Bridge plan receives EIA approval

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Apr 25, 2013 - Page 3

An analysis report on the environmental impact of the amended construction plan for the Tamkang Bridge (淡江大橋) gained approval from an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) meeting yesterday.

Before the meeting at the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday morning, dozens of supporters led by city councilors and borough heads, as well as about a dozen opposing representatives from civic groups, gathered in front of the building to express their opinions.

Green Citizens’ Action Alliance secretary-general Tsuei Su-hsin (崔愫欣) said that although the original plan for the construction of the bridge was passed 13 years ago, the local environment has changed since then.

A new construction application should be sent to an EIA meeting as a report on the change in environmental impact of the construction would not be enough, Tsuei said.

“Most visitors go to Tamsui (淡水) for its beautiful natural scenery near the mouth of the river and the sunset on the ocean,” she said. “However, if the area is made into a special casino area or bustling business district, filled with concrete structures, the natural scenery that attracts tourists would be damaged.”

Pan Han-shen (潘翰聲) of the Green Party Taiwan said that civic groups sought to protect a Shihsanhang excavation site from being destroyed by a construction project in the area about 20 years ago and the proposed construction plan would threaten the area’s cultural heritage.

The groups also said that the sunset at Tamsui had been listed as one of the nation’s eight most beautiful natural sights, while the Shihsanhang excavation site and the Watzuwei (挖子尾) wetland reserve are both important cultural and natural heritage, and should not be damaged by the construction of the bridge.

However, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said the majority of local residents, no matter their political stance, wished to see the bridge built.

The bridge could link up various tourism resources in northern Taiwan, so locals wished that the EIA committee members could make professional suggestions on building the bridge, while reducing its environmental impact to a minimum, Wu said.

Several borough heads said traffic congestion in the area is a big problem and residents feel the new bridge could help ease the problem.

The committee asked the developer to make a few revisions, and approved the plan. The final report is to be presented to the EIA general assembly for a final decision.