Taipei agrees to save park from building plan

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Jan 30, 2013 - Page 3

The Taipei City Government yesterday promised to keep a park and ecosystem in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Linkou District (林口) untouched in building the athletes’ village for the 2017 Summer Universiade, as a group of residents expressed concern that the construction would impact the local environment.

The residents, who staged a protest in front of Taipei City Hall yesterday, opposed the building of dormitories for athletes on the land where the Linkou Sports Park stands, as well as a forest trail on the other side of the road with more than 1,200 trees. They called on the government to maintain the integrity of Linkou’s ecosystem.

“Government officials did not discuss the [construction] plans with local residents and ignored the impact the dormitories would have on the local environment. We are the ones who have to bear the consequences of the damage to Linkou’s environment caused by the sports event,” said Hsu Chu-feng (許主峰), a Linkou resident and chairman of the Love for Our Hometown Association.

Taipei Deputy Mayor Chen Wei-jen (陳威仁) said residents should not be concerned because the city government had decided to keep the park and forest trail, and to build the athletes’ village on land that is near a residential area.

“The athletes’ village will be built on land that has been reserved for public housing, and the dormitories will become housing units for local residents after the event ... We will continue communicating with local residents on the issue,” he said.

The city government yesterday launched the Summer Universiade organizing committee, with Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and local government chiefs in New Taipei City, Keelung, Taoyuan County, Hsinchu City and Hsinchu County all serving as committee members.

Presiding over the launch ceremony at Taipei City Hall, Hau said the Summer Universiade will be the largest sporting event ever hosted in Taiwan, and more than 12,000 athletes from 160 nations will gather in Taipei in 2017 to participate in the event.

Taipei will work with the five other cities and counties to hold 17 major competitions in 64 existing facilities.

Keelung Mayor Chang Tung-jung (張通榮) and Hsinchu County Deputy Commissioner Chang Jen-hsiang (章仁香) said they hoped to host more competitions to boost the popularity of the city and county.

Taipei Deputy Mayor Timothy Ting (丁庭宇) said the city had decided that soccer games would be held in Keelung and the swimming competition would be held in Hsinchu City.

The organizing committee will continue to discuss with cooperating cities and counties to determine the venues for various competitions.

Of the 17 competitions, Taipei has taken advantage of its position as the host city to pick games where Taiwan has the best chances of winning a gold medal: baseball, badminton and archery.

The 2017 Summer Universiade will be held from Aug. 19 through Aug. 30.