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Old November 30th, 2012, 08:23 AM   #281
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Fri, Nov 30, 2012
Cabinet OKs urban renewal law change
PROPERTY PROTECTION:The proposed amendment would raise the thresholds for both government and privately initiated development projects to minimize disputes
Taipei Times

The Cabinet yesterday approved an amendment to the Urban Renewal Act (都市更新條例) that aims to address flaws in urban renewal mechanisms that favor property developers over residents, as highlighted most recently in the Wenlin Yuan (文林苑) case.

On March 28, the Taipei City Government dispatched police to evict a family surnamed Wang (王) from their homes. The Wangs were the only residents who opposed the Wenlin Yuan urban renewal project in Shilin District (士林), while the other 36 families affected by the project were in favor. Since the majority of residents affected by the project approved, the Wangs saw their two two-story houses demolished to make way for the project.

The project reignited concerns over the nation’s land acquisition policy which had met with much criticism after a spate of farmland acquisitions for development purposes in various counties and cities sparked controversy.

Under the proposed amendment, if an urban renewal project is initiated by a local government, the developer would have to obtain the consent of all the residents affected to proceed with the project, compared with the threshold of more than four-fifths of the land or property owners involved that is currently stipulated by the law.

The current rule that entitles local governments to exercise their power to seize land is viewed as unconstitutional by critics.

If the amendment passes the legislature, the principle of majority rule in deciding matters of urban renewal would only apply to projects initiated by residents, land or property owners and construction firms, and not to local governments.

However, the thresholds for approval of such projects would also be raised under the amendment.

For example, for an urban renewal project initiated by a construction firm to proceed, more than half of the residents affected would have to agree on the developer’s draft proposal of the project before the firm files an application with the local government for approval, a significant increase from the 10th currently required.

After a local government approves the proposal, the construction firm would not be allowed to proceed with the project without the consents of between two-thirds and nine-10ths of land or property owners. The ratio would be decided according to different urban areas.

Currently, a construction firm can go ahead with a project as long as it obtains consent from between 50 percent and 80 percent of the residents involved.

The amendment would prohibit construction firms from preselling units before all housing located in the designated urban renewal area has been dismantled. Violation of the rules would result in a fine of between NT$50,000 and NT$5 million (US$171,000), with a further fine imposed for each further violation if the behavior is not corrected.

Under the amendment, local governments would still retain the authority to forcibly remove residents from their houses and demolish the buildings on behalf of construction firms or developers if the houses or residents are not gone before a given time limit. However, this course of action would only be permitted after the developers have exhausted every possibility of negotiation through administrative and judicial channels.

The Taipei City Government said it supported the amendment, adding that its passing would facilitate the promotion of urban planning projects.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) has been urging the Cabinet to amend the regulations and demanded that no presale housing transactions should be made before old houses are torn down to prevent future disputes.

However, both supporters and opponents of the Wenlin Yuan project said the amendment would not help resolve the stalled project, in which the construction of a new apartment complex has been delayed indefinitely since March.

Wang Yao-te (王耀德), a Wang family member, said the developers still insist on building the houses on the original site and would not make any compromises.

Hsieh Chun-chiao (謝春嬌), one of the residents who agreed to the project, said the primary goal for the households who had given their consent was to be allowed to have their new homes as soon as possible, adding that the government had failed to defend their rights.

She said the households agreed with the Wang family’s demand that the construction firm should change the project’s blueprint and rebuild the family’s demolished units on the site separately, adding that the government should help facilitate the project design change and restart the construction within the next six to eight months.
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 07:44 PM   #282
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Tue, Dec 04, 2012
Taipei’s Japanese-built granary could be given new life
Taipei Times with CNA

The decades-old No. 1 Granary in Taipei’s Songshan District (松山), which was built under the Japanese colonial administration toward the end of World War II, could be given a new life, thanks to a scheme to revive culturally significant properties launched by the Taipei City Government’s Department of Cultural Affairs in August.

The program aims to revitalize idle or abandoned historical buildings by inviting private corporations and individuals from the cultural innovation sector to repair the properties and put them to use.

Once renovated, most of these buildings would be used by the cultural industry. They cannot be used as private homes.

Hidden away in an alley near the Breeze Center on Fuxing S Road, the 200 ping (660m2) brick and cypress-beam granary was constructed to serve as the primary wartime emergency grain storage facility in the city.

Construction of the granary seemed imperative at the time, particularly when Taipei could be at risk of food shortages in the event of US military strikes on Taipei Bridge, a vital link between Taipei and what is now known as New Taipei City (新北市).

The granary was outfitted with three doorways emblazoned with the word “No Fireworks” and was built with a high ceiling and a number of small windows to facilitate ventilation and ward off mildew.

Designated by the Department of Cultural Affairs as a cultural heritage site in February last year, the granary still bears the scars of World War II, as evidenced by the many shrapnel and bullet holes left by the US military during air raids.

While the exterior has suffered greatly over the years, the interior has been preserved in good condition.

“There are not many old buildings left in the city that share a similar architectural design with the No. 1 Granary,” the department said.

Former granary administrator Yao Mu-sen (姚木森), who served in the Taipei Administration of the Taiwan Provincial Government’s Food Bureau — the predecessor of the Council of Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Agency — before being transferred to a managerial post at the granary in 1957, praised the effort to find new uses for historic buildings.

“While I support the city government’s cultural revitalization plan for old houses, it would be better if repair and renovation works could focus mainly on the interior and not make major changes to the building itself,” Yao said, adding that the granary was later used to store burlap grain sacks.
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Old December 8th, 2012, 04:51 AM   #283
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Tue, Dec 04, 2012
Railway agency mulls moving offices
VITAL ASSETS : The TRA could turn the space at the Taipei Railway Station into a shopping center, boost its revenue and give commuters a break, pundits said
Taipei Times

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Taipei Rail Station台北車站 by hwgirl, on Flickr

The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) is assessing the viability of making the Taipei Railway Station “taller,” moving its main office to another location and turning the space into a shopping center, TRA Director-General Frank Fan (范植谷) said recently.

Fan said central bank Governor Perng Fai-nan (彭淮南) suggested more than a month ago to Premier Sean Chen that the Taipei Railway Station could “be a little taller.”

Peng’s idea has garnered wide support, Fan said, adding that the TRA would outsource the task of evaluating its viability.

A full reconstruction of the Taipei Railway Station would affect too large an area, but adding a few floors would be easier and ensure structural safety, he said.

“The TRA has made a rough estimate of the viability of adding floors to the station. If we use light steel materials for the additional floors, they wouldn’t place too much of a strain on structural safety,” Fan said, adding that there is a limit to how many floors can be added.

Currently, the TRA leases the second floor, part of the ground floor and the first basement floor to Breeze Square. Despite the limited space, the revenue generated by the shops on those floors has exceeded expectations.

TRA’s contract with Breeze Square stipulates a minimum revenue of NT$60 million (US$2.06 million), but estimates show that sales this year could easily surpass NT$100 million, Fan said.

Some TRA officials have suggested moving the railway agency’s offices to the nearby Taipei Twin Towers project, and turning the vacated offices — currently taking up the third to sixth floors of the station — into a commercial center, Fan said.

After the Taipei Twin Towers are completed, the TRA would regain use of 60,000 ping (198,300m2) of land, he added.

The idea and the TRA’s approach have met with approval from members of the public and railway experts.

A commuter surnamed Yang (楊) said he often used the time waiting for the train to buy some sweets on the first floor or go to the second floor for a meal.

Having a shopping center will be an even better way for commuters to while their time away as they wait for trains, he added.

Another commuter, surnamed Lin (林), said it was hard to imagine how the TRA — which has been running a deficit for years — could sit on such a vital asset for so long.

If the TRA were to move its offices to the suburbs and change the station into a mall, it would revitalize its finances and help it develop a closer connection to the public, Lin said.

“It’s about time that the TRA came to its senses,” railway expert Hung Chih-wen (洪致文) said, adding that the TRA using the station — situated in the heart of downtown — as an office building was a waste.

Foreign railway companies usually move their headquarters to the suburbs, while reserving the station itself for commercial use, Hung said.

Since railway staff do not have to pay to take the train, the TRA should not just move its headquarters to the Twin Towers, but should instead move to the suburbs, Hung said.

However, there were also dissenting voices within the TRA who said the station’s main purpose is transportation and there are already too many people coming and going from the station.

Should the station become a commercial center, the sheer amount of pedestrian traffic would create an even bigger problem, they said, adding that the TRA’s dispatch center is also housed in the station and it would be difficult to move it elsewhere.
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Old December 16th, 2012, 12:30 PM   #284
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Sat, Dec 15, 2012
Taipei Times
DORTS defends bid for Taipei Twin Towers project

Taipei’s Department of Rapid Transit Systems (DORTS) yesterday defended the bidding process for the Taipei Twin Towers project (台北雙子星) near Taipei Railway Station, amid questions about the qualifications of both the evaluation committee and the developer.

It said that the department would take action if the developer was found to be involved in any illegal acts.

The developer, a multinational consortium composed of Taipei Gateway International Development (太極雙星), Malaysia’s IGB and Mid Valley City in October won the contract to develop two high-rise buildings that would cost between NT$70 billion and NT$80 billion (US$2.39 billion to US$2.73 billion).

Shortly after the Taipei City Government announced the project developer, BES Engineering, which lost the bid to the consortium, questioned the qualifications of the former director of the Bureau of High Speed Rail, Wu Fu-hsiang (吳福祥), as a member of the review committee on the selection of the developer.

Wu is an advisor to Kagawa International Investment.

The corporation and Taipei Gateway International Development both draw the bulk of their funding from Japan’s Mori Group, which made it a conflict of interest for Wu to serve as a member of the review committee, BES Engineering said, accusing the city government of violating the Government Procurement Act (政府採購法).

BES Engineering also questioned the consortium’s financial strength, given the large amount of funding required for the project.

DORTS Commissioner Richard Chen (陳椿亮) said the department has reviewed all of the 17 committee members and found no relationship between Wu and the companies involved in the bid, while insisting on the impartiality of the process of finalizing the developer.

He said that the bid for the project was not solely based on the bidding price, as applicants’ financial situations and construction design skills were also taken into consideration.

“The project’s developer was determined via a legal process. If any evidence is found to prove illegal acts in the bidding process, the department will handle it in accordance with the law,” he said.

The consortium is expected to break ground for the construction of the two high-rise buildings within one year.

The project is scheduled to be completed in 2017, and the twin towers will serve as the main hub for the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport MRT line to Taipei and five other railway and MRT lines.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 08:08 AM   #285
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taipei city looks amazing
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 03:36 PM   #286
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Taipei dismisses allegations of port pollution from reclamation project
The China Post
January 3, 2013, 12:02 am TWN

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The materials used for Port of Taipei's land reclamation projects are safe, the city's environmental authorities said yesterday, dismissing allegations they would be a source of pollution.

The materials from the dump site at Taipei's Neihu District are certified as safe before being shipped to the reclamation projects at Bali, New Taipei, the capital city's environmental bureau said.

The bureau was responding to allegations by a magazine report that said the materials from the dump site were toxic, and would pollute the sea.

The bureau noted that the dump site — which had been mainly for the city's household garbage — was closed in 1985. After so many years, the garbage has decomposed to a stable state, it said.

The city began removing the garbage from the site in 2006 and after a hiatus the removal restarted in March 2009.

So far 370,000 cubic meters of materials from the site have been shipped to the port projects since July 2012, when such shipments started, the bureau said.

The bureau added that the dump site will be transformed into an ecological park after the garbage is all removed.
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Old January 9th, 2013, 08:26 AM   #287
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Tue, Jan 08, 2013
Plan to construct Tamsui light-rail system approved
Taipei Times

The Council for Economic Planning and Development yesterday approved a two-stage plan by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to build a 13.99km light-rail transit system by the end of 2023 to provide transportation for people living in Tamhai New Town (淡海新市鎮) in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Tamsui District.

“The system is expected to cost NT$15.31 billion (US$525.98 million) and will generate NT$14.16 billion in revenue 30 years after its completion,” said Chung Wen-li, the deputy chief engineer of the ministry’s High Speed Rail Bureau, at a press conference.

Chung added that it is still too early to tell how many jobs the project would create.

The first phase of construction, which will begin this year and is to be completed by 2018, includes 14 stations along the Green Mountain Route and the part of the Blue Sea Route that links the Green Mountain Route to Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf, the council said.

The second phase of construction is to include six stations along the Blue Sea Route, linking Tamsui Mass Rapid Transit Station to the wharf.

The population of Tamhai New Town is currently 16,000 and the bureau estimated that it would grow to 120,000 by 2041. The system is designed to accommodate the projection of a 120,000-strong population.

The central government is to provide NT$1.67 billion to fund the project, with the Construction and Planning Agency to provide NT$7.09 billion and the New Taipei City Government to provide NT$6.55 billion, Chung said.
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Old January 9th, 2013, 11:50 AM   #288
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Fri, Sep 07, 2012
DPP queries use of Taipei Dome
SIDE-LINED:According to DPP city councilors, the dome was designed to be a multifunctional venue and should be used for both ceremonies and sports
By Mo Yan-chih / Staff reporter


Work continues yesterday at the Taipei Dome construction site in downtown Taipei. The dome will be used for the opening ceremony of the 2017 Summer Universiade, but is not listed as a competition site for the Games.
Photo: Liu Jung, Taipei Times


Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors yesterday accused the Taipei City Government of having no intention to use the Taipei Dome for competitions during the 2017 Summer Universiade, questioning the purpose of the Taipei Dome construction project, which was designed as a indoor baseball stadium to promote baseball and other sports.

The Taipei Dome project, a 500,000m2 commercial complex in downtown Xinyi District (信義) that would include a 40,000-seat indoor stadium, was expected to be a major venue for the Summer Universiade in 2017.

However, the dome was not included on the competition venue list, and Taipei City’s Department of Sports plans to use the dome for opening and closing ceremonies instead.

DPP Taipei City Councilor Lee Ching-feng (李慶鋒) and Taiwan Solidarity Union Taipei City Councilor Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘) yesterday questioned the city government’s plan, urging the department to use the dome for sports events.

“Taipei Dome is built to become one of the nation’s biggest baseball stadiums, and it is ridiculous that it will not be the venue for baseball competitions in the Summer Universiade. What would Taipei Dome be used for if it cannot serve as a venue for international baseball games?” Lee said at a press conference at the Taipei City Council.

Citing the example of the recent Olympics Games and previous Summer Universiades, Chen said venues for opening and closing ceremonies in international sports events have also been used to hold competitions, while questioning the preparation of the international sports event.

“The Fukuoka Dome was used to hold baseball competitions during the Universiade in 1995 in addition to the opening and closing ceremonies. The city government’s promise in building the Taipei Dome as a professional stadium would not be very persuasive if it cannot be used as a multifunctional venue,” he said.

The Taipei Dome project began construction last year after long-term protests against the project amid concerns on its environmental impact.

Farglory Group, the developer, signed a contract with the city government in 2005 and planned to invest more than NT$23 billion (US$700 million) in the complex at the abandoned Songshan Tobacco Factory on Zhongxiao E Road, and promised to build a professional indoor baseball stadium with at least 40,000 seats.

Deputy commissioner of the department Ding Ruo-ting (丁若亭) said the department has not yet made a decision on the venue for baseball competitions and opening and closing ceremonies, and the preparatory committee will make a final decision after discussing the issues with the International University Sports Federation.

“The Taipei Dome could definitely be used to hold baseball competitions, and we did not finalize the arrangements on venues for competitions yet,” he said.
Interesting....any render of Taipei Dome?
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Old January 9th, 2013, 11:57 AM   #289
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Interesting....any render of Taipei Dome?
Website : http://www.farglorydome.com.tw/en/dome/dome_05.jsp

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Old January 10th, 2013, 04:21 AM   #290
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Thanks. It looks modern and beautiful.
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Old January 12th, 2013, 06:47 PM   #291
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Wenlin Yuan residents plead for construction to commence
The China Post
January 13, 2013, 12:02 am TWN

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Untitled by pepebino, on Flickr

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TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Dozens of Wenlin Yuan residents continued yesterday to voice their protests against the Taipei City Government for stalling an urban renewal project, after spending a night outside the government's main building.

Many elderly people, who were some of the first people to live in the Wenlin Yuan residential complex came to the protest in wheelchairs, asked Mayor Hau Lung-bin to “help them get them back home.”

An elderly woman surnamed Wu, pleaded with tears in her eyes for the government to provide her with a home to live in. Wu said she was tired of not having a stable home for almost three years, imploring the government to begin construction of an urban renewal project.

Director Hsieh Chun-chiao of a self-help association that supports the urban renewal project said she was unhappy to see the elderly sitting in the rain and waiting for the government to provide a satisfactory answer. The group is made up of residents of former Wenlin Yuan households. The elderly insist that they want to fight for their homes, she said.

Taipei City's Urban Regeneration Office said they have sent officials to talk with the protestors and acknowledge that their voices are being heard. Officials also said the government would speed up negotiations with households who do not support the urban renewal project and will try their best to launch the construction as soon as possible.
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Old January 15th, 2013, 02:50 PM   #292
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Site view (Jan. 13, 2013) - top left

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pooldod...in/photostream
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Old January 21st, 2013, 04:08 PM   #293
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Fri, Jan 18, 2013
Hau determined to improve city roads
SMOOTH OPERATOR?Despite its high failure rate, the city government defended its ‘Smooth Road Project,’ saying any rework costs would fall on the contractor
Taipei Times

The Taipei City Government yesterday defended its “Smooth Road Project” amid continual complaints over poor road conditions and promised to ensure the project’s quality, while acknowledging the high failure rate of road resurfacing work.

Recent data from the city’s New Construction Office showed that of the 1.19 million square meters of road resurfaced last year, about 25 percent failed quality examinations and required a second round of resurfacing.

For example, the office’s examination of road quality on Minchuan E Road Sec 6, where resurfacing was completed last year, showed that the contractor did not apply enough pitch to the surface. The office has instructed the contractor to remove the pitch from a 610m section and reapply it this week.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), who inspected the resurfacing work on Wednesday, insisted that the city government’s determination to improve the quality of the capital’s roads remained firm, and said that it welcomes all residents to examine the quality of the project.

According to New Construction Office Maintenance Division director Lin Kun-hu (林昆虎), the city government had expected to complete resurfacing on 20 roads, but the work on Xinhai Road, Chungde Street, sections 1 and 2 of Chengde Road and Wanmei Street are yet to be finished due to poor weather conditions.

He dismissed concerns over the poor quality of resurfacing work, and said that the city government will increase the frequency of examinations on roads scheduled to be completed this year to ensure their quality.

“We have adopted high standards in the examination of road resurfacing work, and the contractors are required to remove the pitch and redo the work if the quality of the roads fail to meet our standards. The contractors also have to pay for the second batch of resurfacing work,” he said yesterday.

The “Smooth Road Project,” a major feature of Hau’s election campaign, was launched in 2010 to improve road conditions. The project has cost about NT$5 billion (US$170 million) so far.

The city government is scheduled to complete road resurfacing work on 29 roads this year, and 34 roads next year, Lin said.
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Old January 26th, 2013, 05:59 AM   #294
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Thu, Jan 24, 2013
Tzu Chi buildings spark protests
DEVELOPMENT FURY:Protesters said the Tzu Chi charitable organization had bought illegally constructed buildings in a conservation area in Neihu District, Taipei



Environmental activists hold a banner at the entrance of Taipei City Hall yesterday as they protest against a Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation development project in Taipei’s Neihu District.
Photo: Chen Wei-tzu, Taipei Times


Representatives from environmental groups and local residents yesterday gathered in front of Taipei City Hall to present a petition saying that all the buildings on a plot of land purchased by the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation within an environmental conservation area in the city’s Neihu District (內湖) are illegal, a view that the city government said had some validity.

The Tzu Chi Foundation purchased a plot of land on the district’s Chengkong Road Sec 5, across from Dahu Park (大湖公園), and applied to the city government in 1997 to change the land’s status from a environmental conservation area to one that could be used for the construction of a 4.6 hectare “social welfare park.”

The foundation’s plans led to opposition from environmentalists and local residents over concerns that the fragile geological features of the site may not be appropriate for a large-scale development, possible water drainage problems and over fears that the case would become a bad example of giving over environmental conservation areas to development.

Shouting: “The city government should stop covering up for Tzu Chi, and Tzu Chi should stop its illegal practices,” the protesters urged the city government to admit that the buildings on the land are illegal constructions, and to put a stop to the foundation’s efforts to legalize them or to expand the development.

Neihu Environmental Conservation Area Protection Association chairperson Lee Jih-Ching (李日進) said that according to the city government’s land use regulations for environmental conservation areas, developments larger than 5,000m2 need to go through urban planning and renewal procedures, and construction of buildings more than 200m2 require approval from the city’s urban planning committee, but the foundation did not fulfill either of these requirements.

Pan Han-shen (潘翰聲) of Green Party Taiwan, said the city government should not neglect the fact that the existing buildings in the area are illegal and should take action accordingly.

Receiving the petition from the groups’ representatives, Construction Management Office deputy director Chen Huang-cheng (陳煌城) said: “According to our records, there are indeed illegal constructions in the area, but operations to tear them down are on hold.”

The city government passed an administrative order some years ago that allowed illegal constructions built before 1994 to be exempted from being torn down, Chen said, adding that the office would check whether there are new illegal constructions in the area within the next two weeks.
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Old January 26th, 2013, 06:05 PM   #295
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Thu, Jan 24, 2013
Hsinchu getting ready to unveil Taiwan Pavilion
CITY BOOST : The local government is hoping the pavilion, which showcases technology as well as some of the nation’s attractions, will lift its visitor numbers
Taipei Times

With a high price tag for its purchase and refurbishment, the Taiwan Pavilion that was erected at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo will have its trial opening on Feb. 10 and officially open to the public on Feb. 21 in Hsinchu City.

Hsinchu purchased the pavilion for more than NT$450 million (US$15.53 million), with the aim of establishing an industrial innovation park as part of efforts to boost tourism.

The building was designed by prominent Taiwanese architect Lee Tsu-yuan (李祖原), who also designed Taipei 101.

The pavilion not only highlights Taiwan’s cutting-edge technology, but also showcases some of Taiwan’s best natural and cultural attractions, including Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), Yingge ceramics, rocks from Yushan (玉山) and an infinity pool symbolizing the Pacific Ocean.

Despite encountering problems and delays during the pavilion’s installation at its new location, the city government is hailing it as “the most important public project in the past two decades.”

Work on the lantern-shaped pavilion’s new Hsinchu site on 4.95 hectares of public zoning land next to a Taiwan Fertilizer Co complex, has been ongoing for some time, and has recently been completed.

The city government decided to involve the private sector in the development of the site, but the tender invitation for open bids fell through three times.

Finally, the bid was won by the operators of Kindom Construction Corp’s Global Mall in July last year, who announced earlier this week that the trial opening date had been set for Feb. 10, to coincide with the Lunar New Year.

Tickets are to be priced at NT$200 (daytime) and NT$250 (nighttime), the operators said, adding that Hsinchu residents can enjoy one free admission by showing their city ID card.
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Old January 27th, 2013, 07:56 PM   #296
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The Agora Hotel in Xinyi district has been demolished and will be redeveloped.

Hotel photo :

image hosted on flickr

Agora Garden Hotel We stayed in Taipei by Jay Sim, on Flickr

December 2012 (empty site next to the brown building)

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View of a historic building from the Taipei 101 Observatory. by gunman47, on Flickr
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Last edited by hkskyline; January 27th, 2013 at 08:01 PM.
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Old January 27th, 2013, 09:09 PM   #297
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Nice photos,thanks!.
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Old January 28th, 2013, 02:07 PM   #298
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Mon, Jan 28, 2013
Bureau hoping to open new overpass section for holidays
JUST IN TIME?The section of the overpass between Wugu and Jhungli could divert 30% of holiday traffic and reduce travel time by between five and 10 minutes
Taipei Times


Photo source : http://www.appledaily.com.tw/realtim...121213/156498/

The National Expressway Engineering Bureau yesterday said it would conduct a “practical evaluation” on whether the section of the Wugu-Yangmei Overpass between Wugu (五股) in New Taipei City (新北市) and Jhungli (中壢) in Taoyuan County could become operational before the Lunar New Year holiday next month, adding that the section would not be opened for traffic until it passed inspections from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

The 40km overpass has been constructed on both sides of the Sun Yat-sen Freeway (National Freeway No. 1) to ease congestion between Wugu and Yangmei on the freeway during peak hours. The bureau opened the section between Jhungli and Yangmei (楊梅) to traffic last month. That section is about 12km in length.

The bureau said that 97.4 percent of the overpass construction has been completed, adding that construction near the Airport Interchange was delayed due to labor shortages.

“Persistent rain and low temperatures that have continued since the end of last year have affected the work for concrete placement, road pavement and the drawing of traffic lines,” the bureau said. “The section is located at the Taoyuan plateau, and workers employed to work on the overpass have to endure long hours in an environment with high humidity, low temperatures and strong winds. This has led to a high turnover of workers.”

The bureau said the unfinished construction should take about seven to 10 days to complete, but that it has no control over how many workers are available each day.

The bureau said that it was still aiming to have the section between Wugu and Jhungli opened to traffic before the Lunar New Year holiday.

Construction of the overpass was launched in 2009, at an estimated cost of NT$88.2 billion (US$2.9 billion). The bureau said the overpass could divert about 30 percent of the ground traffic on Freeway No. 1 between Wugu and Yangmei, reducing the travel time in this section by between five and 10 minutes.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 03:31 AM   #299
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Wugu-Yangmei overpass opening delayed
The China Post
January 30, 2013, 12:07 am

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The opening of the Zhongli section of the Wugu-Yangmei overpass has been postponed to the end of February, Transportation and Communications Minister Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) announced yesterday. The Wugu-Yangmei overpass was scheduled to be opened to traffic before Chinese New Year. However, its construction schedule has been delayed by factors such as weather and staff shortage, said Mao.

“The Zhongli section of the Wugu-Yangmei overpass will be finished around Feb. 9,” he said.

“Even though the schedule is delayed, this is still the achievement of many people's hard work.

“Everything must be completed according to regulations.”

The director-general of the National Expressway Engineering Bureau (NEEB, 國工局), Tseng Da-ren (曾大仁), said that the delay will not affect traffic flow during the holiday period.

As for safety concerns regarding cracks found on some sections of the overpass, Tseng said that they are only flaws in the road's concrete surface and do not affect the structure's overall integrity.

The Wugu-Yangmei overpass, the construction of which began in 2009, was to divide mid- and long-distance travelers from short-distance travelers. The Zhongli-Yangmei section was opened to traffic last December.

CNY Traffic

There will be no charge for freeway use from 12 a.m. to 7 a.m. during this year's Chinese New Year holiday from Feb. 9 to 7, according to the NEEB.

Tseng said that the travel time from Taipei to Kaohsiung via the freeway during Chinese New Year could be controlled within six hours.

The NEEB has estimated that Feb. 12 will be the peak travel time during this nine-day Chinese New Year break, with around 2.9 million vehicles using the freeway system that day.

According to the bureau, high-occupancy vehicle regulations will be in effect for some sections of south-bound freeway lanes on Feb. 9 and on north-bound lanes on Feb. 13 and 14.

Extra Trains Scheduled

There will be an additional 54 trains scheduled to run on the East Coast during Chinese New Year, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) announced yesterday.

Ticket reservation will be open to public through the TRA website and phone system and convenience stores at 9 a.m. on Feb. 1, according to the TRA.

The TRA said that the administration hoped to reach the goal of safely transporting all passengers to their destinations.

The TRA already added 604 additional trains to run Feb. 7 to 18. However, tickets for trains running on the East Coast during peak travel times of the Chinese New Year holiday were sold out the same day they were released on Jan. 22.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 06:40 PM   #300
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Subway construction

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At Xinyi Rd (Sec 2.) in Taipei city, Taiwan by Minochage, on Flickr
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