The Taipei City Government will ask Taipei Dome contractor Farglory Group to submit a design with a maximum capacity of 59,833 people, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday.
Ko made the remark at the Taipei City Council in response to city councilors’ claim that city officials had been trying to negotiate a capacity of about 70,000 to favor Farglory.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Chien Hsu-pei (簡舒培) on May 30 revealed seven short audio clips cut from a recording of what sounded like city department heads discussing the project.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
The recording was made on Nov. 29 last year, Chien said.
City councilors yesterday asked Ko why the department heads had met, as there were no public records of a meeting held on that day.
They said the meeting went against Ko’s principle of being “open and transparent,” while some questioned whether certain city officials were lobbying for Farglory.
City councilors asked why the meeting was seemingly held by Taipei Rapid Transit Corp chairman Lee Wen-tsung (李文宗), then a consultant for the city government, and whether he had exceeded his authority in doing so.
Ko said the recording was from an internal “gathering,” not a formal meeting, and it was held because the city government is not only the reviewer of the project, but also one of its contractors.
Ko said that Lee, representing him, had gathered the officials to discuss several issues, such as maximum capacity and 57 pick-up and drop-off locations for buses, hoping to reach an internal consensus, but to no avail.
Ko denied that the officials were pressed to agree to conditions in favor of Farglory, adding that they would perform their duties according to the law.
City councilors asked why none of the nominees for a new urban design review committee specialized in computer simulations for disaster emergency sheltering, which is needed to help determine the Dome’s maximum capacity.
Ko said he would ask Farglory to submit documents based on a capacity of 59,833 people, which was approved in an environmental impact assessment review, adding that his conscience is clear that the city government has not made concessions to help the firm pass reviews easily.
Ko said the city government halted the construction project in 2015 because 79 items were not constructed according to the approved blueprint and seven public safety standards were announced the same year, which remain the same today.
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’
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,
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