Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chi Cheng (紀政) yesterday voiced their opposition to a Taipei City Government plan to turn a soccer stadium into a backpackers hostel.
The city government plans to renovate the Zhongshan Soccer Stadium and turn the multi-purpose facility, with a capacity of 20,000 for soccer games and up to 40,000 for concerts, into an international cultural exchange center for young people.
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) made a mistake in 2010 when he decided to convert the sports venue into a pavilion exclusively for the Taipei Flora Expo, which ran from November 2010 to April 2011, said Lu, who is running in the DPP’s primary for the Taipei mayoral election next year.
No sporting event has been held at the stadium since late 2008, and the venue was designated as a permanent site for flower exhibitions after the Flora Expo.
The decision was wrong because the city has been having difficulties finding venues for cultural, religious and sports events, she said.
Chi, who is president of the Hope Foundation, said the plan to make the multi-purpose venue a youth hostel was “highly inappropriate.”
The foundation was in charge of the stadium’s management before the Flora Expo conversion.
“We urge the city to give the soccer stadium back to Taipei citizens,” said the track and field athlete-turned-politician, who won a bronze medal in the women’s 80m hurdles in the 1968 Summer Olympics.
Taipei City Councilors Chiang Chih-ming (江志銘) and Chang Mao-nan (張茂楠) said it would be ironic for Taipei, host of the 2017 University Games, to give money to other cities to build soccer stadiums while abandoning its own stadium.