Thu, May 23, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Activists call on government to maintain green spaces

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

A local environmental protection group from New Taipei City’s (新北市) Sinjhuang District (新莊) yesterday urged the city government to keep a promise to maintain at least 10 percent of districts’ urban centers (副都心) as green areas amid claims that the size of parks in the area was being reduced.

Accompanied by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇), an alliance for protecting Sinjhuang’s green belt ecology told a press conference at the Legislative Yuan yesterday that there were initially 10 community parks planned for the Sinjhuang urban center, but now the number of planned parks had been reduced to four.

The four parks would only account for about 5.9 percent of the total development area, the group said.

Group spokesperson Liao Hsiu-chun (廖秀春) added that the group had learned that parts of the remaining four planned parks would also be used for further “multiple purposes,” which could include the establishment of a shopping center, a movie cultural park, a library and other buildings and threaten the few remaining green belts.

In addition, she said the city government is already planning to build a police station in the Wenzidi Wetland Park (塭仔底溼地公園), and residents are worried that the project could affect the rich ecosystem in the park and reduce the size of the local green belt.

According to the Urban Planning Act (都市計畫法), parks, sports facilities, green belts, public squares and children’s playgrounds should account for at least 10 percent of the total area of a development project.

“It is intolerable that the city government did not think to allocate a place to build the police station in an area that is estimated to attract 200,000 residents in the future and is now trying to use the park for construction, ” group member Chen Chien-yi (陳健一) said.

Referring to an incident in Yonghe District (永和), where plans to construct seven parks were gradually adjusted until finally only one was built, Chen urged Sinjhuang residents to voice their concern before it was too late.

The group urged the local government not to build the police station in the park, to protect the remaining four parks by prohibiting further construction and to maintain at least 10 percent of development projects as green belt zones.

The group also called on the Ministry of the Interior to amend the Regulations of Multi-use for Public Facilities Land in Urban Planning Area to forbid the multiple uses of green belt zones.

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