The Shezidao Self-help Association yesterday staged a protest in front of Taipei City Hall, calling on Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) not to follow the former administration’s policies to develop the Shezidao (社子島) area and to renegotiate with local residents.
The Shezidao Peninsula, an alluvial plain at the confluence of the Sindian (新店溪) and Keelung (基隆河) rivers, was in 1970 designated by the city as a restricted development zone due to frequent flooding. The decision banned new construction in the area, leaving it underdeveloped.
During the administration of former Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), Chiang’s predecessor, an online poll was held to choose a development plan for Shezidao and an “ecological development plan” received the most votes.
The plan’s expropriation zone is being reviewed by the Ministry of the Interior, while the Taipei City Government plans to hold an explanation session with residents on Saturday.
Association spokesperson Li Hua-ping (李華萍) yesterday said that during his election campaign, Chiang promised to deal with the residents’ request to preserve some settlements “with utmost sincerity and empathy.”
However, the explanation session would still use the previous expropriation criteria, neglecting their wish to renegotiate, Li said.
The residents are calling on the city government to postpone the session, or they would boycott it, Li added.
The association also listed four demands: “refuse land speculation, residents want to live peacefully on their original homeland;” “refuse mass construction, Taipei residents need urban resilience;” “refuse Ko’s plan, residents want renegotiation with the Chiang administration;” and “refuse to be left to rot, the government should allow legal house repairs.”
Li said the planned expropriation would destroy some farm villages, forcing about 11,000 people from their homes, and might result in land speculation.
Massive projects, including a 9.5m high levee, might not prevent floods, especially as the climate is becoming more extreme, Li added.
The association said the city government should not leave their houses to decay by refusing to allow renovations.
If city officials do not agree with new development plans, they should supervise Shezidao residents in repairing their homes legally, while renegotiating with them to gain their trust, it said.
Taipei Department of Land Administration Deputy Commissioner Wang Jui-yun (王瑞雲), who received a written petition from the protesters, said she would convey their demands to Chiang.
She said an “ecological development plan” is still the overall direction for Shezidao.
The city government has held cross-departmental discussions regarding the association and the residents’ demand to preserve some villages, she said.
It would continue to communicate with the residents through explanation sessions, workshops and home visits, she added.
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