Sun, May 07, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Taichung urged to stop kindergarten demolition

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

The Taichung City Government should intervene to save the Liming Kindergarten from demolition, housing rights advocates said yesterday, outlining plans for a demonstration today.

“The kindergarten could now be torn down at any time,” principal Lin Chin-lien (林金連) said, referring to the expiration last week of a demolition stay negotiated by the city government.

“The Taichung City Government could intervene to force the consolidation board to negotiate with us, otherwise it will not pay any attention,” Lin said.

The kindergarten is slated for demolition on the authority of a provisional court order obtained by the board, which represents the majority of land owners in the area to plan, coordinate and execute the land consolidation project, which is to make space for roads and development.

Demolition opponents said that the project is the largest under way nationally, with the kindergarten to make way for a road in plans made after its owners failed to raise funds to pay a NT$25 million (US$828,308) deposit.

Opponents say that the process is flawed because regulations only require a majority consent from landowners to initiate and execute projects, inviting abuse.

“It is no problem to let you have your road — just let us hold onto the buildings on the side that is not going to be used,” said Ko Shao-chen (柯劭臻), a lawyer representing the kindergarten.

Because the plot of land containing the buildings is more than what the kindergarten would be entitled to according to land consolidation regulations, demolition opponents proposed that the extra land be ceded to the government, with the entire site placed under the direction of a foundation to guarantee that it is used for educational purposes, Ko said.

Consolidation plans would doom the kindergarten by allocating it two separate pieces of peripheral property, she added.

Precedents for preserving buildings include the handling of a Catholic church in Taichung’s Nantung District (南屯) during land consolidation there, as well as the fact that private elementary and middle schools are supposed to be preserved during the process, she said, adding that the city can force the adjustment by rezoning the area.

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