Thu, Sep 24, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Residents say gym damaging homes

FRACTURED RELATIONS:Residents and gym owners are in conflict over an integrated building as conflicting engineer reports called building integrity into question

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Tenants of a building integrated with the Gongguang MRT Station in Taipei yesterday accused the Taipei City Government of violating legal procedures by allowing a fitness center to start operations in the building, saying that the gym’s facilities had damaged their homes.

Members of the building’s management committee said the gym has two spa pools containing about 20 tonnes of water, a water tank containing about 30 tonnes and three heating cauldrons on the fifth floor, which they said undermine the structure of the building.

Three levels below ground, long cracks can be seen on a staircase wall with paint peeling exposing the concrete, while the stairs have a downward slant.

The semi-commercial building which was completed during former Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin’s (郝龍斌) term has more than 200 residential units.

A woman living in the building surnamed Tu (涂) accused the gym of illegally carrying out construction and starting a business in October last year, as the business had not acquired a permit from the Construction Management Office.

Late last year the former administration fined the outfit a total of NT$60,000 for building violations, Tu said, but Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) administration earlier this year allowed the gym to operate, issuing a permit for land use change and approving the construction.

A document issued by construction engineers commissioned by the Taipei City Government said that the construction of the gym facilities had not affected building structure were in conflict with calculations by former construction engineer Wang Wei-min (王偉民), Tu said.

Tenant Patricia Nguyen said that the “underlying issues” are unresolved since negotiations between tenants, the gym and the Taipei Department of Rapid Transit Systems, which oversees the building, began last year.

She said that there could be a potential exchange of benefits between the agency and the gym.

Department section head Lin Wan-jung (林萬融) said the agency would inspect the facilities again to make sure that the weight is within safety values and asked tenants to examine the results and hire qualified engineers to conduct independent tests.

Lin said that the agencies that issued the permits had not committed any infractions.

Taipei City Councilor Tung Chung-yen (童仲彥) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and department engineers were denied entry by gym management yesterday.

Tung said he would ask the mayor to inspect the building and to propose solutions to any problems.

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