’s Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Wu Sheng-chung (吳聖忠), declined to put the project to vote and said the department would ask the contractor, Farglory Group, to offer more information on the project before gathering the committee again to complete the review process.

The decision angered environmental activists who had been waiting outside for the result.

Taiwan Green Party spokesman Pan Han-shen (潘翰聲) accused the city government of favoring the contractor and refusing to put an end to a policy mistake.

He said the size of the Taipei Dome in the revised plan only shrank by 3 percent compared with the original plan and that the city should not consider a revised plan that made little difference to the negative impacts.

Janus Lee (李柏熹), manager of Farglory’s operation administration department, said the company was disappointed at the long-delayed process, but will provide more information in accordance with the committee’s request.

“We have made all the revisions upon request and done a lot of explaining over the years. I don’t think there’s much we can revise in the project,” he said.

The group signed the contract with the city 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.

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