Taipei City and New Taipei City launched the “Tamsui River Management Committee” yesterday, with Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) promising to turn the river’s banks into a recreational destination.
Hau and Chu told a press conference in Guandu (關渡) that the two municipalities would work together to clean up the Tamsui River (淡水河) and make it as popular as the Seine in Paris and the Thames in London.
“The quality of water in the Tamsui River is the best it has been the past 30 years, but we are not satisfied. The management committee will improve the quality of the Tamsui River and the overall environment along its riverside,” Hau said
Cleaning up the river was one of Hau’s campaign promises when he ran for mayor in 2006. During last year’s special municipality mayoral elections, Hau and Chu proposed joining forces and investing NT$50 billion (US$1.5 billion) to set up a Tamsui management department.
In response to criticism that Hau and Chu have failed to live up to their campaign promise of a department, not a committee, to handle river-related issues, Chu said the committee was a short-term answer because setting up a department would require the Executive Yuan to make structural changes.
“The Executive Yuan has not had a structural reengineering in recent years, and the committee can carry out the kind of work we planned. Of course, our ultimate goal is to work with the central government to establish a department to manage the river,” Chu said.
The cleanup of the river began when President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was Taipei mayor, with the city government dredging the river and setting up a sewage system to improve the water quality.
The Tamsui River Management Committee will be headed by a deputy mayor from each municipality and will meet once every three months to discuss related issues.