Mon, Sep 07, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Environmentalists protest Bagua Mountain rezoning

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Environmental groups on Friday lodged a protest against the Changhua County Government over the rezoning of Bagua Mountain (八卦山) as a development zone, saying the move could make the whole mountain range a large gravel quarry.

Taiwan Water Conservation Union director-general Wu Li-hui (吳麗慧) said the groups reviewed the county’s proposed regional plan and found that the mountain was designated as a development zone instead of a reservation zone, despite the county government’s pledge to ban quarrying.

On June 11, Changhua County Commissioner Wei Ming-ku (魏明谷) announced a countywide quarrying ban amid growing protests against a large-scale operation on the mountain that removed 490,000m3 of rock and soil from 2011.

A total of 3.7 million cubic meters of gravel has been mined in the county since 2003, and there were 15 other mining applications submitted to the county with a requested mining capacity of 11 million cubic meters, Wei said, adding that the ban was to protect “Changhua’s sacred mountain” and ensure a sustainable environment.

The rezoning was made in accordance with the Ministry of the Interior’s National Regional Plan, which allows local governments to draw up their own development and reservation projects and formulate review committees.

Changhua Medical Alliance director Tsai Chih-hung (蔡志宏) said the county government’s proposed plan opens a backdoor for developers instead of providing legal protection by allocating the area as a resource reservation zone.

Residential and industrial complexes, golf courses, waste-soil processing plants and tourism facilities were all on the table, Tsai said.

The county government said the draft plan’s categorization of the mountain as a development zone was to designate the area as a scenic zone to promote ecotourism, rather than making it a pretext for allowing quarrying operations.

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