Sun, Aug 09, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Typhoon Soudelor: Taipei Dome debris wreaks havoc

NT$90,000 FINE ISSUED:Streets were closed after large metal panels were blown off the controversial building and the protective wall around it collapsed

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Debris scattered by the strong winds brought by Typhoon Soudelor litters the ground around the Taipei Dome construction site in Xinyi District yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The Farglory Group (遠雄集團) is to be fined and ordered to strip the Taipei Dome’s roofing after large pieces of metal paneling were blown off the structure during Typhoon Soudelor, Taipei’s Department of Urban Development announced yesterday.

Eight pieces of 1m-by-8m metal were blown off the Dome structure beginning late on Friday night. While no injuries were reported, the police blocked off the section of Zhongxiao E Road (忠孝東路) neighboring the construction site after a car was hit.

The section of Zhongxiao E Road between Keelong Road (基隆路) and Guangfu S Road (光復南路) is to remain closed to traffic until noon today.

The protective wall around the construction site and rigging on the Dome itself were also flattened and warped by typhoon winds.

Despite a city-ordered Dome construction halt, Farglory is still responsible for guaranteeing site safety under the Building Act (建築法), Department of Urban Development Commissioner Lin Jou-min (林洲民) said.

He said the city government had required Farglory to take down the paneling six weeks ago, but the firm had instead chosen to lock the roofing down, citing a lack of workers.

The city had ordered a halt to the Dome’s construction in May over safety concerns and violations of Farglory’s construction permit, with a partial resumption of construction later allowed to complete the foundations.

Lin said Farglory would be fined NT$90,000 for the safety lapse and ordered to take down the structure’s remaining exterior paneling.

He added that there was no prospect for the resumption of construction in the near future until Farglory passes another round of environmental, urban planning and building permit reviews.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said the city government had previously “hesitated strategically” over whether to require Farglory to remove the Dome’s roof paneling after ordering the construction halt.

“At the time we were considering forcing [Farglory] to dismantle [the roofing]. I hesitated because it could have appeared that we were picking on them, so in the end the decision was delayed,” he said.

He denied that the city-ordered construction halt had kept the firm from completing the Dome’s roofing prior to yesterday’s typhoon.

“Even if we hadn’t ordered them to cease construction, there was no way they could have completed the roof before the typhoon season,” he said.

According to Department Urban Development statistics, only 3 percent of the Dome’s roofing panels had been installed when construction was halted.

Meanwhile, the Trees Party, which has opposed the construction of the Taipei Dome, yesterday accused Farglory Group of having illegally installed metal fences around the construction site that threatened public safety as the storm raged on Friday night and early yesterday morning.

“The fences were installed without permission earlier in the year, so that it could block protests from those who have been defending the trees [that stood around the construction site],” a statement from the party said. “Farglory had long had its permit to remove the trees revoked, yet it still insisted on illegally installing the fences.”

The statement said the fences are now threatening lives and property and urged the company to demolish them.

Additional reporting by Loa Iok-sin

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