Mon, Aug 20, 2012 - Page 3 News List

MND wary of buildings planned in Chihai Park

By Lo Tien-pin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter and staff writer, with CNA

Late president Chiang Ching-kuo’s residence in Chihai Cultural Park in Taipei is seen on Saturday.

Photo: Chen Ching-min, Taipei Times

All applications to build hotels in the Chihai Cultural Park area are in violation of a deal that the Taipei City Government made with the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in 2008 and would be subjected to close examination, the ministry said yesterday.

The ministry said it had ceded to the Taipei City Government the land on which the Republic of China Navy’s Dazhi Camp had stood to be used to build Chihai Cultural Park. The former residence of late president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) was to remain at the center of the park.

In 2006, the residence was declared a heritage site by the city government.

The east end of the park would be close to Navy Command Headquarters, its west end would be close to the National Security Bureau and its south end would connect to Beian Road. The park would include the Chihai residence, Chihai lake and a parking area, and would occupy roughly 39,782m2. It would be operated by ministry-approved companies for 50 years.

However, local media yesterday reported that the city government was reviewing operate-transfer (OT) and build-operate-transfer (BOT) projects for the park, with one of the two applicants requesting permission to build a hotel on park grounds.

The OT and BOT models would allow private companies to operate buildings or sites in the park for a number of years after the government builds it. After the contracted period ends, the site or building would be returned to the government.

The Taipei City Government’s Department of Finance said that both projects were acceptable because they adhered to the prerequisites that the government would not subsidize, fund or segment ownership of the land.

The department said it wanted companies to preserve the heritage sites, adding that in the future, the Chingkuo Chihai Cultural Park would include a library dedicated to the former president and would become a tourist hotspot.

To preserve the park’s landscape, a 15m height limit for buildings in the area would be imposed and no buildings would be allowed to be more than three stories high, the department said.

In response to the media reports, the ministry yesterday said that when the Taipei City Government approached it in 2008, the plans had only included the construction of a library dedicated to the former president on the park grounds.

The land was ceded to the city with the understanding that no construction on the site would impact national security, the ministry said.

The government’s BOT model includes civilian investments and a hotel on park grounds, the ministry said, adding that these plans were not included in the deal struck between the ministry and the city government.

Ministry officials said they would study all proposals very carefully.

The ministry said it would cooperate with the city government to “preserve natural heritage, benefit the public and protect national security.”

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