Meeting tomorrow over Taipei market renovation plan

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Sep 09, 2018 - Page 3

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said a meeting is to be held tomorrow to discuss plans by Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing general manager Wu Yin-ning (吳音寧) to renovate the Taipei First Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market, a proposal that Ko has criticized.

Several councilors focused on the market renovation project during the Taipei City Council’s weekly question-and-answer session on Thursday last week, asking Ko to explain the project and to apologize to Wu. Ko lost his temper, even to the point of using foul language.

Debate was stirred up when Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Chien Hsu-pei (簡舒培) asked why the government rejected Wu’s proposed design for the market renovation, which could have saved the budget up to NT$1.1 billion (US$35.7 million).

Ko asked whether the councilor was insinuating that the city government is corrupt and said that the city’s consultant firms and other professionals were unlikely to come up with plans that were worse than Wu’s.

Wu said that her company’s plan incorporates suggestions from workers at the market.

On Wednesday, Ko said that Wu did not attend city council meetings and that she should communicate better with the city.

DPP Taipei mayoral candidate Pasuya Yao (姚文智) said Ko was “being arrogant and biased,” “using foul language and telling lies,” and “telling a lie together with city government officials” about the project.

“I am not a candidate, not a tool for election campaigns, and I certainly do not hope to become anyone’s political cash dispenser,” Wu wrote on Facebook on Friday last week, adding that the renovation project was a critical public infrastructure project and should incorporate good ideas, whether from within or without the municipality.

On Friday, Ko defended the department heads not being able to answer questions about the renovation in detail at that day’s council meeting, saying that it was normal for department heads not to know, but that the division heads should have known.

Ko said that Wu would be invited to a meeting tomorrow and asked to discuss the renovation plan.

He later wrote on Facebook that patience and being willing to accept device is needed in dealing with such challenges, but that he had run out of patience at the city council meeting.

Ko and other city officials would keep communication channels open and consider people’s advice so that they could improve, he added.