Tue, Nov 22, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Activists call for park on site of Kaohsiung refinery

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff Reporter

Environmental activists hold a press conference in Greater Kaohsiung on Saturday, calling on the government to turn the petroleum refinery in Greater Kaohsiung’s Houjin District into an ecological park by 2015.

Photo: Tsao Ming-cheng, Taipei Times

Environmentalists, experts and local residents gathered in Greater Kaohsiung on Saturday for the launch of an association to promote the establishment of an ecological park at the site of the Kaohsiung petroleum refinery, which would make it the first ecological park to be built on a former industrial site, if approved.

The refinery, operated by state-run refiner CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC), in the Houjing (後勁) area of Kaohsiung’s Nanzih District (楠梓), is scheduled to be relocated in 2015.

The decision was made on the basis of promises to relocate the refinery within 25 years, made by former premier Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村) as well as Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) when he was minister of economic affairs in 1990. The promises came in response to strong opposition from Houjing residents, and clashes over the Fifth Naphtha Cracker Plant between 1987 and 1990 that resulted in bloodshed.

The association urged CPC to take responsibility for cleaning up the 187 hectares of soil and groundwater pollution at the refinery site. Handing over the land to Greater Kaohsiung Government for the establishment of an ecological park would serve as compensation to Kaohsiung residents who have suffered from the pollution caused by the plant for decades, supporters said.

Association executive officer and National Kaohsiung Marine University professor Shern Jian-chuan (沈健全) said that according to environmental protection regulations, the land at the refinery site cannot be used after the plant is moved. However, he said that it might be possible to create an ecological park during the soil rectification process.

“There will be a lot of trees, wetlands and some simple facilities in the ecological park, which would best promote the recovery of the environment,” he said.

The association said the refinery park, which would be connected to Banpingshan Park (半屏山自然公園), would be the largest ecological park in Taiwan.

The association also suggested that the administrative area and CPC Hong Nan Community (宏南社區) be reconstructed as a new civic center housing the relocated council and government.

Other parts of the refinery could be preserved for educational and tourism purposes, the group said, while some control rooms could be rented to budding entrepreneurs in the creative industry sector.

Greater Kaohsiung Deputy Mayor Chen Chi-yu (陳啟昱), who attended the ceremony, said he would report the requests to the mayor.

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