Groups urge protection of Bitan scenic bridge

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Jul 07, 2013 - Page 3

Civic groups and local activists living near New Taipei City’s (新北市) Bitan (碧潭) scenic spot yesterday called on people to join them in protecting the 76-year-old suspension bridge in the area from being damaged by an urban renewal project.

Using a Facebook page, the Organization of Urban Re-s (OURs) urged people who supported designating the old bridge as a cultural heritage site to gather at the bridge in the afternoon and voice their demands to the city government.

At about 4pm yesterday, dozens of people gathered on the bridge and held yellow signs that read “designate [the bridge] a cultural heritage site.”

OURs member Chuang Ting-yu (莊婷宇) said the bridge was being threatened by a construction project that will erect a number of 26-story apartment buildings close to one end of the bridge.

The group said it is unreasonable that while up to 65 percent of the construction project’s land is public property, the city government did not choose to protect the suspension bridge for the public to enjoy, but rather allowed private contractors to build tall residential buildings on the land.

In addition, the group said the construction project may also affect the safety of the bridge by harming its piers, and also destroy the scenery that has attracted many visitors to the area in the past decades.

Chuang said that during a city government review meeting on June 26, the committee members voted on the issue and seven specialists had voted in support of naming the bridge a cultural heritage site, but the no conclusion was reached on that day and another meeting on the issue is scheduled for this month.

The group urged the city government to recognize that the bridge is not only the last remaining bridge featuring a unique tungsten steel ball-bearing design in the world, but also an important collective memory of many Taiwanese, and should be protected for future generations.