Sat, Jan 25, 2014 - Page 4 News List

No agreement on Aerotropolis; project hits wall

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of the Interior’s Construction and Planning Agency (CPA) yesterday hit a wall on the Taoyuan Aerotropolis development project as government representatives and affected residents failed to reach an agreement.

The project, which would cover an area of 6,859 hectares — of which 3,073 hectares are to be expropriated from private landowners — aims to expand the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and create a new industrial zone.

Chanting “no to the fake Aerotropolis” and “reject the heavily money-consuming project right now,” residents from Taoyuan County’s Dayuan Township (大園), who would be subject to the forced land expropriation, demonstrated outside the agency as a project review meeting took place inside.

Despite the project’s potential to affect tens of thousands of people living in the area, only a handful of residents took part in the demonstration yesterday.

“We of course would give our support to a public construction project, but it must be taken into account whether it really benefits the public, whether it’s really necessary and whether the project is urgently needed to be done,” said Cheng Su-chen (鄭素珍), a local resident and the spokeswoman for the Alliance of Taoyuan Aerotropolis Residents against Forced Eviction.

Taiwan Association for Human Rights executive secretary Wang Pao-hsuan (王寶萱) urged the CPA to refrain from approving the project, as some details about the project are still in doubt.

“The need for the land is overestimated, the potential employment population is overestimated and many academics have questioned the numbers in the industrial assessment and urban development for the project,” Wang said. “On top of this, most of the land needed for the project is still under dispute.”

She added that in such circumstances, the CPA should refrain from approving the project.

A resident proposed a compromise in which Taoyuan County Government would work on the airport expansion first and continue to negotiate with residents who are still in doubt.

However, a county government representative, who declined to give his name, rejected the proposal, saying that the entire project must be done at once.

Another potentially affected resident, Lu Wen-chung (呂文忠), said that while the government agreed to skip expropriating his family property after his father committed suicide last year in protest against the project, his home would end up in the middle of four roads.

“It’s really not a good design to have my home surrounded by four roads, as far as safety is concerned,” Lu said.

However, Civil Aeronautics Administration official Pan Chen-huo (潘陳火) declined to make any further concessions.

“We can’t make special considerations for each individual case, because if we did, we wouldn’t get round to building any projects,” he said. “I think we’ve already taken everything into consideration to draw up the plan, what more do you want us to do?”

As the two sides could not come to an agreement, the meeting was adjourned after two-and-a-half hours.

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