Wed, Feb 27, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Planned Shenao plant site to become a scenic area

By Weng Yu-huang and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A coastal road in New Taipei City’s Ruifang District is pictured in an undated handout photograph.

Photo courtesy of the New Taipei City Tourism and Travel Department

A plot of land that had been designated as the site of a planned power plant in Shenao Harbor (深澳灣) would instead be turned into a scenic area, the New Taipei City Government said on Friday.

The Cabinet on Nov. 12 last year scrapped a plan to build a coal-fired power plant on the site in Ruifang District (瑞芳) owned by Taiwan Power Co (Taipower), after years of opposition from environmentalists and former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫).

The Shenao coastline has great potential for tourism and the city hopes to obtain Taipower’s cooperation on the matter, New Taipei City Department of Tourism and Information Commissioner Chang Chi-chiang (張其強) said.

Coral reefs, wild birds and peculiar coastal rocks are some of the natural treasures in the area that could appeal to a wide range of visitors, such as divers, bird watchers and tourists, he said.

The municipality manages scenic areas in Wulai District (烏來), Bitan (碧潭), the Shihfen Waterfalls (十分瀑布) and Shueijinjiou (水金九), giving it plenty of experience in the field, he said.

Marine life off the coast has surged since the city declared the waters an ecological reserve, Chang said, adding that scientists have documented an increase in the number of coral shelves and the presence of Epimenia babai.

The Wild Bird Society of Keelung has spotted peregrine falcons, which the central government has identified as a category one protected species, and reported a confirmed perch on the Elephant Trunk Rock (象鼻岩), he said.

The Elephant Trunk Rock and Ciaojhang Rock (酋長), which is said to resemble the head of a Native American tribal chieftain, are well-known to many Taiwanese, and new, interesting scenery is constantly being discovered along the coastline, Chang said.

The department believes that the area could be opened to visitors with minimal environmental impact and development by using zero-emission transportation, such as bicycles and electric scooters, he said.

“Creating an interlinked economy would be greatly beneficial to the local economy,” he said.

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