Fri, Jun 21, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Talks on stalled urban project fail

FUNDAMENTAL ARGUMENT:The family who opposes the renewal project said they would continue to fight for their right to have houses built on their original site

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Deputy Mayor Chang Chin-oh speaks to reporters yesterday after negotiations on the Wenlin Yuan urban renewal project ended yesterday, having failed to arrive at an agreement.

Photo: CNA

Negotiations on the stalled Wenlin Yuan (文林苑) urban renewal project launched by the Taipei City Government in April have failed to resolve the dispute, as the family who opposed the project insist on building their houses on the original location and have refused to make concessions.

Taipei Deputy Mayor Chang Chin-oh (張金鶚), who headed the negotiating team, said seven solutions were proposed during the three-month negotiation with the Wang (王) family, representatives of the 36 other households and the construction firm, but the three parties failed to reach a consensus.

“Negotiations will not reach any conclusion if one of the parties involved refuses to budge. The city government aims to present the facts of the case and seek social consensus in handling urban renewal cases in the future,” he said yesterday while announcing the results of the negotiation at the Taipei City Hall.

As the negotiation fell through, Chang said the dispute over the project should be resolved via legal means, and the judicial procedures of the lawsuits filed by the construction firm and the Wang family against each other should be relaunched.

Construction of the apartments in Taipei’s Shilin District (士林) has been stalled since the city government demolished two apartments owned by the Wang family in March last year, sparking protests by the family and anti-urban renewal activists.

After failed efforts to help the parties find common ground on the issue, the city government launched the negotiation platform in April with the aim of facilitating the project.

The city’s negotiation team has held 11 meetings with the three parties concerned, and suggested that the construction firm offer several apartment units on the first floor for the Wang family to choose as an alternative solution, as it would be against urban renewal regulations and too time-consuming to rebuild their houses on the original site.

The 36 households and the construction firm approved the solution, but the Wang family did not approve the proposal.

Negotiation team member Tsai Chih-yang (蔡志揚), said the road in front of the original location of the Wang family’s residences is less than 3.5m wide, and it would require a change of urban renewal regulations to build their houses on the original site.

Huang Li-ling (黃麗玲), another member of the negotiation team and an architecture professor at National Taiwan University, said the Wang family expressed its willingness to make some compromises by agreeing to take part in the negotiations, indicating that the family’s change of mind was the key factor behind the failed negotiation.

Wang Yao-de (王耀德), a member of the Wang family, yesterday said the negotiation report failed to mention the city government’s violation of the Constitution by ignoring their rights of residence and forcefully tearing down their houses.

He said the family also wanted to resolve the disputes, but they would continue to fight for their right to have their houses built on the original site.

Chung Shao-yen (鍾紹彥), spokesman of the 36 households, yesterday urged the Wang family to reconsider its options and make the necessary compromises to facilitate the stalled project.

“Our only request is for the project to start, so that we can return home as soon as possible. The Wang family should work with us to find the best solution under rational and legal conditions,” he said.

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