Tue, Mar 11, 2014 - Page 4 News List

Groups demand alternative plans for Tamhai New Town

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Members from more than one dozen environmental protection non-governmental organizations yesterday lodged a protest outside the Environmental Protection Administration, demanding it halt land expropriation for the second phase of the Tamhai New Town (淡海新市鎮) project.

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) general assembly in July last year concluded that an EIA process was required to scrutinize what it deemed would be controversial issues under the second phase, such as possible large-scale land expropriation and damage to the environment.

A meeting to discuss the EIA’s goal and scope was held at the EPA yesterday.

However, a self-help alliance against land expropriation said that — according to an ad hoc EIA meeting held last month — alternative plans should have been discussed, but that the Construction and Planning Agency produced just two plans.

These proposals were either to stick to the original plan or else to set a zero-development plan.

However, some residents do not accept a zero-development plan, with new development banned for the past 20 years already.

The groups yesterday urged that alternative plans based on the protection of eco-agriculture, balancing urban and rural development, and excluding land expropriation, should be brought up for discussion, rather than a zero-development plan.

The groups added that the goal and scope of the project should not be decided by the developer alone, but should include the participation of related government agencies, civic groups and local residents.

However, Citizen of the Earth Taiwan president Liao Pen-chuan (廖本全) questioned how the project’s second phase can achieve its goal of providing accommodation for low-income households and indeed whether the first phase helped solve housing problems.

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