Dozens of members of a street vendors’ self-help group yesterday protested in front of Taipei City Hall, saying the city’s public works projects have already stopped them from earning a living for more than seven months, with no end in sight.
The vendors used to operate along Lane 45, Minsheng W Road, surrounding a traditional market near Shuanglian MRT Station (捷運雙連站) in Taipei’s Datong District (大同區).
The group said that the city government last year asked them to move away due to the erection of temporary fencing for a park renovation project, but said they would be able to resume their business once the project is completed.
Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) had visited the stalls last year and promised them they would be able to return after the project is finished, head of the self-help group Lin Yen-ling (林彥伶) said.
However, 170 days have passed and the project is almost completed, but they were told that it is to be followed by another project to replace the area’s drain covers, Lin said.
The group’s livelihood has already been suspended for more than seven months and many cannot go on without resuming operations, she added.
The group is not protesting against the public works projects, but hopes the government would give them a breather — by allowing them to return temporarily before the Lunar New Year holiday, as well as promising that they would be able to return after the projects are finished, she said.
Taipei City Market Administration Office deputy director Kao Chun-chien (高群荐) accepted the group’s petition and promised that the office would discuss the issue.
He said that the drain cover replacement project was proposed by local borough wardens, and that they had hoped it would be finished along with the current project.
The street vendors were actually illegal, but the city government took into consideration that some of them might be economically disadvantaged, he said.
The office is drafting a management plan and had taken an inventory of the stalls in June last year, Kao said.
However, about one-third of the names of the street stalls in a list provided by the self-help group recently were different from an inventory list it provided last year, so the office has to clarify it before drafting plans for business areas and a fire safety passageway, he said.
Additional reporting by CNA
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