Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs was urged yesterday to step up efforts to preserve historical buildings amid concerns about poor maintenance of old publicly owned buildings.
In a question-and-answer session with department officials, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Wang Hsin-yi (王欣儀) said many of the old buildings listed by the city as historical buildings are in poor condition and have become hazards to public health and safety.
A Japanese-style dormitory on Hangzhou S Road, for example, has been in ruins with collapsed structures, and surrounded by mosquitoes, she said.
Others include a former residential area on Yangmingshan that housed US army personnel between the 1950s and 1970s, and several buildings along Dihua Street in the historical Dadaocheng area.
While those historical buildings were either public or privately owned, the department should take the responsibility for conducting inspections on their condition and instructing owners to improve their maintenance work, she said.
The Cultural Heritage Preservation Law (文化資產保存法) states that authorities should list budgets to preserve and maintain cultural assets.
Regulations on the preservation of city monuments and historical buildings in Taipei City also state that the city should encourage owners of historical buildings to manage or revitalize the buildings.
Wang said the cultural affairs department has only reported one case of a poorly maintained historical building — on Xinsheng S Road — to the Control Yuan for it to look into the administrative responsibility or failures of the authorities or private owners.
She urged the department to strengthen its efforts to protect the city heritage.
Department Commissioner Liu Wei-kung (劉維公) said some historical buildings have been poorly maintained, but the city will start next month to revitalize such old buildings.
The department will work with civil groups and cultural experts to assess the conditions of all of the city’s 80 or more historical buildings, and help preserve them, he said.