Tainan’s Golden Beach suffering from erosion

PLATFORM SUBSIDENCE::Despite suffering from years of erosion, officials say there is no danger to the public and that measures are under way to restore the beach

By Huang Po-lang and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 - Page 5

Golden Beach, a popular attraction in the south, is at risk because of severe coastal erosion, local authorities said.

The pace of coastal erosion at the almost 4km long beach in Greater Tainan, with the base of its viewing platform suffering severe subsidence, has set alarm bells ringing at government agencies.

Some residents are also concerned about a possible collapse of the seawall, which could put their lives in danger.

The Greater Tainan Government and the Water Resources Agency’s Sixth River Management Office said they had been making an all-out effort to address the matter, with the former in charge of the viewing platform and the latter of the seawall.

“The public can rest assured because the subsidence has only affected the viewing platform, which is located outside the seawall ... The structure of the seawall is still pretty solid,” the two agencies said.

The agencies said that they would focus more on beach replenishment in the future to restore the beauty of the celebrated spot.

Chao Jui-kuang (晁瑞光), environmental and natural sciences manager at Tainan Community University, said his research shows that the beach has lost about 20m due to erosion in the past six years.

However, the estuary of Er-ren River (二仁溪), whose lower section marks the border between Greater Kaohsiung and Greater Tainan, is facing a more alarming coastal erosion rate of more than 100m, Chao said.

Chao said that the foundations of a section of the viewing platform on the south side of the beach’s service center have suffered severe subsidence, with the platform’s southernmost side starting to crack about three years ago.

Saying that the beach is a popular attraction among Tainan residents, Greater Tainan South District administrator Liu Chi-chung (劉啟崇) said the viewing platform was built using simple construction techniques about 15 years ago by the administration of then-Tainan City mayor Shih Chih-ming (施治明) to better cater to tourists.

“A vessel-shaped service center was also erected at the time to serve as an administrative office for nearby parking lots,” Liu added.

Shortly after the two attractions were built, more tourists started flocking to the beach, especially during weekends, to watch the waves or enjoy the sunset on the viewing platform, he said.

“The beach’s success also drew scores of vendors who set up temporary stalls here,” Liu said.

However, the service center has been left idle after the city government outsourced the management of the center and the beach’s parking lots to private corporations.

The contracts were later suspended because of poor management, Liu said.