Tue, Jul 26, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Taoyuan Aerotropolis expropriations should be halted ahead of review, advocates say

AEROTROPOLIS ANGST:Advocates accused the Taoyuan City Government of exaggerating levels of support from residents in a bid to win approval for land expropriations

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Land expropriation for the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project’s peripheral areas should be put on hold until an environmental review of the core area is passed, advocates said yesterday, while blasting a government-sponsored survey of residents affected by the project for asking misleading questions.

“The idea behind the aerotropolis is that construction [of a third runway for the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport] will bring in more travelers, which will create jobs and lead to demand for new housing and the formation of new business districts,” Taoyuan Aerotropolis Anti-Eviction Alliance spokesman Tien Chi-feng (田奇?) said. “The ‘egg white’ [peripheral areas] land development portion of the project depends on the ‘yolk’ [core area consisting] of a new runway and free-trade district.”

The Environmental Protection Administration’s Environmental Impact Assessment Committee last month moved to conduct a review of construction of a new major highway that is to service the aerotropolis, raising the prospect of further delays.

The Taoyuan City Government is in the process of applying to the Ministry of the Interior for permission to begin land expropriation for the “egg white” portion of the project, which has drawn criticism from advocates, who said it is unnecessary and would compromise residents’ interests.

Advocates staged a protest outside Taoyuan City Hall yesterday, criticizing a city survey for asking leading questions.

They accused the city of inflating levels of support from residents in a bid to win land expropriation approval.

Tien said the survey asked residents a series of questions about whether they “knew” that residents would be eligible for land, building and resettlement compensation under city plans, before asking them whether they supported the land expropriation.

“While city plans do include these forms of compensation, what the survey does not say is that not everyone will be eligible — for example, many people’s homes are not legal and would be excluded, while small landowners’ plots would shrink under current land redistribution plans,” he said, adding that residents would be required to pay if they choose to settle in the newly built apartments.

“You might think you would be able to resettle, only to find out later that your home is illegal, or that you will not have enough money to build a new home,” he said.

He urged the city government to inform individual residents whether they would qualify for resettlement before having the project plan approved.

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