Wed, Jun 04, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Taipei Dome bidding process ‘flawed,’ activists say

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Environmental activists protest in front of Taipei City Hall yesterday against tree removal and other issues pertaining to the Taipei Dome construction project.

Photo: Kuo An-chia, Taipei Times

With Farglory Land Development Co (遠雄建設) embroiled in bribery allegations related to a public housing development in Taoyuan County, a group of environmental activists yesterday accused the company of being involved in illegal acts in relation to the Taipei Dome project.

Having patrolled the Taipei Dome construction site for more than 40 days, members of the Taiwan Green Power Union — a group of activists and volunteers dedicated to protecting the trees in streets by the site from being relocated — protested in front of Taipei City Hall yesterday morning ahead of a project coordination meeting.

Songshan Tobacco Factory Park Union director Yu Yi (游藝) said his organization had discovered several flaws in the process by which Farglory won the bid for the project, leading them to suspect the build-operate-transfer (BOT) project was handed to Farglory as the result of bid-rigging.

“Renting the 10.02 hectares of land to Farglory for 50 years without charging any royalty fee means that this land, which belongs to Taipei residents, has been given to Farglory, but city residents stand to gain no profit at all,” Yu said.

He said the land is worth hundreds of billions of New Taiwan dollars, but it is being rented to the company for only 1 percent of its current value.

Several members of the Taipei City Government were treated to banquets by the company during the evaluation and selection process, Yu said, adding that while the city government’s department of ethics investigated the banquets, then-Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) allowed the company to win the bid and current Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) issued a construction permit to the company.

Yu said the group would file data which might be evidence of bid-rigging with the Agency Against Corruption in a few days.

The protesters shouted slogans such as “government-business collusion” and “illegally cutting down trees,” and “everyone against the black-hearted dome,” before insisting that “not even one tree should be removed.”

The city government originally banned the activists and reporters from attending the meeting, but later allowed the media to attend after a protest lodged by the activists and the press.

However, with the city government unwilling to accept the activists’ road construction plans — with all the trees preserved in their current locations — a few members of the group of activists left the meeting as an act of protest.

Taipei Deputy Mayor Chang Chin-oh (張金鶚), convener of the meeting, said that transportation specialists would be called in to discuss whether alternative street plans that would not affect the street trees could be designed, adding that no trees on Guangfu S Road would be relocated before then.

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