The local economy of Yilan County’s Dongshan Township (冬山) could be revitalized and more tourists brought in if owners of old, vacant houses could be persuaded to rent out their homes for public use, the township office said.
The township office has counted more than 10 houses in the township that are empty and at least 50 years old, Dongshan Township Mayor Hsieh Tsan-hui (謝燦輝) said.
The owners are living overseas or have relocated to other cities and townships, Hsieh said, adding that the office has been considering the possibility of renting the houses.
Photo: Chang Yi-chen, Taipei Times
The township would then invite artists to set up studios in the rented houses or install cultural or creative workshops to attract more tourists, Hsieh said, adding that an increased flow of tourists could also breathe life into the township’s economy.
Most of the buildings are along the township’s Jhongjheng Road and their heights vary from one to three stories tall, Hsieh said, adding that all of the houses retain the stucco exteriors prevalent in the period when they were constructed.
The township office understands that artists setting up workshops in the houses might face considerable difficulties at the beginning and the office is willing to offer a NT$5,000 monthly subsidy to each initial workshop or person willing to rent one of the houses, Hsieh said.
The township office would prioritize attracting chain stores or established brand names to move in first and look for uniquely creative stores local, Hsieh said.
The initiative could not only help repurpose aging homes that have stood vacant and unused — with the added bonus of having renters to take care of the buildings — but would also provide spaces to cultural and creative renters that are less well-off, Hsieh said.
If such an initiative were a success, it would help establish a local economy and support real-estate prices, he added.
The township holds great developmental potential as Dongshan has already seen a steady influx of visitors from the annual Yilan Green Expo in April and May, Hsieh said, adding that the office hopes to attract its first cultural and creative workshops before March next year.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday tweeted a welcome to Somaliland’s first representative to Taiwan, Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, who arrived on Friday. Mohamoud had “braved Chinese pressure” to take up his new post, Wu wrote. “The fact ‘sovereignty & friendship aren’t for sale’ deserves international recognition,” referring to a Somaliland media report earlier this month that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi had rejected an offer by the Chinese government in exchange for ending its rapprochement with Taiwan. Wu also thanked the US National Security Council (NSC) for praising Taiwan-Somaliland ties. A council tweet on July 10 praised Taiwan
The Taipei City Government yesterday said that construction on the long-suspended Taipei Dome can resume immediately, after it approved a request by the project’s main contractor, Farglory Group. In a statement, the Taipei Construction Management Office said that after it on July 16 issued a new building permit, Farglory submitted revised design plans and an application to resume construction, which the office approved on Friday. Construction had been suspended on the dome, near the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Xinyi District (信義), for more than five years due to disagreements between the city and the company over the safety of some of