The Taipei City Government’s move to cancel a planned city museum project and replace the proposed museum with exhibition halls at the site of the Taipei International Flora Expo sites came under criticism yesterday as a Taipei City councilor challenged the city over its budgeting of NT$100 million (US$3.4 million) for the project next year.
The establishment of “Taipei City Museum” was a campaign promise of Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) aimed at promoting cultural development.
Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs had budgeted more than NT$30 million for the project from 2006 to 2010, with a plan to build the museum next to the Yuanshan (圓山) football stadium, but the project was stalled over the hosting of the flora expo in the area in 2010.
The city government opted not to build the museum last year upon the conclusion of the expo.
Instead, it plans to replace the planned museum with the EcoArk, a pavilion made from plastic bottles and sponsored by the Far Eastern Group after the company announced it would donate the pavilion to the city government.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Chen Yu-mei (陳玉梅) yesterday said the department has decided to turn the expo site in the Yuanshan area into a “city museum park” to replace the city museum project and budgeted more than NT$100 million for the new project — a move which will cause overlapping budgets and operational problems at the pavilion as the site is now under the management of the Department of Economic Development.
“To prevent the museum project from falling apart, Mayor Hau is fooling Taipei residents by replacing the museum project with the cultural hub plan. It’s ridiculous to use expo pavilions as a city museum, and it’s unimaginable that the city plans to spend more money on the plan,” Chen said.
Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Liu Wei-gong (劉維公) said the city museum park project aimed to use the 12 existing pavilions at the expo site for cultural and historical exhibitions as well as activities to promote city culture.
He said the new project will save about NT$1.6 billion that was budgeted to build a museum, and the use of existing pavilions will help extend the lives of the buildings.
The budget listed for next year, he said, will be used on infrastructure and facilities maintenance, as well as promotional events, dismissing concerns about any overlap of budgets.