A large tract of land in Tainan’s Longci District (龍崎) that was previously designated as a landfill site should instead be turned into a tourist and cultural attraction, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday, adding that she would ask the Executive Yuan to set up a cross-agency task force to handle the matter.
Tsai made the remarks in a closed-door meeting with local residents, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said.
The Executive Yuan in 2001 approved a project designating the area as a burial site for industrial waste. The project in 2003 passed an environmental impact assessment (EIA), but its area was in 2010 reduced from 75.4 hectares to 41.2 hectares.
Photo: Wu Chun-feng, Taipei Times
However, due to strong opposition from local residents, developer Ocin Environment Co only leveled part of the site and did not build any facilities, said former Nioupu Borough (牛埔) warden Chen Yung-ho (陳永和), who ran unsuccessfully for Tainan mayor as an independent in November last year.
An adamant opponent of the project since 2012, Chen garnered 117,179 votes, the third-highest among six candidates, surprising many and drawing public attention to the issue.
The site is part of a large stretch of land straddling the municipalities of Tainan and Kaohsiung, and should be protected as a world heritage site, Chen said yesterday.
“The first stage of protest has ended; promoting tourism is the next step,” he said, reiterating his demand that the Tainan City Government complete the site’s world heritage evaluation process within six months.
Given its resemblance to the surface of the moon, the area is suitable for hosting space-themed exhibitions with elements such as aliens and unidentified flying objects, as well as hot-air balloon rides, he said, adding that Tsai appeared to support his proposal.
Despite being a DPP supporter, he cannot forgive William Lai (賴清德), as he did nothing to halt the project during his terms as Tainan mayor and premier over the past eight years, Chen said.
Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che (黃偉哲) and Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) have said that they would not extend the company’s construction permit after it expires on March 10.
The Taiwan Water Resources Protection Union urged the Executive Yuan to scrap the project’s EIA and related approvals, instead of suspending them.
Additional reporting by Wu Chun-feng
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