Members of the Songshan Tree Protection Union yesterday rallied in front of the Red Dot Design Museum in Taipei to protest what they called the city government’s inaction over damage to historical sites during the construction of the Taipei Dome.
Poor quality work by Dome contractor Farglory Group (遠雄集團) was to blame for the damage to the museum, they said, adding that Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Ni Chung-hwa (倪崇華) should step down because of his office’s negligence.
Union convener Arthur Yo (游藝) said that since Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) took office eight months ago, the city government has had many opportunities to “right Farglory’s wrongs,” but instead it has taken the role of an “armchair quarterback” and only fined the company paltry sums for its appalling construction quality.
Photo: Yu Pei-ju, Taipei Times
Ni should be held responsible for the damage the construction work has allegedly caused the Songshan Tobacco Factory’s historical buildings, which include a slanting smokestack and a canteen whose exterior is cracked, Yo said.
Ni’s handling of the conservation of historical buildings near the construction site has be given a grade of “F” by non-governmental organizations, so Ko should order Ni resign for his administrative negligence, Yo said.
He called on the Ko administration, who has allowed the construction to continue, to stop passing the buck with Farglory every time a problem emerges. The city should terminate the Dome contract and tear the structure down, he said.
“It is true that [former Taipei mayor] Hau Ling-bin’s (郝龍斌) administration should assume the greatest responsibility [for the problems], but does that mean Ko’s administration can avoid all responsibility?” Yo said.
The city should do everything it can to keep the Red Dot Design Museum, he said.
The museum, which is on the Songshan Tobacco Factory site, opened in 2013 and is the third of its kind in the world. The first is in Essen, Germany, while the second was established in Singapore in 2005.
Museum officials on Sunday threatened to pull out of Taiwan if the city does not come up with a plan to address cracks in the building’s interior, buckling floors and leaks, which it blamed on the construction of the Dome.
The Taipei museum has asked its landlord, Taiwan Design Center, to reduce its rent and it is believed cultural department staff are to act as mediators.
Representatives from the cultural department and Farglory are scheduled to inspect the museum today to work out plans to repair the damage.
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