Taipei agency near agreement on market plan

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Sep 13, 2018 - Page 3

The Taipei Public Works Department yesterday said that a meeting held on Monday to discuss a renovation project for the Taipei First Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market and the Taipei Fish Market has reached some conclusions, including the total floor area and floor height.

The project has been embroiled in controversy amid rumors that Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Co (TAPM) general manager Wu Yin-ning (吳音寧) has a plan that could save the city NT$1.1 billion (US$35.69 million) and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) criticism of Wu for making proposals through unofficial channels instead of communicating directly with his office.

A meeting was held at Taipei City Hall on Monday morning to discuss the project, with Wu and Taipei Fishery Marketing Corp general manager Chen Chih-fang (陳志芳) in attendance.

On Tuesday, Wu made a special report on the project to the Taipei City Council’s Finance and Public Works Committee.

The department yesterday said that the meeting on Monday concluded that the total floor area of the two markets would be 317,493m2 — 223,310m2 for the fruit and vegetable market, which was modified in July and approved by Wu, and 94,183m2 for the fish market, which was approved by Chen.

It also decided to adopt the TAPM’s suggestion in July to increase the floor height of the market’s auction site, but so as not to affect the slope of the ramp that connects the fifth floor of the building to Hua Zhong Bridge (華中橋), it decided to open up the fourth floor space, resulting in a combined height of 11m for the third and fourth floors, the department said.

Moreover, it decided to conform to the proposed design of 1,850 parking spaces, which was approved by the Taipei urban design and land use development review committee, it said.

Wu on Tuesday was asked by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Kao Chia-yu (高嘉瑜) why she did not forward the company’s suggestions at previous official meetings.

Wu said the TAPM holds a board meeting every three months and she had submitted its requirements to the Taipei Market Administration Office, but only verbally mentioned the general suggestion to Ko before.

Responding to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Wang Chih-ping’s (汪志冰) question as to why she did not pro-actively communicate the company’s suggestions to the city government, Wu said the details were continuously being modified, so it was difficult to report all the details to the mayor.

Meanwhile, KMT Taipei City Councilor candidate Yu Shu-hui (游淑慧) in a Facebook post questioned why the meeting concluded that the project would need an additional budget of NT$350 million, when DPP Taipei City Councilor Chien Hsu-pei (簡舒培) late last month claimed that Wu’s suggestion would save the city NT$1.1 billion.

Asked about the conclusion on total parking spaces, Ko yesterday said the problem is that the planned 1,850 parking spaces were based on the proposed market operation plan, so if the number were to be modified — such as reducing them to about 1,200 spaces, as suggested by the TAPM — the operational plan must also be modified.

The number of parking spaces was approved during an urban design review in January, based on the needs and traffic impact at the time, but it can still be modified as the renovation plan is going through Environmental Impact Assessment and other evaluation procedures, Taipei City Government spokesman Liu Yi-ting (劉奕霆) said.