Plans for an observation platform at a Nantou County waterfall have drawn fire from critics who say it will damage a forest and conflict with the area’s natural surroundings.
The Nantou County Government recently announced plans to build a cantilever-type observation platform at the Rueilong Waterfall (瑞龍瀑布) in Jhushan Township (竹山).
However, critics posted an open letter on Facebook to Nantou County Commissioner Lin Ming-chen (林明溱) calling for the plans to be canceled, receiving the support of more than 700 netizens.
Screengrab from Facebook
The letter, which was available from Thursday until 5pm on Friday, quoted professor Lin Ching-chuan (林靜娟) of National Cheng Kung University’s Department of Architecture as saying: “A piece of forest can be so easily destroyed with NT$28 million [US$876,232].”
The letter called for platform design submissions and to not wait until after the completion of the current plans, which specify a structure taller than the glass slipper church in Chiayi County.
Netizens commenting on the letter said they hoped to see as little change as possible to the waterfall’s natural scenery, while Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Rosalia Wu (吳思瑤) said she hopes Lin Ming-chen will not “kill the chicken to get the eggs.”
Guangrong Borough (光榮) Warden Chen Wu-chiang (陳武強) said he hopes the surrounding forest’s natural skyline will not be disrupted by an artificial structure.
However, other Jhushan residents took a different stance.
Pingding Borough (坪頂) Warden Chen Feng-chun (陳豐俊) said he hopes the platform’s design goals will not be too lofty, while Nantou County Councilor Tsai I-chu (蔡宜助) said she feels the original design just needs slight modifications to achieve better balance.
In response, Lin Ming-chen said he would change the design plans after receiving a wider range of input from the public.
He said his only intention in announcing the concept design was to get input from the public.
He assured critics that the county government would adhere to the principles of “simplicity and harmony with nature in the design of public facilities.”
Lin Ming-chen promised to take the public’s ideas back to the design consultants, saying that large-scale or unpopular designs would be removed from consideration.
The current 6 tonne, 20m-tall concept design would accommodate 100 visitors at a time.
Designers titled it ruyi (如意) — a reference to the s-shaped scepter in Buddhist folklore that symbolizes fortune and power — to coincide with the waterfall’s name, Rueilong, which means “auspicious dragon.”
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