Fri, Jun 08, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Flora Expo site lies ‘abandoned’

FADED FLOWERS:Millions of dollars were spent to create flower walls for the international expo, but the money was wasted due to a lack of upkeep, a Taipei councilor said

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

A plane flies over the Flora Expo in Yuanshan Park yesterday.

Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

The once colorful flower walls of the Taipei International Flora Expo venue in the Yuanshan (圓山) area have been abandoned since the event ended last year, a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilor said yesterday, accusing the city government of poor maintenance of the million-dollar landscape.

Following the six-month expo that ended in April last year, the city government allocated a budget of about NT$500 million (US$16 million) to establish a foundation for the management of expo sites. However, the flower walls outside the main expo site in Yuanshan, which cost more than NT$1.5 million to build and maintain, have been left unattended, Taipei City Councilor Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華) said.

“The city government plans to turn the expo site in Yuanshan into a park, but the flower walls and the outdoor area have been abandoned for at least six months. Millions of dollars used to build the walls and landscape have been wasted,” she said.

According to Taipei City’s Department of Rapid Transit Systems, operator of the expo, it spent about N$3 million on the maintenance of the flower walls and outdoor landscape area from May to December last year. Maintenance of the area has been under the jurisdiction of the city’s Parks and Street Lights Office since the beginning of this year.

Hsu lashed out at the office for leaving the park unattended for six months after it failed to find a new contractor to maintain it, urging the city government to improve maintenance.

Yang Shu-hui (楊淑惠), a division chief at the office, said the office was in the process of putting the maintenance work out for public tender.

She said that although the office would not hold public bidding for the maintenance contract until next week, the office was conducting daily inspections and maintenance work at the site.

She said that the office did not have as much budget and manpower for the maintenance as it had during the exposition period, but added that it would replace the flowers and plants with 15 types of evergreen plants that require less maintenance.

The office would allocate NT$5.3 million for the maintenance of the area until December, and would discuss the future of the area next year, she added.

The six-month expo, which ran from November 2010 to April last year, was one of the largest international events organized by the city government. The city government had promised to use the expo sites and exhibition halls for performances or for floral exhibitions once the event ended.

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