Thu, May 17, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Bitan ‘grandfather’ mango tree faces axe; groups protest

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Members of several civic groups stand by an old mango tree near Bitan in New Taipei City’s Sindian District yesterday, urging the city government to stop the tree from being removed as part of an urban renewal project.

Photo: Hsieh Chia-chun, Taipei Times

A dozen people from several civic groups stood by a huge mango tree near Bitan (碧潭) in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Sindian District (新店) yesterday as they urged the city government to protect the tree from being removed in an urban renewal plan.

“Mango great-grandfather” is the nickname local residents have bestowed upon the six-story-high tree, which is believed to be at least 100 years old.

The Sindian Tree Protection Volunteers’ Team said the tree’s trunk had been badly scraped in March when the developer began tearing down city-owned houses on the plot and it is now facing the axe.

Pan Han-chiang (潘翰疆), the team’s director, said 65 percent of the land in the urban renewal project was owned by the government and only 35 percent was private land, so with the tree standing on government land, it was the government’s duty to preserve it where it stood.

Residents and the volunteers’ team, along with Green Formosa Front Association, Green Party Taiwan, the Organization of Urban Re-s, the New Taipei City Local Culture Association and a few other civic groups have initiated a petition, seeking public support for the preservation of the tree.

According to a local tree protection bylaw, trees that are older than 50 years old, have a girth of more than 3m and possess historical or local cultural meaning can be registered as a protected tree, the team members said, adding that they applied last month for the tree to be listed, but that it seemed the government favored removing the tree.

The groups urged the city to balance urban renewal with the preservation of the tree for the benefit of the neighborhood.

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