Tue, Jul 26, 2016 - Page 4 News List

Rock barrier removal irks community in Hsinchu

By Liao Hsueh-ju and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Residents of Hsinchu County’s Jhubei City (竹北) expressed anger over the county government’s demolition of several rock barriers they built four years ago to protect Public Park No. 3 (公三公園) from the waters of a nearby stream, Republican Party County Councilor Chiu Ching-ya (邱靖雅) said.

Chiu said that residents were surprised by the government’s demolition of their handiwork on Monday last week, because the “eco-keystones” were constructed using traditional engineering methods and under the supervision of a county-employed community planner in 2012.

“Following controversial land expropriations, government agencies have a responsibility to inform local residents of any permanent changes to the landscape and broadly consult public opinion before proceeding with any plans,” Chiu said.

The Hsinchu Transportation and Tourism Department said it demolished the walls because soil erosion had “eaten into the foundations” of the park’s pathway and streams.

A concrete wall is planned to replace the eco-keystone barriers, but given the community’s opposition to the project, the department is ordering the original barriers be rebuilt after contractors reinforce the foundation, the department said.

However, Dongping Borough (東平) Warden Lin Hao-feng (林顥峰) said that his constituency are angry over the destruction of their work, and that he is personally opposed to the county’s proposed alternative to replace the keystones with concrete and then plastered with rock, calling it “fake environmentalism.”

“The original [keystone barriers] was subsidized by the Construction and Planning Agency and the [Hsinchu] Transportation and Tourism Department, and all of a sudden they start shooting themselves in the foot,” he said.

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