Ko blames Taipei Dome row on ‘greed’; dis­man­tling pos­si­ble

The China Post - - LOCAL -

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je yes­ter­day blamed “greed” for the row over the Taipei Dome project, which his ad­min­is­tra­tion has now deemed un­safe, with the pos­si­bil­ity of hav­ing to dis­man­tle the closed base­ball sta­dium.

“Now the struc­tures have been built, but where are the peo­ple sup­posed to evac­u­ate?” asked the mayor, re­fer­ring to find­ings by a team of Taipei-com­mis­sioned in­ves­ti­ga­tors that the de­sign of the base­ball park could not cope with an emer­gency.

He said there was no prob­lem with the orig­i­nal de­sign of the project, but sub­se­quent changes to sharply ex­pand the floor space have re­duced the room that could ac­com­mo­date the evac­uees in an emer­gency.

“This is greed,” said Ko, ap­par­ently re­fer­ring to the ex­pan­sion that could max­i­mize the prof­its for the con­trac­tor, Far­glory, of the build-op­er­ate-trans­fer project to build a base­ball park that in­cludes a closed sta­dium, a ho­tel, a shop­ping mall, a movie theater com­plex and a com­mer­cial build­ing.

The mayor was de­liv­er­ing a key­note speech in a pri­vate event in Taipei, but it marked the first time that he has made open com­ments on the Taipei Dome project since the team of in­ves­ti­ga­tors re­leased their find­ings.

Com­puter sim­u­la­tions the team con­ducted show that some of the peo­ple would still be trapped in­side the sta­dium one hour af­ter evac­u­a­tion be­gan.

The team has sug­gested two op­tions: ei­ther to tear down the sta­dium and keep the other struc­tures; or keep the sta­dium and re­move the shop­ping mall.

Far­glory has chal­lenged the team’s find­ings, dis­miss­ing the com­puter sim­u­la­tions and the two op­tions given it by the city. It has stressed that it will fin­ish the project as planned, or the city gov­ern­ment will have to buy it back.

But Ko said it is in­con­ceiv­able that changes to the de­sign were al­lowed af­ter the con­tract was signed be­tween Far­glory and the city gov­ern­ment. Hau Lung-bin was mayor at the time.

It is “fishy” that Far­glory knew the con­tract could be rene­go­ti­ated later when sign­ing it.

Mean­while, the Con­struc­tion and Plan­ning Agency (CPA) un­der the In­te­rior Min­istry urged both sides to han­dle the dis­pute in a “ra­tio­nal” and “ob­jec­tive” way, and seek a so­lu­tion as soon as pos­si­ble.

The CPA said it re­spects the city gov­ern­ment’s move to raise the public safety re­quire­ments for the Taipei Dome project, but main­tained that the fire-pre­ven­tion and evac­u­a­tion plans that Far­glory had sub­mit­ted had been ap­proved by ex­perts com­mis­sioned by the In­te­rior Min­istry.

The tools the ex­perts had used to eval­u­ate the plans were in­ter­na­tion­ally cer­ti­fied, the CPA said, adding the plans were sub­se­quently ap­proved by the In­te­rior Min­istry and the Taipei City Gov­ern­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.