The NT$1 billion (US$34.4 million) cost of restoring barracks at a Japanese-era military airport in Pingtung County is a major funding challenge, county officials said.
Over the past 10 years, 135 of the 149 airport barracks built by the Japanese in 1920 have been placed under the Cultural Heritage Protection Act (文化資產保存法).
“It’s not only about the artistic value of Japanese architecture — this is also about Taiwan’s aviation history,” former barracks resident Yeh Ching-yuan (葉慶元) said.
Photo: Lo Sin-chen, Taipei Times
The airport was built to meet the defense needs of the Japanese government, and family barracks for the families of Imperial Japanese Army Air Service officers were built between 1927 and 1937.
The airport and barracks were taken over by the Republic of China Air Force after World War II, with the families of air force and army officers living there in the years that followed.
The county government in 2007 listed 71 buildings from the Shengli (勝利) and Chongren (崇仁) military dependents’ villages as cultural heritage sites, following demands from conservationists.
Last year, 64 additional buildings from Shengli, Chongren, Sianguang (憲光) and Desheng (得勝) villages were also added to the list by the county’s Cultural Affairs Bureau.
The 135 barracks represent the largest collection of Japanese-era living quarters in one spot anywhere in the country, Pingtung Citizen Association secretary-general Chou Jui-yu (周芮宇) said.
The act has been crucial in saving these and other historic buildings throughout the country, as it stipulates that buildings older than 50 years on public land must undergo evaluation by authorized officials, she said.
The county needs to attract more talented officials to effectively manage the properties, she said, adding that thieves had already broken into the barracks at Desheng, stealing pillars and door frames.
Work on the first 71 buildings to be listed progressed at a snail’s pace due to lack of funding, but began to pick up last year after receiving provisions from the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Project, she said.
The county plans to complete restoration work on the first 20 buildings this year at an estimated cost of NT$100 million, with the remainder expected to be finished by next year through an injection of NT$485 million from the Ministry of Culture, she said.
The bureau said it is not planning to restore all of the 64 most recently listed buildings, citing extensive damage to some of them.
Those that are to remain unrestored would be protected in their current state, which would cost the county significantly less money, the bureau said, adding that it would apply to the central government for financial assistance in protecting the buildings.
Food delivery provider Foodpanda had 564 consumer disputes from January to last month and failed to attend many mediation sessions with local governments nationwide, the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee said. In a news release earlier this month, the committee said that it investigated consumer complaints and mediations for Foodpanda and rival Uber Eats during the period, when the number of delivery orders jumped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Uber Eats had 80 consumer disputes, the committee said. Of Foodpanda’s consumer disputes, 368 resulted from delivery drivers canceling orders after customers could not be reached, 108 were related to the quality or quantity
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
‘CHINESE CAPITAL’: Fanny Liu was found guilty of reducing the rent of a tenant in exchange for a vote for a KMT Taipei city councilor candidate The Taipei District Court on Wednesday sentenced Fanny Liu (劉樂妍), a former member of the now-disbanded female pop group Fantasy 4, to 10 years in prison for vote-buying. The court found Liu — who is now based in China and has made pro-Chinese Communist Party remarks — guilty of reducing the rent on a Taipei property she owned in exchange for the tenant voting for a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate in the November 2018 nine-in-one local elections. She can appeal the ruling. Liu in December 2018 reportedly lowered the rent by NT$1,000 after the tenant said they had voted for Taipei City
Passengers arriving at Taoyuan International Airport will find that most entrances to both terminals have been sealed off as part of its COVID-19 prevention efforts. Follow the signs and directions posted on the doors to find the nearest entry point. The airport has installed infrared cameras and thermometer guns at all open entrances, and all persons with a temperature of over 37.5 degrees Celsius are prohibited from entering the terminal. In addition, staff will take the temperature of those checking in to their flights in advance at Airport MRT stations A1 and A3. In accordance with the Centers of Disease