Protesters yesterday congregated in front of the Taipei City Government building to raise awareness of potential ecological damage due to a city government project to demolish the Fude Citizens’ Housing Complex in the city’s Xinyi District (信義) to create space for a 29-story affordable housing complex.
The empty housing complex, which is beside the Kuang Tzu Senior Citizens’ Home, was built by the city government from 1968 to 1970, and was part of Taipei’s first generation of affordable housing, with 504 units.
Protester Lin Yi-chun (林怡君) said that demolishing the Fude complex, which comprises six buildings, requires the relocation of about 300 trees interspersed among the structures.
She said that Department of Urban Development Commissioner Lin Jou-min (林洲民) should honor his promise that none of the trees would be relocated and that all of them would be preserved in their original habitat.
Another protester, Dai Yu-ming (戴又銘), said that there are a large number of empty houses in the nation — many of which are owned by rich people — and that the city government should ensure fairer distribution of land and property before it commits to building more affordable housing.
Citing records of Japanese house bat (Pipistrellus abramus) and lesser Asiatic yellow bat (Scotophilus kuhlii) sightings inside the buildings, Dai said tearing down the buildings would threaten the survival of the animals.
Department division head Lo Wen-ming (羅文明) said that the city government would compartmentalize the trees before it commences the demolition, adding that aside from a banyan protruding from the front of the building, the city government would endeavor to leave all the trees as they are.
The Bat Conservation Society of Taipei said none of the two bats mentioned by Dai are endangered, adding that the Japanese house bat is the most common bat species in Taiwan.
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