Fri, Apr 29, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Taipei Dome site survey ends in recriminations

‘BIG ROTTEN EGG’:Farglory said alleged public safety violations were ‘manufactured issues’ and that it wants the contract restored, which the city said it would not do

By Kuo An-chia and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A member of the Taipei City Council yesterday inspects the Taipei Dome.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

A survey of the Taipei Dome construction site, made jointly by the Taipei Department of Urban Development, Farglory Group and city councilors, ended in mutual recriminations yesterday, with Farglory reiterating its desire to resume building the dome and the city government again rejecting the proposal, in spite of a consensus on April 14 to dissolve the contract.

Held to investigate reports of steel erosion and purported attenuation of the dome’s foundations by “upward buoyant forces,” the survey produced separate and contradicting statements from city officials, Farglory representatives and city councilors, which were followed by heated public statements later in the day.

Taipei Department of Urban Development Commissioner Lin Jou-min (林洲民) said in his press briefing that Farglory had made the stadium complex unsafe by altering the original blueprints without seeking city approval, including the removal of 17 staircases.

The city government’s previous evaluations were sanctioned by the central government and conducted with the full participation of the Taiwan Architecture and Building Center, he said, adding that Farglory had violated the law by secretly making changes to the original design over a period of 50 months without informing regulators of those changes.

However, in its separate press briefing, Farglory general manager Tang Chia-feng (湯佳峰) categorically denied any wrongdoing, saying: “Each detail of the dome had been done in accordance with the law and the contract without a single iota of error, and the Taipei City Government’s claims are without any merit whatsoever.”

Farglory only consented to dissolve the contract to build the dome because it wishes to cooperate with the government, and its preference was and still is to restore the contract “as soon as possible,” Tang said.

He added that in Farglory’s view, the city government’s allegations of public safety violations are “manufactured issues.”

Farglory maintains that it had legally obtained permission to change the design when it applied for relicensing in 2013, Tang said.

After participating in the survey, Democratic Progressive Party City Councilor Tang Chung-yen (童仲彥) told reporters that the unfinished stadium is “a big rotten egg,” and that both the city government and Farglory were to blame.

Although Farglory has an ongoing obligation to safeguard public safety at the Taipei Dome construction area, the developer removed instruments for measuring water pressure from the site as soon as the city government announced its decision to suspend work on the dome, Tang said.

The Department of Urban Development was apparently unaware of this maneuver, because it had recently assured the public that there is nothing wrong with the site by using outdated buoyancy figures from measurements made in July last year, Tang said.

“The Taipei City Government and the Farglory Group deserve 50 strokes of the cane each,” he said.

Taipei City Government spokesman Sidney Lin (林鶴明) said it was Farglory that was “manufacturing issues,” and unless Farglory resolves its unauthorized design changes, Taipei would not consider restoring the contract.

“Farglory’s attempt to mislead public opinion is irresponsible and impractical,” Lin said.

Additional reporting by CNA

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