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Old February 14th, 2014, 06:08 PM   #361
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Sat, Feb 15, 2014
Astronomy museum set for makeover
TIME FOR A CHANGE:The museum, which has not undergone a major change since it opened in 1997, has been criticized by some as being outdated
Taipei Times

The Taipei Astronomical Museum is undertaking a three-year renovation project starting in November in hopes of boosting its dwindling popularity.

The project is estimated to cost about NT$580 million (US$19 million) and is to be carried out in two stages, according to the museum, which expects the makeover to help increase annual visitor numbers from about 600,000 now to more than 1 million.

The first phase, set to begin in November, would see the addition of a new exhibit called “Space City” to the Cosmic Adventure Section on the fourth floor. When completed, visitors will be able to enjoy magnificent views of outer space — created through film, lighting and special effects — while traveling along a 200m track on an indoor train. The facility is set to reopen in October next year.

The second phase of renovation is scheduled to start next year and wrap up in December 2017, during which the first three floors of the museum will be closed to the public.

Three more exhibits — Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life, Astronomical Research in Taiwan and Children’s Section — are to be added to the current nine permanent ones.

“The museum has never undergone a major renovation since it was opened to the public in 1997. Although we have endeavored to share the latest astronomy news on the museum’s Web site and routinely update the information on its exhibition display boards, we have received many complaints about its outdated facilities,” museum curator Chen An-li (陳岸立) said.

However, the cost of renovating the museum has drawn a mixed response among Taipei City councilors.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Yen Sheng-kuan (顏聖冠) said that compared with the renovation costs for the 50,000m2 Taipei Children’s Recreation Center (NT$2 billion) and the 15,000m2 Taipei Zoo’s Tropical Rainforest House (NT$380 million), it was unreasonable for the science museum to spend NT$580 million on a 4,500m2 area.

“To attract visitors, the museum needs to do more than just upgrade its hardware. It should also enhance its knowledge in astronomy and beef up its promotional efforts,” Yen said.

In response, Chen said the average renovation cost per square meter for science museums overseas was between NT$100,000 and NT$150,000, but the Taipei museum would only be spending about NT$80,000 per square meter.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Lee Chin-yuan (李慶元) backed the museum, saying it was in desperate need of a makeover if it did not want to continue losing visitors because of its outdated exhibits.

KMT Taipei City Councilor Wang Cheng-de (王正德) said it was good that the museum decided to “make modifications to the suit while wearing it,” referring to how parts of the museum would remain open to the public during the renovation period.
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Old February 19th, 2014, 08:59 AM   #362
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Wed, Feb 19, 2014
Taoyuan airport to close runway for renovations
IMPACT : The airport company says it should be able to keep delays to between 10 and 20 minutes at peak hours during the 11-month runway repair closure
Taipei Times

The Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport will today close its southern runway for renovation for 11 months, a closure that is expected to cause flight delays of 10 to 20 minutes during peak hours.

Taoyuan International Airport Corp (TIAC) said it is scheduled to reopen the runway on Jan. 15 next year. It is the first time that the airport has had to close the runway for that length of time.

Company senior vice president Wen Yung-sung (溫永松) said that flights will land in or take off from the northern runway during the closure, and a new flight schedule has been issued to airlines to accommodate the changes.

“We think that the delays can be kept within a tolerable range of 10 to 20 minutes, but the delays may be longer if there is bad weather,” he said.

Wen said that the airport has prepared a backup taxiway on which the flights can take off under emergency situations. However, he said the taxiway would not be used for landing.

Wen said peak hours for departing flights are from 6am to 9am and from 12pm to 3pm, while for arriving flights the peak hours are generally between 3pm and 12am.

The nation’s largest airport has two runways, both in use for more than 30 years, with only partial repairs carried out on them.

The company said it began a five-year project in 2011 costing a total of NT$10.4 billion (US$346 million) to renovate the runways and taxiways, as well as to upgrade the air navigation facilities after its funding was approved by the Executive Yuan.

The renovation is intended to enable the airport to accommodate larger aircrafts, such as Airbus 380-model passenger jets, the company said.

In other developments, the company said that construction related to the Taoyuan Aerometropolis Project, a large development surrounding the Taoyuan airport, is scheduled to begin in 2016.

In addition, the airport’s third runway will have to be launched 10 years before the original target date due to a rapid increase in passengers, the company said.

TIAC president David Fei (費鴻鈞) said the passenger volume exceeded 30 million last year, registering year-on-year growth of 11 percent, and could exceed 40 million within four years at a growth rate of 10 percent per year.

“When we planned the building of Terminal Three, we expected the growth rate of passengers to be about 3 percent annually. Now the two runways may soon be unable to meet rising demand,” Fei said.

Fei added that the two runways would be crowded when the passenger volume reaches 50 million per year, adding that at that point the closure of one runway would paralyze the airport.

Previously, construction of the third runway was not to be completed until 2030, and would be built after Terminal Three is launched.

Fei said that deadline now needs to be moved to 2020 or 2021, and plans are under way to start building Terminal Three and the third runway in 2016, with both projects finishing by 2020.
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Old March 26th, 2014, 03:38 PM   #363
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Taipei announces opposition against route of Beiyi Railway
19 March 2014
The China Post


鐵工局計畫興建北宜直鐵,將與國道五號一樣都將穿越雪山山脈,引發爭議。
圖/交通部國道新建工程局提供

全文網址: 捲土重來!北宜直鐵4月敲定路線 | 生活新聞 | 生活消費 | 聯合新聞網


聯合報

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) established firm opposition against one of the proposed routes for the Beiyi Direct Railway (北宜直線鐵路) yesterday, during the Taipei City Municipal Conference.

One of the two routes proposed during the Ministry of Transportation and Communications' (MOTC) Beiyi Direct Railway Route Selection Meeting (北宜直線鐵路路線評選會議) has been engineered to pass through Feitsui Dam (翡翠水庫). Concerned with the overall water quality and water supply of the Greater Taipei area, Hau has officially declared that he, on behalf of Taipei, is against the construction of the railway through the dam, and any other alternative which involves the dam.

Taipei City Government spokesman Chang Chi-chiang (張其強) relayed Hau's statement, saying that the city government had opposed the idea last Friday during the meeting.

However, the route has not been excluded from considerations, and will be on the voting floor during the next route selection meeting in April. Chang went on to state that should the route be selected and submitted to the Northern Taiwan Development Commission (北台區域發展推動委員會), executive members from the Department of Transportation (交通局), the Department of Urban Development (都市發展局) and the Taipei Feitsui Reservoir Administration (臺北翡翠水庫管理局) will attend the conference to protest against the proposal on behalf of the Taipei City Government.

The other route in the proposal is said to take 10 minutes more in commute time than the Feitsui route should it be chosen. Where the Feitsui route spans a total of 32.8km with an estimated project cost of NT$ 50.6 billion, the alternate route will span 35.8km at NT$ 48 billion. Both routes have also been confirmed to pass through the Xueshan Range (雪山山脈). A route is said to be determined in April, upon which it will be submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment in February of 2015, with a construction day set for 2016.
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Old April 4th, 2014, 01:43 PM   #364
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Taipei property values rise by up to 10 percent
Owners of properties on Yongkang, Wenchang and Yanji streets, as well as Siwei, Anhe and Daan roads, among others, will see an increases in taxes
31 March 2014
Taipei Times

The Taipei City Government has raised property values at 99 locations across the capital in a continued, but subdued, attempt to increase holding costs for homeowners.

The upward adjustment will increase property-related taxes on 66,000 homes by an average of 9 percent as a result of a value reassessment conducted every three years to reflect market changes.

Most value increases are concentrated in Daan District in which property values on Yongkang, Wenchang, Yanji, Ruian and Lishui streets, as well as Siwei, Anhe and Daan roads rise 10 percent.

The adjustment will take effect next year and is expected to generate an extra NT$130 million (US$4.25 million) a year for the city coffers, the local government said.

The move will have only limited impact on the housing market because people will not feel the pinch until they pay the annual housing taxes or capital gains levy linked to home transactions, said Tseng Chin-der, a researcher at Sinyi Realty Inc, the nations sole listed broker.

The market will prove resilient to the value adjustment this time after emerging unharmed from a more drastic hike at 452 locations in 2011 that affected 370,000 houses, Tseng said in a note.

The value reassessment is intended as a policy tool to moderate the citys housing market, especially for upscale homes, since they benefit more from strengthened infrastructure facilities as evidenced by their steep price hikes, the city government said.

The construction on Taipei MRTs Songshan Line and the launch in November last year of the Xinyi Line has helped boost housing prices along the metro lines by more than 10 percent in recent years, Tseng said.

Tongbei Street near the Dazhi MRT Station has seen its assessed value rise by the fastest pace at 50 percent, while Nanjing E Rd Sec 6 is up by 25 percent due to their relatively lower base, Tseng said.

The development of a high-end apartment complex on Tongbei St and a real price registration requirement have lent support to the value elevation in the neighborhood that is mainly populated by military servicemen and families, Taiwan Realty Co said.

Besides heavier house and capital gains levies, homebuyers will have to pay more tax on closing deals in the value adjustment, Taiwan Realty said.
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Old April 9th, 2014, 07:04 AM   #365
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Songshan MRT line to split Xindian, Tamsui lines
The China Post
9 April 2014



TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The launch of the new Songshan MRT line by the end of this year will separate the current Xindian and Tamsui lines, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) announced yesterday.

According to Hau, the new Songshan line will connect to the current Xindian line, which is also known as the green line, while the Tamsui line will continue to connect to the Xinyi line as the red line.

The Taipei City Government said that the headway period between trains running on the Xinyi line will be shortened to three minutes and the headway period for the Xindian line will also be shortened from six minutes to between four and five minutes.

Hau said that after 18 years of operating the Taipei MRT system, Taipei City's transportation bureau has conducted various adjustments to the MRT lines and by the end of this year, the five major MRT lines will be separated based on five colors: brown, red, orange, green, and blue.

“Songshan line is the third MRT line that is an east-west straight line,” said Hau.

“It runs through Nanjing East Road, which is also called as the Taipei Wall Street and connects to the Taiwan Railway Administration's Songshan train station as well as the Taoyuan airport MRT line, which is still under construction,” Hau added.

“The Songshan line will bring positive effects to Taipei City for the potential changes it could bring to the areas that it goes through,” said Hau.

According to the Taipei City Government, the Songshan line, which is about 8.5-kilometers long, has eight underground stations: Ximen station, Beimen station, Zhongshan station, Songjing Nanjing station, Nanjing Fuxing station, Taipei Arena station, Nanjing Sanmin station and Songshan station.

Enforce Promotion: New Taipei City Mayor

New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) yesterday said that the launch of the new Songshan line might affect people's commuting habits, so enforcing promotion is necessary.

Chu said the new MRT map will return to the original design that was planned 18 years ago, and most people will benefit from the change.

However, Chu said, any changes regarding the MRT lines will cause some people inconvenience, so the government should carry out a well-planned promotion.

Chu also said that the promotions should be executed patiently so all the commuters can better understand the redrawn MRT map.
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Old April 16th, 2014, 08:22 PM   #366
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Thu, Apr 17, 2014
Officials vow to complete the Taoyuan Aerotropolis
MA’S ‘GOLDEN DECADE’:The project would require expropriating 3,126 hectares of land, the nation’s largest-ever expropriation, with about 25,000 people relocated
Taipei Times


Source : http://www.tycg.gov.tw/aerotropolis/

Government officials yesterday vowed to complete the Taoyuan Aerotropolis Project, saying it would be a key project affecting the economic development of the nation in the next generation.

The project is a large development surrounding the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) Director-General Jean Shen (沈啟) told a forum hosted by the Institute of Transportation that the project was one of the flagship programs outlined by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in his “vision of a golden decade.”

The project involves the development of 4,771 hectares, she said.

“For the project, the government still needs to expropriate 3,126 hectares of land, which would account for 40 percent of the total land expropriated across the nation in the past 40 years,” Shen said. “The importance of such a project does not lie only in the massive capital it requires, but it is also one of the key projects that will help Taiwan face the global competition in the next generation. It is not just about building a new terminal, a new runway or other infrastructure. The project would require a comprehensive plan on the industrial development, as well as residential zones.”

Taoyuan County Commissioner John Wu (吳志揚) said that Taiwan’s minimum wage has remained unchanged for years because the nation has not taken advantage of its geographical advantages to upgrade its industries.

“We should not be embarrassed to admit that Taiwan is in the nucleus of Asia. From here, one can get to major cities in Asia in the shortest time, compared with other countries,” Wu said. “We should use this geographical advantage to develop international logistics services, through which we can help change the tide for the 22K generation [people with a monthly wage of NT$22,000]. It is essentially contradictory if one is against 22K, but opposes free trade at the same time.”

Wu said that the county estimated that 8,000 households and 25,000 people would need to be relocated to make way for the project, which would be the nation’s largest land expropriation.

He said that the county would start moving people only after their new homes are built.

Even though the plan is called Taoyuan Aerotropolis Project, Wu said that the project not only concerns people in Taoyuan County, but throughout the country.

Huang Ming-kai (黃明塏), deputy director of the urban and rural development branch under the Ministry of the Interior, said that the country must complete the project.

“We are absolutely confident that we can accomplish this mission impossible,” Huang said.

Huang said that it has taken the nation 30 years to develop the project, adding that the site for the the third runway has been chosen and the high-speed rail constructed.

The nation is also about to launch the Airport Rail, he said.

He said that the project needs to undergo an environmental impact review, as well as other reviews.

Through the cooperation of CAA and other government agencies, the branch has been trying to present the information to the members serving at these review committees and convince them of the necessity of the project, he said.

The branch has sent officials to gather feedback from the public.
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Old April 23rd, 2014, 06:07 PM   #367
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Taipei-Yilan direct rail line plan approved

Taipei, April 22 (CNA) The government has approved construction on a major new rail line Tuesday that will directly link Taipei to the northeastern county of Yilan, a route that could save travelers up to 38 minutes of travel time as soon as the year 2026.

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) said Tuesday that it approved the NT$49.1 billion (US$1.62 billion) project, which is expected to take 11 years to complete once the proposal has passed an environmental impact assessment.

Plans call for a 53-kilometer line departing from Nangang Railway Station in Taipei City and heading through 35.8 km of tunnels under the Hsueshan Range to end in Toucheng Township in Yilan County, according to the MOTC's Railway Reconstruction Bureau.

That would reduce train travel time from Taipei to Yilan to just 47 minutes on the fastest trains, saving commuters 18 minutes from the Taroko Express or Puyuma-class trains on the current route and 38 minutes from the time it currently takes on Tzu Chiang express trains.

Currently the only option for rail travel is the 72-km stretch of the Yilan and North-Link lines, which wraps around the Hsueshan Range and takes 65 minutes on Taroko Express or Puyuma trains and 85 minutes on Tzu Chiang trains.

Travel times from Taipei to Hualien further down the east coast would be reduced from 118-138 minutes to just 100 minutes, the ministry said.

Once the line opens, it is expected to serve over 4,000 passengers per hour during the peak traffic times, according to ministry estimates.

The MOTC has proposed the new line in the hopes of easing holiday traffic on the Chiang Wei-shui Memorial Freeway (Freeway No. 5) during the holidays, particularly at sections around the Hsuehshan Tunnel.

The project was previously rejected by the Environmental Protection Administration's (EPA) Environmental Impact Assessment Committee because the route would pass through the ecologically sensitive area around a reservoir providing water to greater Taipei.

The ministry sought to revive the plan in 2009 by developing an alternative route that bypasses the area.
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Old April 24th, 2014, 08:36 AM   #368
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Taipei Times
Thu, Apr 24, 2014
Critics blast Taipei-Yilan rail route

Academics and environmental activists sounded alarms over the newly announced Taipei-Yilan railway project, saying that the proposed route holds high risks as it passes through six active faults and 30 underground mining sites.

Critics said construction of the route would be fraught with danger caused by rock collapses, landslides and structural failures, due to the route traversing a region of known geological instability and which has already been weakened by past mining operations and earthquakes.

Environmentalists also voiced opposition to the project, since developing the proposed 53km rail route will cause destruction of wilderness habitats and fragile mountain-forest ecosystems, and cause pollution problems in the area.

Many critics questioned the amount of government funds allocated for the project, which is to save time on rail trips between Taipei and Yilan.

“Is it worth spending NT$49.1 billion [US$1.62 billion] on the construction [of the rail route] to save 38 minutes of travel time?” one of the skeptics asked.

Academic researcher Lee Ker-tsung (李克聰) said building the line calls for drilling tunnels and construction work close to 30 existing mine sites, which will pose a high risk of collapse and structural failure.

Lee, a professor in Feng Jia University’s department of transportation technology and management, pointed to a long tale of woes around building the Hsuehshan Tunnel, which links Taipei and Yilan and was finally completed in 2006, eight years behind schedule.

He said the Hsuehshan Tunnel is 12.9km long, but it took 15 years to build as 63 collapses occurred during construction, and there were many episodes of major flooding from groundwater.

“The geological report for this new project is not yet available, yet the Railway Reconstruction Bureau has already set a completion date of 2026. This is an overly optimistic schedule,” Lee said.

Green Formosa Front Association (綠色陣線協會) executive director Lin Chang-mao (林長茂) said that the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) would likely encounter major problems while working in a very complicated geological zone with known earthquake activity.

“This route passes under or close to many existing deep coal and mineral mines, but the TRA will go ahead with the construction, despite not having done a thorough geological investigation. This amounts to playing with the lives of rail passengers,” he said.

Lin added that detailed information is needed regarding the length, width, slope angle and pillar frame level of the mine shafts, but data from the Bureau of Mines are sketchy at best.

“In the past, mining in Taiwan mostly relied on the use of acacia wood to rig up simple frame and pillar supports. After years of neglect, they could be crumbling or have already failed. The government does not even know if these mine shafts are now flooded by water,” he said.

“When earthquakes strike, the mine shafts and the surrounding rock structures are prone to collapse,” Lin added. “The route calls for a number of long tunnels through the mountains. If an explosion or a collapse is to occur, trains may be derailed and passengers could have difficulties making their escape.”

In response, a TRA official, who declined to give his name, said: “The sites through which the new route will pass are mostly small-scale mine shafts. These will not pose major engineering problems… When the rail link is completed, freight trains carrying cargo will not run on it, to reduce the risks.”
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Old May 26th, 2014, 08:18 PM   #369
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Tue, May 20, 2014
Taipei Times
Activists, workers clash during relocation of trees
DETERMINED: Activists protesting the removal of trees along a road leading to Taipei’s Big Dome project said they would continue to guard trees along Chunghsiao East Road

Conflicts occurred at the construction site of the Big Dome project in Taipei yesterday, when workers with excavators met with environmental activists who climbed up or surrounded 13 trees to stop their relocation.

The conflicts occurred at about 9:30am when workers, accompanied by police officers, arrived on Chunghsiao E Road to remove 13 Formosan sweetgum trees, but were met by dozens of activists protesting the relocation of the trees.

Farglory Land Development Co’s (遠雄建設) Big Dome project, at the intersection of Chunghsiao E Road and Guangfu S Road — in part of the preserved historical site of the Sungshan Tobacco Factory (松山菸廠) — had gained approval from the local government to remove 87 trees.

However, the Taiwan Green Power Union, a coalition of groups and individual activists dedicated to tree protection, called for an emergency movement to save the trees after they discovered that dozens of them were being removed late last month.

The volunteers have been taking turns to guard the trees against removal operations by Farglory for the past weeks.

Upon hearing that workers would try to remove the remaining trees again, the activists yesterday surrounded or climbed up the trees or blocked the workers, saying that they would protect the trees with their bodies.

The activists said that because the trees and road belong to the public, it is unreasonable for the city government to allow the company to use its construction budget for the road to remove the trees, and that the “brutal and inappropriate removal” of 55 trees last month has already seriously affected the environment.

The police erected a warning sign, saying that the protesters’ behavior was against the law, but they refused to leave.

A spokesperson from Farglory said the tree removal operation is legal, and according to the city government’s tree protection committee on May 13, the 13 trees were not considered “old trees” and are allowed to be moved to other places during the construction period.

The situation remained deadlocked throughout the morning, as workers were unable to begin their removal operation.

Several disputes occurred between the activists and representatives of Farglory.

The machinery and police officers left the site at noon, but the activists said they would continue to guard the trees.
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Old June 2nd, 2014, 05:42 AM   #370
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Mon, May 26, 2014
Taipei Times
Illegal practices permitted at Dome: activists



A group of activists and volunteers dedicated to protecting trees has accused the Taipei City Government of allowing illegal practices at the construction site of the Taipei Dome.

Saturday marks one month since the Taiwan Green Power Union initiated its ongoing Taiwan Brave Treehugger Action to try to protect 87 street trees surrounding the construction site, which are to be relocated by the dome’s builder, Farglory Group.

Dozens of trees were suddenly removed earlier last month in ways that the union said could have been fatal to the trees, leading to the mobilization of volunteers who camped beside the remaining trees around the clock to guard them from harm.

Several clashes have broken out in the past month between the tree-protecting activists and the construction workers, tasked with removing the trees.

The union released a declaration statement on Saturday, saying that the Farglory Group has already violated the Environmental Impact Assessment Act (環境影響評估法), because according to the group’s contract with the city government, it was not permitted to remove and transport soil after March 16, but trucks continue to transport soil nightly.

“The union has clear evidence to prove the company is violating the act, but the police and the city environmental bureau have not investigated the reports and video evidence filed by the union,” it said.

The union said government officials are in neglect of their duties.

It said the Taipei Dome build-operate-transfer project is a gift bestowed on Farglory Group from Taipei residents for 50 years.

The land could have been made into a community park with a library for the benefit of the public, but instead the city government offered it to the group for just 1 percent of its current value.

Moreover, the union said only about 30 percent of the construction site is planned for use as the indoor-sports dome, while the remaining 70 percent is to be used for the group’s hotel and shopping center.

The union said it is disappointed that the policy was approved by the council.

Street trees should not be sacrificed for Farglory Group’s convenience, it said, and the city government should not shield the group from the consequences of what the activists described as its “irresponsible” actions.

“The union will not be struck down by bad attitude and injustice, or the humid and hot monsoon rain season. We will continue [to guard the trees] until the city government is willing to return justice to its citizens,” the union said.
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Old June 3rd, 2014, 03:22 PM   #371
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Tue, Jun 03, 2014
Formosa Regent renovating to boost sales prospects
UPGRADE : The 538-room hotel in Taipei is refurbishing three of its restaurants and all rooms in hopes of raising its average room rate and visitor numbers, FIHC said
Taipei Times









Formosa Regent Taipei (台北晶華酒店) is to start its second-phase renovation project later this month, as the hotel continues to upgrade its facilities, with an eye to raising its room rate and boosting revenue, operator Formosa International Hotels Corp (FIHC, 晶華國際酒店集團) said.

The hotel in Taipei plans to refurbish three of its restaurants and all 538 rooms this year, the company said.

The renovation of the three restaurants is expected to be completed by early October, and will be followed changes to the rooms, which will be carried out floor by floor, the hotel said in a statement.

“We finished refurbishing the hotel lobby and grand ballroom last year. Plans to upgrade the three restaurants this year will follow the same style,” Regent Taipei general manager Morton Johnston said in the statement.

Renovating the rooms may help the hotel raise its average room rate to at least NT$7,000 (US$233) — from NT$6,241 in March, the hotel said in a report to the Tourism Bureau.

Upgrading the restaurant facilities may also boost the hotel’s revenue from food and beverage, which accounts for more than half of its overall sales.

FIHC, which saw consolidated sales in the first four months of the year rise 2.33 percent from a year earlier to NT$1.93 billion, should benefit from Regent Taipei’s renovation and other plans, the statement added.

The hotel is also seeking to expand its Japanese clientele by strengthening relations with Japanese travel agencies and forming an alliance with a Japanese carrier.

Japanese guests currently accounts for nearly 40 percent of the hotel’s clientele, making it an important segment for the hotel.

On Friday last week, Regent Taipei announced its new in-flight menu for All Nippon Airways (ANA). Business class passengers taking an ANA flight from Taipei to Tokyo can start enjoying these meals this month.

Regent Taipei and ANA collaborated early this year to introduce Taiwanese cuisine on flights, including the hotel’s award-winning beef noodle soup, to promote FIHC’s restaurants to Japanese passengers visiting Taiwan.

In addition, the hotel held its annual friendly golf match in Taoyuan County on Monday last week, with representatives from key online travel agencies in Japan attending.

Various Japanese tourism agency experts, including executive at JTB Global Marketing & Travel Inc, joined the match and the dinner party to share their insights on how to better meet the demand of Japanese customers, the hotel said.
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Old June 5th, 2014, 05:50 PM   #372
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Thu, Jun 05, 2014
Suspend Taoyuan project: activists
KNOCK-ON EFFECT : Following allegations that Farglory Land paid bribes on a project in Bade City, opponents of the Aerotropolis demanded an administrative hearing
Taipei Times

Opponents of the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project yesterday asked the government to suspend a review of the project and hold an administrative hearing immediately after two of the key people involved in the project were accused of taking kickbacks from developers.

Former Taoyuan County deputy commissioner Yeh Shih-wen (葉世文) is suspected of accepting bribes from Farglory Land Development Co (遠雄建設) chairman Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄), via a middleman Tsai Jen-hui (蔡仁惠), in a housing project in Bade City (八德).

Yeh was a member of the Taoyuan Aerotropolis — a project to develop a free-trade port zone surrounding Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport — zoning committee, while Tsai was a member of the urban planning review committee and Chao was the developer.

Because of the roles Yeh and Tsai played in the project, activists suspect that similar murky deals could have occurred.

Taoyuan resident and activist Lin Li-ling (林麗玲) said that the affordable housing project in Bade City only involved the development of 2.12 hectares, while the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project has reserved 16.73 hectares for affordable housing and 9.9 hectares for resettlement of residents relocated by the project.

The larger development area had made the project the main target of construction firms, she said.

Another local activist, Tsai Mei-ling (蔡美齡), said that she was asking the government to “give residents a break.” She said that the government had closed local residents’ access to Provincial Highway No. 4.

“An official even threatened that residents would be plagued by floods if they do not move out,” she said.

Taiwan Association for Human Rights executive secretary Wang Pao-hsuan (王寶萱) said that Farglory’s free-trade port zone occupies 45 hectares, but that only 13.73 hectares are actually being used.

She said that the government now wants to expropriate more than 100 hectares of land to expand the free-trade port zone, which is also one of the government’s proposed free economic pilot zones.

She questioned the legitimacy of further expropriation of people’s land given the fact that the regulations governing the free economic pilot zones have yet to be passed by the Legislative Yuan.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) said that a report published by the Control Yuan had stated that the government did not choose the relocation option most favorable to the public when executing the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project.

DPP Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) said Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) Director-General Jean Shen (沈啟) had promised to hold an administrative hearing about the project, but that this had not happened.

CAA Deputy Director-General Fang Chih-wen (方志文) said that the administration had held an exploratory session in April on the use of farmland by the project and would hold a preparatory hearing in October.

He said the scandal happened within the Taoyuan County Government and not at the CAA.

The Construction and Planning Agency’s Urban and Rural Development Branch Director-General Hung Chia-hung (洪嘉宏) said the government is unlikely to call a halt the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project because Yeh and Tsai are involved in a bribery scandal.

“The Ministry of Interior is launching an investigation into Yeh and the results could affect whether the project will continue,” Hung said.

“Tsai was only one of the 26 members on the urban planning committee and it was not possible for him to sway the results. We have completed the review of the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project, which then enables us to activate the procedures leading to an administrative hearing based on the Land Expropriation Act (土地徵收條例),” Hung said.
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Old June 11th, 2014, 03:17 PM   #373
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The problem with the Regent hotel is the outside! It doesn't look like a 5 star hotel from the outside haha
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Old June 21st, 2014, 08:16 AM   #374
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Residents against museum project keep up pressure
17 June 2014
Taipei Times


Photo source : http://raffysaldana.blogspot.hk/2007...ce-museum.html

Residents living near the National Palace Museum in Taipei yesterday expressed their concerns about the increase in heavy traffic and air pollution as a result of the museums escalating visitor numbers.

The group raised their concerns at an environmental impact assessment (EIA) meeting held yesterday, which discussed the governments expansion project for the museum.

Under the Grand National Palace Museum Project, the museum footprint is to increase to 15.8 hectares, with an additional 4.8-hectare creative park.

The project aims to expand what the museum says is limited display space for its collection of artifacts and to accommodate the rapidly increasing number of visitors in recent years.

The project was ordered to go into a second-phase EIA for further review last year.

During the meeting yesterday morning, a local resident said that the number of museum visitors has reached more than 7 million annually, mainly from China.

Residents feel there is no low season for the museum and that the heavy traffic and air pollution brought by visitors are worsening.

Another resident said that the air-quality data was collected from just two monitoring stations at two nearby high school campuses, which cannot reflect the air pollution in the heavily trafficked areas.

They also expressed concerns over potential construction dust once the expansion project begins.

An EIA meeting committee member said that air quality in northern Taiwan is usually the worst during winter, due to relatively dry weather, sandstorms and haze from China.

The meeting concluded that the projects air-quality monitoring should be conducted during the Lunar New Year holiday period a peak season for the museum and two more data collection stations should be installed.

It also concluded that a few monitoring stations should be set up to collect data on noise and vibration in the area.
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Old June 25th, 2014, 04:08 PM   #375
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Wed, Jun 25, 2014
Scuffles erupt at review meeting for Aerotropolis
Taipei Times

Scuffles broke out at an urban planning review meeting for the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project at the Ministry of the Interior in Taipei yesterday morning, with opponents demanding that members of the urban planning review committee state their positions on the development plan and calling for an administrative hearing for the residents in the proposed area.

The meeting, held by the Construction and Planning Agency, was to determine the area for development, as part of a requirement by the Taoyuan County Government and Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) to hold an administrative hearing as stipulated by the Land Expropriation Act (土地徵收條例).

The administrative hearing allows different stakeholders to express their opinions, which will then be reviewed by a land expropriation review committee in the ministry before any expropriation can take place.

However, opponents insisted that the government suspend the project review and hold an administrative hearing for all the residents in the area immediately.

Scuffles erupted when the meeting’s chairman, Deputy Minister of the Interior Jonathan Chen (陳純敬), asked Taiwan Association for Human Rights executive secretary Wang Pao-hsuan (王寶萱) to stand down as she had exceeded her three-minute limit for presentations.

Because Wang refused to leave the podium and kept asking Chen to allow more residents to speak, Chen called the police to take her away.

While Wang was about to be dragged away, another activist, Tien Chi-feng (田奇?), jumped on the desk in the conference room and demanded that Chen, as well as the committee members, state their position on the project.

Tien then dumped a bag of dirt on a desk used by the committee members. He climbed onto the desk before police pulled him down and removed him and the other activists from the conference room.

Tien’s complaint was that most residents cannot participate in the review process because it is not open to everyone. He also said that members of the committee did not receive information until the meeting started.

Tien questioned if the government really cares about people’s rights and voices, saying residents have absolutely no idea what is going on.

“The dirt was to prompt the members of the committee to review the case cautiously,” he said.

Supporters and opponents of the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project clashed at the main gate of the Construction and Planning Agency, in Taipei, with supporters appearing to outnumber the opponents.

Some opponents tried to break through the police blockade and storm into the conference room, but to no avail.

During the meeting, residents who wanted their land expropriated said they no longer wanted to put up with noise generated by planes.

Witnesses to crashes also described seeing corpses of crash victims lying close to their homes.

These residents said they had waited 35 years for such a project and that those opposing the deal only account for 20 to 30 percent of the population.

The government should honor the wishes of the majority, they said.

The meeting failed to reach a conclusion yesterday and the agency plans to schedule another meeting to review the project.
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Old July 5th, 2014, 09:38 PM   #376
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Flickr 上 OURAWESOMEPLANET: PHILS #1 FOOD AND TRAVEL BLOGDin Tai Fung-6.jpg
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Old July 19th, 2014, 07:23 AM   #377
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Fri, Jul 18, 2014
Taoyuan’s planned green MRT line passes ‘green’ test
GREEN LIGHT : Work on the ‘Aerotropolis Line’ could start in June, and is due for completion in 2019. Some residents fear even higher property prices
Taipei Times with CNA

Plans for the green line of the Taoyuan MRT have passed an environmental impact assessment, the Taoyuan County Government said yesterday, meaning construction on the line that will link Taoyuan City to the airport could begin as soon as next year.

Taoyuan County will submit the assessment results along with a general planning report to the Executive Yuan for approval, and expects the project to be passed in late September.

The county’s Transportation Bureau estimated that construction on the line, which runs through the cities of Bade (八德), Taoyuan and Luzhu (蘆竹), could start in June next year for completion by 2019.

The green line has been officially named the “Aerotropolis Line,” because it will pass through the county’s ambitious airport city project and connect to Taipei through the Airport MRT (purple) line.

The planned north-south route will pass through four proposed urban projects in Danan (Bade), Taoyuan City, Nankan (Luzhu) and Guolin (Dayuan Township).

According to the plans, the green line will run 27.8km and stop at 21 stations (10 underground and 11 elevated.)

The daily passenger volume on the line is expected to reach 500,000.

The corridor that makes up Bade, Taoyuan City and Luzhu is home to nearly 747,000 people.

County officials said the green line would help ease traffic volume on main roads in the densely populated area by between 10 and 25 percent and improve the transport environment.

Once the line comes into service, it could help significantly cut down the time needed to travel from downtown Taoyuan to Taoyuan International Airport, Taiwan’s major gateway to the world.

While the airport is only about 20km from downtown, the two direct routes in the densely populated area are prone to congestion.

Nonetheless, some residents have expressed concern that while the line would improve connectivity and convenience, it could also cause nearby housing prices to soar in an area that is already home to some of Taiwan’s fastest-growing real-estate prices.

The residents say they hope that the central and county governments can come up with effective housing policies to mitigate the impact.
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Old July 19th, 2014, 08:31 PM   #378
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Residents protest Aerotropolis
Resident Lu Li-chin questioned whether it is necessary to take over private land, as there is a lot of idle government land close to the airport
18 July 2014
Taipei Times

Residents who may face forced eviction due to the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project demonstrated outside the Construction and Planning Agency in Taipei yesterday as a committee met to review the project, urging it to exclude them from the project.

With the aim of creating an industrial, commercial, residential and a free economic pilot zone around Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, as well as an expansion of the airport, the Aerotropolis project would require the expropriation of more than 3,000 hectares of private land, affecting more than 12,000 households.

My family has been on the plot of land on which our two-story house now stands since my great-grandparents time. We got married in this house, we raised our children in this house, Chien Li-chiu, in tears, told the crowd. We want to grow old in the house, and we want our children to get married and have their children in the house, too.

Chien said that, although her family owns the land, she and her husband had to borrow money to build the house 20 years ago and have just finished paying the mortgage.

An apartment in this area costs up to dozens of millions of NT dollars nowadays how would we be able to get another place to live with compensation of a few million NT dollars after the government takes away our house? Chien asked.

Another resident, Huang A-kuei, also said that she had worked hard for 20 years to earn enough money to buy the house in which she lives.

I put my lifetime savings into buying the house; I would defend it with my life if anyone tried to take it away from me, she said.

Lu Li-chin, on the other hand, questioned whether it is necessary to take over private land, as there is a lot of idle government land in the area.

He said most of the land to be taken away is good quality farmland and it would be a pity if it was turned into industrial or commercial zones.

Food and energy are the most important resources now, and there may be a World War III for food and energy, Lu said. In addition, farmland could provide another source of income for our children, so that they would not have to use social welfare resources when they are out of a job or retired.

The villagers were permitted to speak at the beginning of the meeting, which continues today.
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Old July 23rd, 2014, 04:15 PM   #379
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Taoyuan Aerotropolis needs to go ahead, even if the surrounding residential, commercial and industrial parks are not done. 3rd runway and terminal 3 needs to be done as soon as possible. Taoyuan Airport has already reached its capacity, without Terminal 3, it will significantly impact Taiwan's competitiveness
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Old August 4th, 2014, 05:54 PM   #380
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Taoyuan becoming power player: Wu
Taipei Times with CNA
28 July 2014

Taoyuan Countys strategic location, relatively young population, and strong industrial base could see it emerge as a major regional transportation hub and national growth driver in the coming years, Taoyuan County Commissioner John Wu said on Saturday.

Wu made the remarks at a forum on city competitiveness, where he said that the county, which will be upgraded to a special municipality by the end of the year, has the potential to play a significant role in boosting regional development.

The county has a population of 2.05 million with an average age of 37, the second-youngest of the nations cities and counties after Hsinchu, Wu said.

Those assets and the countys industrial strength clearly qualify it for the status upgrade that will put it on par administratively with the nations five other special municipalities: Taipei, New Taipei City, Greater Taichung, Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung, Wu said.

Taoyuan is home to 29 industrial parks and more than 10,000 factories with combined revenue of more than NT$3 trillion (US$100 billion) a year, the highest among all administrative districts for 10 consecutive years, Wu said.

At the same time, the county is also planning to position itself as a transportation, logistics and commercial hub in the Asia-Pacific region by linking the country with the rest of the region through its ambitious Taoyuan Aerotropolis project, he added.

The commissioner said the project aimed at establishing an industrial, commercial, residential and a free economic pilot zone around Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, as well as expanding it is one of 12 major infrastructure projects launched by President Ma Ying-jeous administration, and could inject NT$2.3 trillion into the local economy and create 300,000 jobs.

Once the green line of the Taoyuan MRT, the construction of which will begin next year, comes into service in 2021, it could significantly help cut down the time needed to travel from downtown Taoyuan to the airport and other urban centers, he said.


By then, all of Taoyuan will be the hinterland of development for the aerotropolis, said Wu, who is seeking re-election in the November nine-in-one polls that would make him the first mayor of Taoyuan as a special municipality.
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