Fri, Dec 29, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Taipei mayor takes Taoyuan’s rejection of pools in stride

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said he did not expect Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) to breach a contract by refusing to accept two prefabricated swimming pools used during the Taipei Summer Universiade, but added that he is still on good terms with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

In a surprise announcement on Wednesday, Cheng told the Taoyuan City Council that the city would not accept the two pools from the Taipei City Government, given concerns over the cost and quality of reconstructing them, as well as difficulty maintaining them.

The Taoyuan City Government had asked for the pools to be moved to the city after the Universiade, which the Sports Administration approved.

During Ko’s visit to check on Taoyuan’s sports venues in late June, Cheng said: “The swimming pools are a great gift to the city.”

Asked about Cheng’s abrupt announcement, Ko said: “We have signed a contract, but now they suddenly said they don’t want it... The pools are in good condition, so I think the Sports Administration will make other arrangements to see who else might want to take over the pools.”

He said the original plan was that the Taipei City Government would “gift them to Taoyaun” and also pay the reconstruction fee.

“I’m on good terms with the DDP right now,” said Ko, an independent, when asked whether the change in plan was caused by his “awkward” relations with the party.

“We did not set any penalty for breach of contract, because we did not expect it will be breached,” he said, laughing.

Asked whether Cheng made the decision because the DPP’s New Tide faction wants to cut ties with him, Ko said: “There are too many conspiracy theories going on.”

Asked about Premier William Lai’s (賴清德) proposal on Wednesday to redefine administrative zones to balance urban and rural development, Ko said it is a serious issue that needs to be thoroughly discussed and planned.

“The design of the six special municipalities is weird and goes against the concept of regional governance, so redefining administrative zones is acceptable, as long as it is for the better,” he said.

In related news, an online news platform on Wednesday posted an article on Ko’s “top 10 verbal blunders” this year, with his comment that “former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) faked his illness” topping the list.

It was followed by his comments where he described protesters against pension reform at the Universiade opening ceremony as “those bastards” and of “local governments’ cash subsidies to elderly people as vote-buying.”

In response, Ko said: “Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between misspeaking and telling the truth.”

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