Sat, May 21, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Biotech park closer to approval

WORK TO DO:Experts set out 10 conditions for Academia Sinica to meet before they can fully approve the project, including gaining green building credentials

Staff Writer, with CNA

The government yesterday “conditionally approved” an initial environmental assessment for a proposed national biotechnology research park near a Taipei wetland, despite criticism from environmentalists.

The project will be re--evaluated for final approval at another environmental assessment meeting, possibly next month at the earliest.

Yesterday was the third -meeting held by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to review the project and environmental experts gave the project’s developer, Academia Sinica, 10 conditions to meet before they could fully approve the park.

The conditions included maintaining the ecosystem in the wetlands area, forming a committee to supervise the protection of the wetland, as well as obtaining green building credentials.

The proposed park would be located at the 202 Arsenal, an abandoned military facility in Taipei’s Nangang District (南港).

Academia Sinica president Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠) said the nation’s top academic research body would factor in these conditions and produce a more detailed report on how to meet them.

Wong acknowledged that his organization has learned a lot from activists who were advocating for the preservation of the wetlands.

Wong expressed optimism that the project could receive final approval by June 10 and that it would be built by 2017.

Despite Academia Sinica’s assurances that it would protect the wetlands, environmental groups are doubtful, saying that once the ecosystem is damaged, projects to save it would be of no use.

“Let’s give these wetlands a break,” Chang Hsiao-feng (張曉風), a local writer who strongly opposes the project, said at the meeting yestersday. “It would be very easy to find another -location for the biotech park. Let this -ecosystem stay intact.”

The area has been previously described by Chang as “Taipei’s last plot of green land,” for which she has knelt in front of television cameras and begged for the preservation of the wetlands.

Liao Pen-chuan (廖本全), a professor in National Taipei University’s Department of Real Estate and Built Environment, said the park should not be built in Taipei because the capital is overcrowded.

He said Academia Sinica should set a good example and move the project to another area.

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