Wed, Jun 03, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Taipei vows action on Yongchun urban renewal project

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Members of a self-help group from the Yongchun Community meet Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, left, at the Taipei City Council yesterday, where Ko promised to grant a construction license for an urban renewal project.

Photo: CNA

Taipei will issue a construction license for a controversial urban renewal project in the city’s eastern district, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday.

“It is disgrace that in a modern city, there is a place that looks like it has been hit by an air raid,” Ko said, referring to a development in Xinyi District’s (信義) Yongchun Community (永春).

The urban renewal of a former police dormitory near the intersection of Zhongxiao E Road and Songshan Road has dragged on for 14 years due to disagreement over compensation terms.

Ko promised to personally oversee a task force using the “full power” of the city government to address the case, while stopping short of saying whether the city government would be willing to forcibly demolish the site.

His remarks are in response to demands by Taipei City Councilor Hung Chien-yi (洪健益) of the Democratic Progressive Party that the city take action on the project.

Hung said that residents opposed to the project had consistently refused to participate in negotiations and had built an illegal structure on the complex’s roof.

He urged Ko to issue a construction permit for the project, personally oversee negotiations with residents and promise to forcibly demolish the site to make way for new construction if negotiations fail.

More than 30 of the complex’s residents also presented a petition to Ko at the entrance to the Taipei City Council, calling on the city to forcibly implement the renewal plans that it approved in January.

“The exact same problems we have run into will affect publicly directed urban renewal,” said Liu Te-pin (劉德玢), leader of a self-help group from Yongchun.

Only four families out of more than 100 have refused to accept the renewal plan, Liu said.

Broad plans for publicly directed urban renewal have been a central plank of Ko’s agenda.

Liu said shared ownership of the complex made it fundamentally different from a controversial case in Shilin District (士林): the Wenlin Yuan (文林苑) urban renewal project.

The city government has refrained from attempting to force demolitions for the sake of urban renewal following violent clashes over Wenlin Yuan.

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