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Old August 5th, 2014, 07:06 PM   #381
hkskyline
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New Taipei City plans 300 YouBike sites: Chu
Taipei Times with CNA
Tue, Aug 05, 2014


Source : http://taipei.youbike.com.tw/cht/index.php

New Taipei City is planning to have 300 YouBike stations and 8,000 public bikes available throughout the city by next year, its mayor said on Sunday.

New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) made the remarks at the opening of an automated YouBike rental spot at Xike Railway Station in Sijhih District (汐止).

About 60 YouBike stations with 1,600 bikes are expected to be installed by the end of this year, Chu said.

By introducing the system that has already proven a hit in neighboring Taipei, Chu said his municipality has formally entered a new era of public transportation that he touted as “Green Sharing.”

Before the Xike kiosk opened, New Taipei City had just six rental sites, with 200 bikes, all located on the border with Taipei.

As of the end of June, Taipei had 160 YouBike stations, with 5,265 bikes, according to the city government’s Web sites.

New Taipei City previously introduced a system called NewBike, which was not compatible with Taipei’s YouBike network.

Chu said that NewBike rental spots, located only in Banciao District (板橋), are to be made YouBike-compatible within two years.

The urban bike rental service integration began after a half-year study launched in January on the use of public bikes in the Greater Taipei area, the New Taipei Transportation Department said.

Research data showed that more than 50 percent of residents have the need to use public bicycles for travel between New Taipei City and Taipei, the department said.
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Old August 24th, 2014, 06:52 AM   #382
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Taoyuan land seizures could start next year
23 August 2014
Taipei Times

The government could next year secure the land needed to build a third runway part of the core of the Taoyuan Aerotropolis Project at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih said yesterday.

It is impossible that the entire project will be completed during my term. However, I hope that it can enter an irreversible phase next year, meaning that it can continue without any difficulty, he said.

Yeh said that the project had secured approval from the urban planning review committee last month and the land-seizure plan could be approved by the task force reviewing it by the end of this year.

If the process proceeds smoothly, the ministry would be able to acquire the real estate for the third runway next year, he added.

Yeh said that the ministry would see less opposition from residents because they live near the ocean and want to move to places with better job opportunities.

The ministry has also said that displaced residents would move to houses that the government would have built prior to their relocation, Yeh said.

Yeh also said that the government would not force people to move, except for households in an area that might see high aviation safety risks.

Yeh made the comments yesterday in an interview with Ying Nai-ching on her evening news program on UFO Radio.

Yeh also accented what he described as the urgent need to expand capacity for Terminal Two and start building Terminal Three, adding that he hoped that construction could begin next year as well.

Terminals One and Two in the Taoyuan Airport have capacity for 32 million travelers per year, but the airports passenger volume reached 30 million last year, he said. Expanding the service area in Terminal Two would increase its capacity by 5 million, to meet demand in the short term. We cannot wait for Terminal Three to be completed, which would take about six years.

Meanwhile, the Taoyuan International Airport Corp (TIAC) said that it is set to hold a request for information session on Sept. 25 for architecture firms design proposals for Terminal Three in a public tender next year.

In addition to being a new Taiwan landmark, Terminal Three should be able to accommodate 45 million passengers per year, it said.

TIAC invited those interested in the seminar to register before Sept. 5. For detailed information and the invitation letter, it directs interested parties to visit www.taoyuan-airport.com/english/terminal3
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Old September 11th, 2014, 11:28 AM   #383
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Rubber Duck artist asked to help block Aerotropolis
MISERABLE REALITY : A National Taiwan University professor asked Hofman to back the fight against land expropriation and return the smiles to activists faces
9 September 2014
Taipei Times

National Taiwan University professor Hsu Shih-jung on Sunday made an appeal to the Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman to draw upon his influence and block a massive land expropriation project in Taoyuan County involving the site on which one of his giant sculptures is displayed.

The Taoyuan Landscape Art Festival, which is being held from Thursday last week through this Sunday in the countys Dayuan Township, features a Moon Rabbit created by Hofman, among other works by Taiwanese and Chinese artists.

Hofman, whose Rubber Duck created a sensation in the nation last year, has said that the 25-meter-tall Moon Rabbit, made of waterproof paper, wood and Styrofoam, was inspired by Mid-Autumn Festival folktale which mentions a rabbit making an elixir on the moon.

The piece, lying against an aircraft hangar, is being displayed on the site of a now-defunct marine base located south of Taoyuan International Airport, which the county governments Aerotropolis plan has proposed demolishing so that the site can be transformed into a residential and commercial district.

The expropriation plan also includes the building of a third runway to the north of the airports current site, for which the city government plans to seize a number of residential areas.

The Aerotropolis plan is a collusion between the Taoyuan County Government and unscrupulous construction companies and is meant to drive up property prices, Hsu said in a Facebook post.

According to Hsu, the county government is aiming to seize up to 3,707 hectares of land and evict about 46,000 residents from 15,000 households for the Aerotropolis project, which covers 4,791 hectares, making the expropriation the largest in the nations history.

He told Hofman that members of the Taoyuan Aerotropolis Self-help Association protested before the opening ceremony for the Moon Rabbit artwork, but Taoyuan County Commissioner John Wu brutally evicted them with the use of police force, injuring one member in the process.

Saying that Hofmans works are not created to exist in a vacuum but with the concept of encouraging people to interact with the artwork and each other, Hsu implored the artist to help bring back the smiles to the faces of the self-help group members by facilitating interaction between residents and government officials, especially Wu.

Would you please try to have people around the world to know the miserable reality of Aerotropolis plan? Thank you very much, and I wish you to have a very successful Moon Rabit festival, he wrote.

Hsu said that as soon as he hears from Hofman, he would post the artists reply on Facebook.
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Old October 8th, 2014, 05:52 PM   #384
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Second firm loses towers project
8 October 2014
Taipei Times

BES Engineering Corp is no longer eligible to sign a contract to complete the Taipei Twin Towers project, the Taipei City Government said yesterday.

The project is to construct two skyscrapers to serve as the linchpin connecting the future Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport MRT line with Taipei Main Station, the hub of most of the citys railway and MRT lines.

BES was originally the runner-up among firms bidding for the construction project, but was awarded the tender last year after the previous winner, Taipei Gateway International Development Co, withdrew due to corruption scandals.

Last month, the city government imposed a strict series of conditions for signing a contract, requiring the firm to pay upfront for previous construction work on the site and also provide written guarantees from banks proving the firm possessed adequate liquidity to complete the project.

Taipei City Government spokesman Chang Chi-chiang said that because the firm had failed to provide the deposit and written guarantees required by the midnight Monday deadline, it had officially lost its eligibility to sign a contract for the project.

The city's announcement comes on the heels of the Taipei High Administrative Courts rejection of BES appeal for an injunction against the government.

The courts decision affirmed the governments position, stating that the government had good reasons for imposing the strict conditions for signing the contract.

The court said that even if BES was unable to meet the governments conditions, there was no reason to believe other firms would be unable to do so.

So long as the government imposed similar conditions on future bidders, there were no grounds for judicial intervention in the negotiation process, the court said.

BES Engineering representatives could not be reached for comment.

If a firm signs a contract for the Taipei Twin Towers project, it has to be able to guarantee the project will be completed and that project quality will be maintained, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin said, adding that the city would continue to require such guarantees from any future contractors.

He declined to say whether the city would award the tender to the bidder next in line or start a new round of bidding, saying only that the city would make a decision as soon as possible.
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Old October 18th, 2014, 08:00 AM   #385
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Hau saddles his successor with NT$60 billion project
Two months before leaving office, Hau Lung-bin said the city's rapid transit department would take on a troubled transit hub plan
15 October 2014
Taipei Times Excerpt

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin yesterday said that the Taipei City Government would carry out the scandal-plagued Taipei Twin Towers project on its own instead of contracting it out to a property developer.

BES Engineering Corp lost its approval to work on the project because it failed to pay fees and submit required documents after being awarded the project last year, Hau said.

BES was the second contractor to be awarded the project only to lose it. The first-place bidder, a consortium led by Taipei Gateway International Development Co, withdrew after accusations of corruption in the bidding process.

Since the city government rejected the terms offered by a third bidder, it will take on the project on its own through the municipal Department of Rapid Transit.

The project calls for two new towers in the aging western part of Taipei that are intended to link railway and subway lines to bus terminals and serve as the hub for the MRT line to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, which is set to open late next year.

Designed with one 56-floor, 243m tower and a 76-floor, 322m tower, the buildings are expected to cost more than NT$60 billion (US$1.97 billion).

Calling the project important to the citys development, Hau said that Taipei is eager to complete construction in the next five or six years.

The decision to hand it to municipal rapid transit authorities follows five failed bidding processes. Hau said the move would guarantee the quality of the towers construction.
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Old November 16th, 2014, 06:46 PM   #386
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The Taipei MRT Songshan line is now open:


The Taipei MRT’s newly completed Songshan Line is an important addition to the capital’s transportation network, as it provides more transfer options, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said at the line’s inauguration ceremony yesterday.
Under construction since 2006, the line was originally scheduled to open last year, but was held up by the discovery of a Qing Dynasty-period archeological site near the line’s Beimen Station, Taipei’s Department of Rapid Transit Systems said.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Hau and other dignitaries yesterday toured displays of the discovered artifacts within Beimen Station, before stepping into an MRT train for a ride to the line’s Songshan terminal station.
“To maximize the ease of transferring between lines, Taipei’s MRT system was designed around three horizontal and vertical lines, with Songshan the final horizontal line,” Hau said, adding that with the opening, the city’s core MRT network is now completed.
With the exception of the airport MRT line being constructed by the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (台灣高鐵) to connect Taipei Main Station to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, all new lines called for in city plans would boast only a “medium level” passenger capacity, a step below the “high level” capacity of most of Taipei’s current lines, the department said.
Meanwhile, Hau clarified earlier remarks suggesting that Taipei independent mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) winning the Nov. 29 election would lead to chaos in plans for the development of Greater Taipei’s public transportation system.
Hau, a member of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), said that a non-KMT mayor might have trouble communicating effectively with the mayors of New Taipei City and Keelung, calling on all candidates to state clearly their position on planned future MRT lines linking the three cities.
The Songshan Line is an extension of the Xindian Line, running through eight stations, most of them parallel to Nanjing E Road: Ximen, Beimen, Zhongshan, Songjiang Nanjing, Nanjing Fuxing, Taipei Arena, Nanjing Sanmin and Songshan.
With the opening of the extension, trains will no longer run directly between the Xindian and Tamsui stations.
Four stations along the line connect with other MRT lines: Ximen to the Bannan Line, Zhongshan Station to the Tamsui-Xinyi Line, Songjiang Nanjing Station to the Zhonghe-Xinlu Line, the newly renamed Nanjing Fuxing Station (formerly Nanjing East Road Station) to the Wenhu Line, as well as Songshan Station to the Taiwan Railways Administration’s Songshan Station.
The Songshan Line is to start service at 6am today, allowing free travel for EasyCard holders for one month, the Taipei City government said.
(From Taipei Times)
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Old November 19th, 2014, 04:54 AM   #387
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They have been building along Nanjing East Road for so many years! Finally!
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Old November 22nd, 2014, 10:39 PM   #388
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Taoyuan airport sets NT$227m upgrade
The airports operator said the renovation is meant to help it service 5 million more passengers per year, predicting traffic of 40 million people by 2016
19 November 2014
Taipei Times Excerpt

Taoyuan International Airport Corp (TIAC) yesterday said it has budgeted about NT$227 million (US$7.38 million) to renovate the arrival hall at the airports Terminal Two, adding that construction is to be completed by June next year.

TIAC senior vice president Wen Yung-sung said the company wants to decorate the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport arrival hall with images of Taiwan to make visitors from overseas feel at home.

According to Wen, the project will replace the Tourism Bureaus Visitor Center and other service facilities with a ring-shaped structure incorporating the service counters for the bureau, as well as car rental and other services.

The service area was originally designed to accommodate 17 million passengers a year, but after the renovation work is completed, it is to be capable of serving 22 million, Wen said.

In addition, the halls flight information board will be turned into a multimedia presentation platform displaying various kinds of information to passengers.

The renovation is one of multiple projects being undertaken by the company to meet the rapid increase in passengers using the international airport.
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Old December 5th, 2014, 04:09 PM   #389
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Wed, Dec 03, 2014
Taipei has yet to begin appropriating Wenmeng Building
Taipei Times Excerpt



The Taipei City Government yesterday said it has yet to begin appropriating the Wenmeng Building (文萌樓), despite its earlier promises.

In late October, Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Liu Wei-kung (劉維公) promised to begin the process of “irreversibly” appropriating the former brothel by the end of last month if its owner continued to refuse to submit a feasible plan for the building’s preservation, including cooperating with the Collective of Sex Workers and Supporters (COWAS) headquartered in the building.

The building, a center in the struggle against Taipei’s abolition of legalized prostitution in the 1990s, was designated a historic site in 2006. Its owner has sought to expel COWAS from the premises.

Lin Chang-chieh (林長杰), the division head at the cultural affairs department responsible for the matter, said actions toward the building’s appropriation have yet to be taken while the department waits for directives from the Ministry of Culture.
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Old December 7th, 2014, 05:30 AM   #390
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
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/
THSRC is doomed: Yeh
Despite leaving without solving financial problems facing the THRSRC and Taoyuan Aerotropolis, Yeh was philosophical on his departure from government
2 December 2014
Taipei Times Excerpt

In remarks following his resignation yesterday, Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih said that the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) is doomed to go bankrupt, adding it could happen as soon as the beginning of next year.

*****************************

Yeh said his other regret as a minister was not being able to see the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project materialized, one of the flagship programs of President Ma Ying-jeous i-Taiwan 12 public construction projects.

Asked about his plans, Yeh said he has decided to return to National Sun Yat-Sen University to teach, even if he is asked by the government to stay on in some capacity.

I am honored to serve the nation and I am glad I have accomplished something as a minister. For that, I have no regrets, he said, adding that government officials should understand that they might have step down at any time.

The 57-year-old politician became minister after his predecessor, Mao Chi-kuo, was appointed vice premier. Yeh was the deputy minister at the time.

Besides the financial problems facing the THSRC and the Taoyuan Aerotropolis, Yeh also did not resolve the compensation issue of the former freeway toll fee collectors, who lost their jobs after the nation launched a distance-based electronic toll-collection system.
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Old December 13th, 2014, 06:49 PM   #391
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Ko Wen-je nominee vows city development changes
Lin Jou-min said cases like an urban renewal project in Shilin should be dealt with privately and the city government should not intervene
13 December 2014
Taipei Times Excerpt

Lin Jou-min, who is to take on the role of director of the Taipei City Department of Urban Development, is critical of the current urban renewal policies and eager to make changes in the capital.

Having no previous experience of working in government, the Taipei mayor-elect Ko Wen-je appointee said: I agree with Ko Wen-je that Taipei is an ugly city, but I am confident that we can fix it bit by bit, and transform the city.

Some people might think Ko is thinking too far ahead when he talks about what Taipei will be in 50 years, but it does not mean that you will only see the change 50 years from now, Lin said during an interview after his appointment was confirmed by Ko.

We will actually let people see that there have been small changes made in the city every few months, he said.

I must say that making the city look beautiful is only superficial, he added. What is more important is to make some profound changes.

Lin said he is eager to work and already has something planned before his inauguration in two weeks.

Lin received a masters degree in architecture and urban design from Columbia University in New York, worked as an architect for 12 years in the city, owns his own architectural firm and has taken part in several urban design projects.

In addition, he has also won several architecture and urban design awards in Taiwan, the US and Germany.

He renounced his US citizenship to work in Kos city government.

I think the urban development department is too much like a contractor, because it only passively accepts applications for privately initiated urban renewal projects and works with construction firms, Lin said. I think that the department should take a more active role in designing and initiating urban renewal projects to transform the city.

He said that, once sworn in, he would distinguish between public and private urban renewal projects.
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Old December 22nd, 2014, 06:02 PM   #392
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Chance of new rail route very low, MOTC boss says
Yeh Kuang-shih said Kos proposed route would only be considered if it were proven not to affect Feitsui Reservoir, but the aerotropolis would go ahead
11 December 2014
Taipei Times Excerpt



The government would consider building a direct railway line connecting Taipei and Yilan via the Feitsui Reservoir in New Taipei City only if the incoming Taipei City Government can provide evidence showing that the construction would not affect the water quality in the reservoir, Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih said yesterday.

Because of strong opposition from the Taipei City Government, as well as the [Environmental Protection Administrations] Environmental Impact Assessment Committee, the government chose a route bypassing the Feitsui Reservoir. The choice has also been approved by the Executive Yuan. Based on the chosen route, we have evaluated the projects feasibility and are getting ready to have its environmental impact assessment done, Yeh said.

The possibility of selecting a new route and redoing all the administrative procedures is very low, unless there is new evidence indicating that the new route will not affect the water quality in the reservoir, he added.

Yeh made the statement during an interview with political commentator Tang Hsiang-lung, when he was asked about Taipei mayor-elect Ko Wen-jes proposal to build a direct railway line connecting Taipei and Yilan under the reservoir.

Kos comments drew heavy criticism from environmental activists. Two of Kos advisers on environmental protection even threatened to quit.

Yeh said that the project is very controversial and many have questioned the necessity of building such a railway.

While the direct railway line may shorten the travel time between Taipei and Yilan, Yeh said that passengers would have to spend a total of about 30 minutes in the dark because the railway line will have a few long tunnels along the way, which is unpleasant for some.

Yeh said the project would take 10 years to complete, and some people had asked whether Taiwan would still need a new railway line then, given that the nation will soon experience negative population growth due to its low birth rate.
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Old January 15th, 2015, 07:13 PM   #393
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Ko says backup plan to Taipei Dome ready if needed
ALLEGATIONS:The Taipei mayor said the city is dealing with a situation left by the previous administration and planned to investigate allegations of inappropriate deals
15 January 2015
Taipei Times Excerpt

Taipei has a backup plan if the Taipei Dome is unavailable for the 2017 Universiade, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je said yesterday as controversy over the construction site continues.

I have seen the backup plan, but it would be used only as a last resort, Ko said, adding that Taipei had other stadiums that could be used for the event in case the Taipei Dome was unavailable.

The mayors comments came after a public falling out yesterday between the Taipei City Government and Farglory Land Development Co, which won the bid to construct and manage the site under the administration of former Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin.

The controversy over the project has festered throughout its construction, coming to a head in April last year after the firms attempt to uproot trees next to the site led to a standoff with environmental activists. Activists have since camped out to prevent the trees from being removed.

Following earlier comments by Ko saying that the city was reconsidering its plans, Farglory chairman Chao Teng-hsiung on Tuesday said that failing to remove the trees would endanger public safety, because spectators would be unable to evacuate effectively in the event of an emergency.

He added that further delaying the removal of the trees threatened to push back the projects completion, raising the possibility that it would not be available for the 2017 Universiade, a major international sporting competition.
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Old January 31st, 2015, 07:45 PM   #394
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Sun, Feb 01, 2015
Egg-shaped monstrosity is a blight on Taipei
Taipei Times Excerpt



The storm of controversy surrounding the Taipei Dome project continues to spread, with public opinion, the media and social networking sites unanimously calling it a scandal.

The public has finally woken up to the fact that, from the very beginning, this was an illegal development project: a stitch-up between the government and the private sector, helped along the way by politicians. It is thus a great pity that during the course of the recent negotiations between the Taipei City Government and the contractor, Farglory Land Development Co, the issue of tree protection was pushed to one side.

In support of the Songshan Tree Protection Volunteer Union, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said: “If there is no need to move the trees, why is a set of standard operating procedures required to rationalize it?”

This is about values, and is not something that can be substituted with engineering solutions, he said. “If we don’t allow trees to be trees, how can we call ourselves a civilized city?”

By early 2008, information about irregularities in connection with the Taipei Dome project had already been submitted to then-Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), and in the following year, the Control Yuan issued a correction. However, within the context of repeated contract violations by Farglory, Hau chose to turn a blind eye.

On top of this, a large number of the officials protecting the company within Taipei City Government were up to their necks in work shielding the firm — the reason for the present calamitous state of affairs. With the project now seriously delayed, Farglory has again violated the terms of its contract. How should Ko react?

The Taipei City government’s recent approach in dealing with the Taipei Dome project and related build-operate-transfer (BOT) projects has been to pursue financial penalties and exercise contractual rights to fight for so-called “citizen’s rights,” while neglecting the more fundamental issue of the public interest.

Built in the wrong location, once in operation the Taipei Dome will greatly affect traffic, the environment and public safety. For example, due to the public-private collaborative structure of the project, there has been an explosion in commercial facilities occupying areas originally designated as emergency dispersal points.

Furthermore, the commercial aspect of the development dwarfs the sporting side, in contravention of the area’s designation as a cultural and recreational zone within the Taipei municipal strategic plan. Demanding financial penalties and exercising contractual rights cannot replace these vital areas of public interest.

The tender process for the Taipei Dome project contained a hidden upper limit for modified information, which violates regulations of the Government Procurement Act (政府採購法) and the Promotion of Private Participation in Construction Projects Act (促進民間參與公共建設法). At the end of last year, it was confirmed that Farglory had violated the contract.

The 2017 Universiade organizing committee then publicly made it known that the existing Taipei Gymnasium could be used as a substitute for the opening and closing ceremonies, and that everything was in place except for one last crucial element.

Hopefully Ko will avoid following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Hau, and instead refuse to continue to safeguard the private interests of Farglory.
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Old February 7th, 2015, 02:26 PM   #395
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Sun, Feb 01, 2015
Egg-shaped monstrosity is a blight on Taipei
Taipei Times Excerpt



The storm of controversy surrounding the Taipei Dome project continues to spread, with public opinion, the media and social networking sites unanimously calling it a scandal.
City considering changes to Taipei Dome project
Ko Wen-je also expressed confidence that real-estate developer Radium Life would comply with the citys demands because it is implicated in many cases
4 February 2015
Taipei Times Excerpt

The city government is considering requiring design changes to the Taipei Dome construction project, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je said yesterday.

Frankly speaking, we think that changes are warranted to the design, Ko said. How to evacuate in the case of an emergency is something that concerns me greatly as mayor.

He said that because traffic on Zhongxiao E Road, which borders the project site, is congested during rush hours, there are concerns about what would happen if 60,000 people had to be evacuated from the completed facility.

Ko said the city government was considering clearing some office space on Guangfu S Road to open up additional evacuation routes, adding that the city would have to thoroughly research potential changes to zoning and traffic flow before negotiating with Farglory Construction Co, to which the city outsourced the project.

Any city government demands for design changes to the project could further complicate existing talks to renegotiate the project contract.

Ko said the city government has not yet laid out a clear position on whether royalties that the firm must pay to the city government should be raised because of design changes, which would affect Farglorys bottom line.


Ko orders new evacuation plan; clashes at dome site
7 February 2015
Taipei Times Excerpt

Farglory Construction Co has two weeks to provide an evacuation plan for the entire Taipei Dome complex, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je said yesterday.

The original evacuation plan only included the dome itself, without any plan for the surrounding area, Ko said. This means there will be problems if construction continues.

Ko said earlier this week that the city was considering clearing out some of the complex's planned office space to open up additional evacuation routes. He said yesterday that Farglory had two weeks to submit a new evacuation plan for the entire structure, while the city conducts its own re-evaluation.

Ko added that city is prepared for the worst-case scenario, with the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2017 Universiade moved to the Taipei Track and Field Stadium if the Taipei Dome is unavailable due to construction delays.

Meanwhile, fighting broke out early yesterday morning between Farglory workers and activists from the Songshan Tree Protection Volunteer Union after the corporation attempted to forcibly begin the transplantation of trees next to the construction site. Environmental activists have camped out next to the site since April last year to prevent the trees from being removed.
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Old February 18th, 2015, 10:26 AM   #396
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Universiade plans called wasteful
Two Taipei city councilors cited a report from the Universiades organizers that said none of the facilities that they inspected met international standards
14 February 2015
Taipei Times Excerpt



The arrangements for hosting the 2017 Universiade are wasteful and inefficient, with many event sites falling short of international standards, Taipei city councilors said yesterday.

The city governments arrangements for many competitions dont measure up to international norms, instead wasting money on poor design, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Wang Wei-chung said.

He and DPP Taipei City Councilor Kao Chia-yu said the plans were riddled with problems, citing an inspection report in April last year by the International Sports Federation (FISU).

The FISU organizes the biennial Universiade, an international college student athletic competition considered second only to the Olympics in terms of the number of events and athletes.

The Universiades organizing committee said that of the sites they visited, none were up to international standards, Kao said. We demand that the Taipei Universiade organizing committee find ways to address the problems as quickly as possible.

The councilors said that the city had failed to address problems identified in the report, with their criticism focused on plans to renovate existing swimming pools to host the Universiades water sports.

While renovation plans were originally aimed at cutting costs by reducing the number of new facilities to be constructed, the costs of renovation will be 10 times as much as the temporary Murtha pool recommended by FISU, while failing to meet international standards, Kao said.

The councilors also said competition sites were too spread out, and criticized delays in the construction of the competitions tennis venue, which is set to be completed only one month before the competition begins.
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Old February 20th, 2015, 05:28 AM   #397
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Ko silent on Taipei Dome seating reduction rumors
5 February 2015
Taipei Times Excerpt

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je yesterday refused to confirm or deny rumors that seating in the Taipei Dome could be reduced due to safety concerns.

The Taipei Dome is already half-completed tailoring clothes when you are putting them on is difficult, Ko said in response to reporters questions, adding that the city government still needed one or two weeks to consider how to evacuate the structure and deal with traffic in the event of an emergency.

Kos remarks followed a report in the latest edition of Chinese-language Next Magazine that said the city was considering reducing seating in the arena from 40,000 to between 20,000 and 30,000 due to safety concerns.

Taipei is holding new negotiations with Farglory Construction Co which won the contract to build and manage the arena following controversy over the contract terms negotiated under the previous administration.

On Tuesday, Ko said the city was considering requiring the firm to remove some of the planned office space in the venue to open up additional evacuation routes.

Ko yesterday refused to say whether the safety concerns were linked to negligence by previous city administrations, referring the matter to Taipeis Clean Government Commission.

What I care about right now is whether or not to construct [the Taipei Dome], and how to handle the aftermath if it is constructed, Ko said.

He reiterated his concerns over whether the structure could be evacuated properly given congestion on surrounding roads, while acknowledging that any changes would require renegotiating Farglorys contract to take into account the impact on the firms profits.

Taipei Dome Project executive secretary Hu Pei-lun said that ending the contract might require the city to purchase the construction from Farglory, depending upon the specific circumstances and how legal responsibility is apportioned.
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Old February 22nd, 2015, 05:45 PM   #398
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Postpone debate on relocation of Taipei Songshan Airport
The China Post Excerpt
February 16, 2015

Source : http://pic.feeyo.com/posts/610/6105376.html


The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC, 交通部) rejected calls to relocate Taipei City's Taipei Songshan Airport (TSA, 松山機場) to New Taipei last week, saying such a move could result in aviation safety issues.

Debate over the necessity of maintaining the airport in the downtown area reignited on Feb. 4 when TransAsia Airways (復興航空) Flight GE235 crashed into the Keelung River just after takeoff. Even though the location itself might not have had anything to do with the crash, these concerns over the location of TSA are at the center of a decadelong (political) controversy that has nothing to do with business developments. Should authorities maintain an airport in the city center? Is an airport an obstacle to the city's development? Should the available land be used for other purposes in the heart of the capital city? There are no simple answers to these questions, even though we believe that they are mostly anachronistic — they are mistakenly placed in a time where they do not belong. Why?

To begin with, the question of the location of TSA does not take into account the changing role of the airport since it was built by the Japanese, the country's colonial rulers from 1895 to 1945, in 1936.

First known as Matsuyama Airdrome, the airbase played a key role in the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II, before becoming a hub for planes carrying civilians and cargo. After the airport was taken over by the Republic of China (R.O.C.) Air Force, it was renamed, renovated and expanded several times as the number of domestic and international flights grew steadily.

In 1979, authorities eventually shifted all international flights to the newly constructed Chiang Kai-shek International Airport (now Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, TTIA), while TSA began serving only domestic flights. When domestic flight industry growth came to a halt with the opening of the northern section of the Formosa Freeway in 1997 and the completion of Taiwan High Speed Rail in 2007, the improving cross-strait relations after President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office in 2008 successfully demonstrated that TSA could become a cross-strait transportation hub by taking advantage of its convenient location in the nation's economic center.

These developments show that the airport's location has never hampered but has rather supported the city's development. Today, TSA's ability to provide city-to-city flights is its biggest draw, especially among business travelers from mainland China, South Korea and Japan. Major work has already been done to accommodate the growing number of cross-strait and international flights, including the upgrading of international and domestic terminals, rerouting of road traffic in the area and the opening of Songshan Airport Station on the Taipei Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system's Wenhu Line. So we shouldn't dwell too long on those difficult economic times and should stick instead to the development of the airport for the time being. After all, the more than 5.6 million passengers who take advantage of the downtown airport show that travelers appreciate the benefits of arriving and departing in the city center. Such convenience further translated in 2012 into more than NT$1.5 billion in operational revenue for the airport, and by extension the city, not including the taxes.

With this information in mind, why should the city suddenly turn its back on the past and once again spend big money to turn the area into another public park for the benefit of the real estate sector around TSA?
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Old March 5th, 2015, 08:12 PM   #399
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Tue, Mar 03, 2015
Taipei Times Excerpt
Taipei Dome safety review rushed: report
Talks of the Taipei City Government dissolving its contract with Farglory is premature until a committee finishes its investigation, a government spokesman said

Media reports yesterday claimed that safety plans for the Taipei Dome (台北大巨蛋) were rushed through without significant review of required safety amendments.

The Storm Media Group reported that concerns over the safety of the site’s evacuation plans were put aside in the rush to issue a construction license to the contractor, Farglory Construction Co, just days before a city council imposed deadline.

The future of the stadium under construction in downtown Taipei has been up in the air after Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) last month stated that the city was considering requiring major design changes.

Citing safety concerns, Taipei deputy mayors Teng Chia-chi (鄧家基) and Charles Lin (林欽榮) have both said that the city does not rule out demolishing the half-completed structure.

Storm Media’s article said that the site’s fire evacuation plan was passed just days after members of a Construction and Planning Agency subcommittee ordered Farglory to make substantial revisions, raising questions about whether the firm had been given a pass to allow Taipei to issue a construction license days before a city council imposed deadline for reopening the contract bidding process.

The article cited an unnamed senior city government official as saying that computer tests of site evacuation plans found that it would take as long as half an hour to fully evacuate, far longer than the eight-minute safety standard.

Planned shopping malls obstructing the structures exits were to blame, he said, adding that Farglory had rejected the city’s demands to reduce the shopping space.

The report said that the city would dissolve the firm’s contract if the structure was found to be unsafe, purchase it from Farglory and either demolish or retool it.
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Old March 7th, 2015, 06:41 PM   #400
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Thu, Mar 05, 2015
Taipei reaches tentative deal on ex-air force site
MRT FUNDS MISSING? Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je said that NT$10 billion has not been paid to compensate the city for the construction of the Zhonghe-Xinlu MRT Line
Taipei Times Excerpt



The Taipei City government and Executive Yuan have reached a tentative consensus over the future of the former Air Force Command Headquarters site, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday.

He said that in a meeting late on Tuesday night with Vice Premier Simon Chang (張善政), the municipal government agreed with the national government’s new plans to turn the complex into a creative park.

While the Executive Yuan had intended to construct housing developments on much of the site, Premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) said last month that the site and buildings would be preserved in its entirety.

Ko also acknowledged that the Executive Yuan’s new plans would create complications for his initiative to expand the city’s supply of public rental housing.

“There is not much vacant land owned by the city, with most being in the hands of the national government,” Ko said.

According to previous plans to develop the complex — which occupies 7.15 hectares of prime real estate in the heart of the capital, the city government would have been entitled to 40 percent of the site after a rezoning process, land that it intended to trade with the national government for space at a former army maintenance depot in Xinyi District (信義), as well as other sites, said Liu Hui-wen (劉惠雯), head engineer and spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Urban Development.

She said that the former air force site would not need to be rezoned under new Executive Yuan plans, meaning that the city would have to compensate the national government for any land appropriated to construct housing developments.

Ko said that while the city government would be willing to provide compensation for the land, the specific amount paid should be less than that what would be paid by private firms, adding that further talks with the national government would be needed to set terms.

The Executive Yuan said that it welcomed other local governments to make proposals for the site.

Executive Yuan spokesperson Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群), citing Chang, said that a public call for proposals for the use of the site is to be launched at the end of this month, adding that “the Taipei City Government is welcome, as are all other cities and counties, to submit proposals.”

Meanwhile, Ko said that he had brought up the issue of NT$10 billion (US$318 million) that was supposed to be paid to the provincial government by Taipei’s Department of Rapid Transportation Systems for the construction of the Zhonghe-Xinlu MRT Line.

After the provincial government was streamlined in 1998, the city never received the money, he said.

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