An “artificial beach” that was created in the southeast plaza of Taipei City Hall in 2008 has become a deserted area, a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilor said yesterday, urging the city government to abolish the facility if its popularity could not be revived.
The 400m2 beach, created by the city with a budget of NT$1.07 million (US$35,000), aimed to provide a recreational escape from the urban grind right in the heart of the city with white sand and beach chairs.
The spot attracted more than 12,000 people in 2008, but the number of visitors to the artificial beach dropped to about 3,200 in 2009 and last year. Only 756 visitors have visited the area so far this year, information from the city’s Research, Development and Evaluation Commission showed.
“The artificial beach lacks recreational facilities, which makes the spot less appealing to the public. The facility will become another deserted city project if the city government continues to ignore it,” DPP Taipei City Councilor Wu Su-yao (吳思瑤) said at the artificial beach.
The beach was proposed by former commissioner Emile Sheng (盛治仁), borrowing from examples in Germany and France where beaches were created in various locations throughout cities to provide getaways.
However, unlike the artificial beaches in those countries, Taipei’s beach lacks other facilities, such as beach volleyball courts and drink stands, which might have attracted more visitors, Wu said.
A Taipei resident surnamed Hung, who brought her seven-year-old daughter to play in the sand yesterday morning, agreed that the city government should set up more facilities to increase interest in the beach.
“The playground in Da-an Park, for example, has more facilities like swings and slides. The artificial beach here has nothing but white sand. We would come more often if the city government added more facilities,” she said.
Lin Fang-yi (林芳儀), a division chief at the city’s Management Office, acknowledged that the beach was not attracting many visitors this year, and said the office would seek to install more facilities and improve maintenance projects to revive the beach’s popularity.
Wu said the city government should consider abolishing the beach and using its maintenance budget, about NT$200,000 a year, for other more important city projects.