Tue, Nov 11, 2014 - Page 4 News List

Volunteer union moves to protect trees around Taipei

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Taipei’s Department of Culture yesterday moved to protect trees around the Taipei Dome as it held deliberations on designating the area around the National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall a protected cultural asset.

Expansion plans for roads bordering the Taipei Dome construction site have been controversial.

Environmental activists from the Songshan Tree Protection Volunteer Union have camped on the site since April to prevent surrounding trees from being uprooted.

Most of the site’s remaining trees are on Zhongxiao E Road next to the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, leading to volunteer union efforts to have the hall and its surroundings designated a protected cultural area to keep the trees from being removed.

“The National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall was designed by the famous architect Wang Da-hung (王大閎), many of whose buildings have already been designated as protected cultural artifacts by Taipei City,” volunteer union policy group director Yu Yi (游藝) said, adding that the area around the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall has already been accorded protection.

During the deliberations, a volunteer union representative emphasized that the trees were a deliberate part of the memorial hall sites design, with each kind of tree holding a different symbolical value according to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) ideology at the time.

In response, representatives of the National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall said they had found no documentary evidence of the trees’ deliberate inclusion in the site’s design, and declined to take a position on whether the trees should be protected as part of site preservation plans.

When asked about the conclusion of yesterday’s deliberations, Department of Culture Commissioner Liu Wei-kung (劉維公) said the city’s Cultural Relics Commission has yet to arrive at a consensus over the site’s protection due to controversy over what should be protected, particularly due to concerns over possible influence on traffic.

Liu said a final decision is scheduled to be announced on Friday next week.

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