Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday pledged to transform Shajhu Bay (沙珠灣) in New Taipei City’s Jinshan District (金山) into an incubator for professional surfers and make it an even more popular tourist spot.
When Su was running for New Taipei City mayor last year, he promised to remediate all 126km of the municipality’s shoreline, to “set the stage for its beauty to be seen by all,” in the hopes that it would encourage northern Taiwan’s approximately 10 million residents to visit the bay.
Su yesterday inspected the area accompanied by his former campaign rival, New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜).
The premier said the subject of developing the bay was brought up by Hou on Thursday at the Cabinet’s weekly meeting, so he decided to inspect the area himself.
The bay is known as one of the nation’s finest surfing paradises, and with surfing having been officially listed as a category in next year’s Tokyo Olympics, it could serve as an ideal incubator, Su said.
The nearby Jhongjiao Elementary School already has a program to cultivate young surfers, he added.
Making the area a well-known surfers’ training ground would have the double benefit of attracting tourists, which would benefit the local economy, Su said.
However, to realize the goal, the central and local governments must first solve the problem of the area’s limited space, which would involve the Forestry Bureau clearing windbreaks, the New Taipei City Government freeing up land, as well as land acquisition and expropriation, he said.
Apart from land expropriation and acquisition costs, the Cabinet would fully finance the project to transform the bay, he said.
Su said he would ask the Tourism Bureau to explore ways to make the bay a training site for surfers and the Ministry of Education to create a subsidy program for the elementary school to train surfers.
If the project is a success, it would not only make the area a highlight in New Taipei City, but also bring the municipality business and serve as an example for future projects to live up to, he said.
When asked about online comments that Hou had been “copying his policies,” Su said he did not see it that way.
“Mayor Hou has been chosen by voters, so I believe he has many things he wants to accomplish,” he said.
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