Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Ho Chih-wei (何志偉) yesterday accused the Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs of negligence in overseeing a construction site where the Xinbeitou (新北投) Railway Station is being reassembled using valuable cypress wood.
The wood was soaked following several days of rainfall, Ho told a news conference.
Ho said that he also received word about people trying to steal wood from the construction site in Beitou’s (北投) Qixing Park.
Photo: Courtesy of Ho Chih-wei
He criticized the contractor for its “improper handling” of a historical building and the department for not having duly carried out its duty to oversee the site.
Built in 1916, the Xinbeitou railway station was the terminal of a rail line to Beitou’s hot springs.
It was disassembled in 1989 and moved to the now-defunct Taiwan Folk Village in Changhua County to allow for the construction of the Xinbeitou MRT station.
The Taipei Cultural Heritage Review Committee this year passed a resolution to rebuild the station in the park.
Ho said that many years of public hearings were held in the wake of the project, which cost the city NT$20 million (US$631,473), but that it has not received due attention from the authorities.
Citing a National Audit Office report published last year, Ho said that 62 percent of the wood was found to have been damaged and some information was missing in a record compiled when the materials were inspected.
Leaving wood to soak in rainwater would cause it to swell and cause problems when reassembly begins, cultural preservationist Hsiao Wen-chieh (蕭文傑) said.
Project architect Lai Tze-chun (賴澤) denied that the wood had been soaked, saying it was put on an elevated platform and covered with canvas.
Department Deputy Commissioner Tien Wei (田瑋) said no materials were found to be missing.
The department will ask the contractor to perform its tasks in compliance with the contract, Tien said, adding that it will record cases of oversight on the part of the contractor and levy fines in accordance with the contract.
Footage taken by surveillance cameras showed that some people had trespassed into the site, he said, adding that the department had brought the issue to police’s attention.
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