Our developmentalist state scored a double whammy with the big new BOT project at the site of the Songshan Tobacco Factory, not only killing rare plants and animals but also plowing under another Taipei historic site. As of this morning, Calvin Wen, the Green Party candidate for Da-an, whom I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of weeks ago, is still ensconced in a camphor tree on the site to prevent it from being cut down:
The Songshan Tobacco Factory was established under Japanese colonial rule in the 1930s. In 2006, the Taipei City Government signed a contract with the Farglory Group to build a 429,000m² dome complex at the site in a build-operate-transfer project with a budget of more than NT$23 billion (US$695.9 million).This project is important because, with our booming economy, there simply aren't enough luxury hotels, restaurants, and department stores in Taiwan. Especially in Taipei.
The complex, to be completed next year, will include a 40,000-seat indoor multi-function sports stadium, a department store with restaurants and movie theaters, a luxury hotel with a business center and an office building.
The article goes on to note:
After the factory was closed in 1998, thick vegetation has grown at the site and it has become a habitat for many rare species. As the contractor yesterday went to remove the last tree on the construction site, Green Party Taiwan members and local residents rushed in to save it.The Executive Secretary of the Complex said that it was not illegal for construction to continue with the changes. Note that environmental impact assessments have never stopped a project in Taiwan, and lack enforcement and monitoring teeth.
Green Party Taiwan secretary-general Pan Han-shen (潘翰聲), party member Robin Winkler (文魯彬) and Parents’ Association chairman Yu Yi (游藝) from Guangfu Elementary School were arrested for trespassing and disturbing the peace.
However, Calvin Wen (溫炳原), the Green Party Taiwan candidate for the Da-an District legislative by-election, stopped workers from removing the tree after he climbed the 15m camphor tree.
“I’ll get down as soon my demands are met,” Wen told dozens of police officers, firefighters and construction workers.
“You should wait for the court rulings and the results of the second environmental impact assessment to come out. You should respect the legal process,” Wen said at the site.
Although the construction project has already passed an environmental impact assessment, a second assessment is required, as Farglory made some changes to the project.
Winkler said in a morning email that Wen was still up the tree after 20 hours, and that he was not arrested, but merely removed from the premises.
REFER TO: BOT projects in Taiwan, Environmental Impact Assessments in Taiwan