AIT dismisses remarks about construction complaints

Staff writer, with CNA

Mon, Mar 04, 2013 - Page 3

The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) has received no complaints about noise pollution and dust allegedly caused by the construction of its new office compound in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖), a spokesman said on Saturday.

Construction of the new AIT office has been proceeding in accordance with local regulations, AIT Taipei Office spokesman Mark Zimmer said in an interview.

His remarks were prompted by comments made by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Hsueh Ling (薛凌), who said earlier in the day that she had received petitions from Neihu residents about inconveniences caused by the construction.

“Neihu constituents have complained that hillside land preparation for the AIT office has caused heavy dust and noise pollution in the area,” Hsueh said.

She added that Neihu residents had also said that although the topsoil at the construction site has been covered by tarpaulin, muddy water and silt still flood the area on rainy days.

Piles of clay dug out from hillside land are also a safety hazard, Hsueh added.

“Worse yet, it seems to me that the completion date for the AIT construction project is going to be delayed further,” she added.

However, Zimmer said that the AIT’s Taipei Office, which represents US interests in Taiwan in the absence of formal diplomatic ties, has never received such complaints from local residents.

He also said that the project has been progressing as scheduled and in accordance with Taiwan’s laws and regulations.

The first phase of the AIT’s two-stage plan focuses on building a flood pool and other facilities, with the construction of office buildings planned for the second stage.

Zimmer said the US$216 million construction project is scheduled to be completed in 2015.

The office compound will use locally produced solar panels as one of the sources of its electricity supply, AIT officials said.