A Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City councilor yesterday questioned the Taipei City Government over its efforts to supervise the construction of the new American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) compound and urged the city government to ensure the safety of local residents amid ongoing construction on a hillside in Neihu District (內湖).
The construction of the new AIT building has sparked concern among residents about possible landslides or other disasters caused by hillside construction. However, because the project was listed as a special building by the central government, the city government has limited authority over the construction, KMT Taipei City Councilor Lee Yen-hsiu (李彥秀) said.
“The hillside construction could affect the safety of residents living in the area, especially since the Executive Yuan exempted the project from some regulations. The city government should not endorse the construction for the central government, and for the safety of Taipei residents, we must strengthen supervision measures and ensure the safety of local residents,” she said at Taipei City Council.
The Executive Yuan listed the new AIT compound as a “special building” in 2010 in line with the Principles Governing the Ministry of the Interior’s Deliberation of Applications for Special Buildings (內政部審議特種建築物申請案處理原則), granting it preferential treatment.
The 6.5 hectare site, which will include an office building of about 14,000m2, a parking structure and support structure, is still subject to regulations in the Water and Land Preservation Act (水土保持法) and Urban Planning Act (都市計畫法).
While the city government approved the AIT’s proposals on its soil and water conservation plan and the design of the compound, Lee said the proposal was passed without strict examination.
“The city government should not endorse the construction project and neglect the safety of local residents. If the Executive Yuan dares to approve the project, we should ask the central government to shoulder the responsibility for any problems in the future,” she said.
Taipei City Geotechnical Engineering Office Director Lin Yu-i (林裕益) said the office has conducted regular on-site inspections on the compound site and that it would ensure that the construction proceeds in accordance with regulations.
The AIT has signed a contract with the central government to lease the land for 99 years for NT$339 million (US$11.56 million) and construction is scheduled to be completed this year.