Yilan netizens last week launched a campaign to save a 100-year-old chinaberry tree after it was discovered on Saturday that a new bike path was built over its roots.
A netizen surnamed Hsu (徐) made the discovery after photographs of the new 16km-long concrete path in Jiaosi Township (礁溪) were posted online.
Noticing that the roots of the tree had been covered by an aluminum panel, concrete and steel reinforcement bars, Hsu called on the public to telephone the path’s contractor in a bid to save the tree, which is now in blossom.
Jiaosi Mayor Lin Hsi-chung (林錫忠) said the path’s construction was flawed and called on the contractor to make improvements.
The path was built with a NT$12 million (US$394,659) subsidy allocated by the Ministry of Education’s Sports Administration to promote exercise for local residents and to boost tourism revenue.
It runs in a loop that connects Dezihkou creek (得子口), the Shih Chao Agricultural Area and Cilidan Road.
Wilderness Society Yilan Chapter secretary Wang Chun-ming (王俊明) said covering the roots with concrete would reduce the amount of water that can get through to them and affect the space in which the tree is able to grow.
A tree growing in such conditions would be unhealthy and unattractive, Wang said, adding that perforated or natural materials could be used to cover the roots instead.
Using materials that can breathe would allow the tree to thrive and prevent the risk of it dying, Wang said.
Covering the roots was an oversight and a failure to follow original plans calling for space to be given to trees, Jiaosi Tourism Development Office director Huang Wei-lun (黃偉綸) said.
Huang said he has called on workers to make improvements to the path.
Lin said he hopes improvements to the path would allow the tree to grow more freely and remain healthy.
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