As disputes over restaurants and entertainment establishments in Taipei’s Shida area continues, a group of vendors yesterday accused people protesting against businesses in the area of collaborating with construction companies and seeking to expel local businesses for redevelopment.
Hanging large yellow banners in front of restaurants or on building walls that read: “Legal operation runs against phony neighbors and real persecution” and “Stop urban renewal from destroying our homes,” local vendors said protests against local businesses in the neighborhood were initiated by construction companies and local residents taking part in urban renewal projects.
“Everyone in the area knows that there have been at least four construction firms planning urban renewal projects in the neighborhood … They are forcing us to leave, so that they can proceed with the projects,” an Indian restaurant owner surnamed Lee (李) said.
Owner of local bar-restaurant Roxy Jr Cafe Ling Wei (凌威) said the Shidahood Association (師大三里里民自救會), a group formed by local residents in November last year to protest against businesses in the area, has refused to communicate with local businesses and adopted vicious measures to force shops and restaurants out of the area.
“As legal businesses in the neighborhood, we are supportive of plans to improve the living environment in the Shida area, but the group did not want any businesses here, leaving us with no option but to fight back,” he said.
While local vendors put up yellow banners to defend their legal operations, opponents of businesses in the area have continued to protest against what they called illegal operations with banners that read: “Local residents reject noise and air pollution.”
Shidahood Association chairman Jerry Liu (劉振偉) shrugged off the latest protest from local vendors and said the group did not target any specific businesses.
“All we want is a clean and quiet community with great living quality, and we did not adopt any vicious measures against local vendors. If they abided by local regulations and produced no noise or odors, the Taipei City Government would not be able to give them fines and expel them from the area,” he said.
Taipei City’s Urban Redevelopment Office yesterday said there was only one application for urban renewal in the Shida area, between Yunho Street and Shida Road, and the office has not approved the project yet, urging local residents and business owners to solve the disputes via rational discussion.
Disputes over the night market began after Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) announced in November last year that no further expansion of the market would be permitted, in response to growing complaints about trash and noise caused by vendors and visitors.