Taichung development neglected: warden

By Ou Su-mei and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with Staff writer

Fri, Feb 08, 2013 - Page 5

The Greater Taichung Government has not properly looked after the 10 ancient trees it moved to Tingliao Park in the city’s port area, and has also neglected to clean up the mess it caused, Tingliao Borough Warden Chung Chin-shui (鍾金水) said.

According to Chung, prior to the merger of the former Taichung County and Taichung City into a special municipality, the Taichung county government had been promoting the “Taichung Port special area new town center land consolidation project,” aiming to transform it into the largest business sector in Taichung.

Estimated at 115 hectares, with business-related areas taking up 60 hectares, the port area development was conceived in 1972, but had faced massive delays.

The county government had suggested moving all the trees in affected areas to Tingliao Park, Chung said, adding that shortly after the transplants were finished, the county government started land consolidation efforts.

“We didn’t know that workers hadn’t watered the trees, as residents’ views of the park were blocked by a wall,” Chung said, adding that it was only after work was completed and the wall torn down that residents found that the trees had died and some had fallen down.

Chung said that the death of the trees was not the most important thing, it was that the city government had allocated money for district officials to maintain the trees and sidewalks in the port area, and no one was doing so.

Chung said that the city government has continued to delay construction efforts in the port area on the grounds that it does not have sufficient funds, adding that the whole area looks like a rural location instead of the outskirts of a city.

Meanwhile, Greater Taichung Councilor Yang Tien-chung (楊典忠) said that since the merger, the original hopes that the port area would become the leading force in local development were dashed as the city government has only focused on the Taichung Gateway project, formerly known as the Shueinan Economic Area.

The municipal government should not abandon the development plans of the former county government, Yang said.

In response, Taichung Construction Bureau Park division head Lin Chun-nan (林俊男) said that the government had made the maintenance of the port area’s parks the responsibility of the district offices.

However, the administrator of Wuci District (梧棲), Chen Hsiu-ting (陳秀廷), said the city government’s subsidies will not be in place until after the Lunar New Year holiday, so the district was unable to start the process of outsourcing park management.

The district will seek to outsource the management of the parks as soon as possible, Chen added.