Money wasted on expo sites: DPP

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Jan 05, 2013 - Page 4

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors yesterday lashed out at the Taipei City Government for spending more than NT$1.3 billion (US$440,000) to promote the Taipei International Flora Expo sites after the end of the event in 2011, urging the city government to stop trying to revive the venues via irrelevant activities such as singing contests.

The city government has turned the main venue of the six-month exposition near the Yuanshan MRT Station into Flora Expo Park, allocated a budget of about NT$500 million to establish the Exhibition Foundation for the management of expo sites and listed a four-year budget of NT$1.3 billion to keep the sites from being abandoned because Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) promised to maintain the popularity of the venues.

The foundation spent the money on various exhibitions and activities to attract visitors to the venue.

This year, the city government listed a budget of NT$5.5 million to hold a singing competition with the aim of making the park a venue for pop music activities.

DPP Taipei City Councilor Wu Su-yao (吳思瑤) said the singing competition, which is called “Flora Expo Star Boulevard,” would be a karaoke activity, which deviated from the city government’s initial plan to turn the site into an exhibition venue for art and cultural events.

“The Flora Expo Park has become a heavy burden for the city government because it is unable to maintain the venue’s popularity. Holding irrelevant activities, such a talent show or singing contest, and spending big money on these activities are not good ways to maintain the venue,” she said.

DPP Taipei City Councilor Liang Wen-jie (梁文傑) questioned the usefulness of the foundation, which delegated most of the activities to public relations agencies, and urged the city government to focus on a long-term plan for the venue.

Exhibition Foundation deputy director Chen Wen-shou (陳文鑠) yesterday said that the Flora Expo Park had attracted 3.6 million visitors last year and that the singing contest, which is to be held from March to July, is one of many activities that aim to make the park a recreational site for local residents.

The six-month expo, which ran from November 2010 to April 2011, was one of the largest international events organized by the city government.

The city government had promised to use the expo sites and exhibition halls for performances or for floral exhibitions once the event ended.