Taichung fines MRT contractor over tree removals, trimming

URBAN DEFORESTATION::The contractor was fined a total of NT$960,000 for removing and overtrimming trees along the line, and forbidden to remove trees

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Tue, May 14, 2013 - Page 4

The Greater Taichung government yesterday fined the construction contractor for the Greater Taichung MRT’s Green Line NT$960,000 for the inappropriate removal and trimming of nearby trees.

Earlier last week, local residents and the members of a tree-protection association noticed the MRT’s construction workers trimming the trees on the street near Nanyuan Park (南苑公園) and Shuian Temple (水安宮). Workers were cutting too much off the tree tops and roots, and residents reported it to the government.

The city government yesterday said that after an inspection by Deputy Mayor Huang Guo-rong (黃國榮) and Greater Taichung Construction Bureau Director-General Mu Kuei-hsin (沐桂新) on Wednesday, it asked the MRT office to remedy the situation, but the same actions were reported again on Sunday.

Mu said the local government fined the contractor NT$6,000 for each of the 32 trees that were over-trimmed, and also required the contractor to pay NT$774,000 compensation for eight trees that were removed in contravention of regulations governing Greater Taichung’s parks, green lands, park ways and roadside trees.

In addition, the government has also withdrawn its permission for the contractor to remove trees from the Greater Taichung MRT’s Green Line, so any further tree removals would elicit heavy fines, starting yesterday.

Greater Taichung Department of Transportation Deputy Director Wen Tai-hsin (溫代欣) said the contractor said it had removed the trees to get its work done faster, and that the department’s MRT office would conduct an internal review to reflect on its shortcomings in monitoring the construction.