Sun, Jan 18, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Ko to give Shezidao residents options

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Residents of the Shezidao (社子島) peninsula in Taipei’s Shilin District (士林) are to be allowed to choose whether development plans for the peninsula change, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday, hinting at the possibility of a referendum on the peninsula’s future.

“We’ll allow residents to choose — do you want the area developed as soon as possible, or do you want to wait 20 years before restrictions on construction are removed?” Ko said, in response to questions regarding controversial new development plans for the low-lying sandbar between Taipei’s Tamsui River (淡水河) and Keelung River (基隆河).

New construction on the peninsula has been banned since the 1970s due to concerns over flooding. Previous development plans called for 16 million cubic meters of earth to be shipped into the peninsula and allowed to settle over 20 years to raise the peninsula’s height.

Ko criticized the “strange development choices” of previous plans, stating that the city would have difficulty purchasing sufficient earth, while the long timeline of the plan was difficult to justify. He had also previously criticized the high cost of the project.

The mayor said that the action committee established by the city would come up with an “entirely new” plan, taking the European low-lying cities of Venice and Amsterdam as models instead of New York City’s Manhattan, as in previous plans.

City officials have previously said that under new plans, it could be possible to open the peninsula to construction within five years.

Ko said that after the new development plans are finalized, the peninsula’s 10,000 residents would be allowed to choose whether to replace current plans, either indirectly through their borough wardens or through a referendum.

Ko’s previous statements about changing the plans had previously met with an angry reaction from local residents over fears that any changes to the current plans under environmental review would further hold back the timeline for the area’s development.

Shezidao Borough (富州) Warden Lee Tzu-fu (李賜福) said that while he would likely support any plan which could hasten the peninsula’s development, he was concerned over whether the city government would follow through on its promises, adding that a series of development plans had fallen through over the last 20 years.

He said descriptions of new plan outlines remained too vague, calling on the city government to clearly explain all details before any referendum, particularly exactly how the city would handle land annexation and redistribution.

This story has been viewed 2765 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top