Taipei City halts work on Dome

Taipei City halts work on Dome

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Taipei City Government yesterday ordered Farglory Group to halt construction on the Taipei Dome project immediately.

The local government has found the Taipei Dome project in violation of Article 58 of the Building Act, according to a statement released late yesterday through the Taipei City secretariat.

Article 58 states that local authorities can halt building construction when it poses harm to public safety, encumbrance to public traffic or other risks.

The Department of Urban Development has sent written notice to Farglory, ordering them to halt work immediately, according to the statement.

Farglory must immediately provide a concrete plan to improve the project so that construction does not damage nearby structures, which include a historic landmark and an MRT line, it continued.

'Too arrogant': Ko

Earlier yesterday, Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je said Farglory has repeatedly failed to address risks posed by construction to the neighbouring MRT Line 5 and Songshan tobacco plant.

The city government had requested a proposal for improvement by May 18, and Farglory replied with a single page, he said, adding that he will decide within the next one or two days whether to call a halt to construction.

"These business interests are too arrogant," Ko told press.

"We will halt construction and then talk. After construction is halted, (Farglory) can come to me and explain how they plan to deal with it," he said.

Farglory Responds

Responding to the city order, Farglory Group said it will not pull the plug immediately due to safety concerns.

The group will meet with lawyers overnight and report to the Taipei City Hall Thursday morning to announce its decision, a Farglory spokesman reported in a late-night press conference.

Too Abrupt?

Kuomintang (KMT) City Councilor Wang Hong-wei yesterday called on Ko to publish measures that ensure public safety after the halt to construction.

In April, Ko said that abruptly stopping work on the Dome could threaten nearby structures, Wang said.

Ko said excavation for the Taipei Dome extends 20 meters underground and that pulling the plug means that there is the danger of collapse, which puts the Songshan tobacco plant and the MRT's Line 5 at risk, she said.

Wang said she is otherwise neutral on the city order. "If construction should be halted, then it should be halted," she said.

Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City Councilor Hsu Shu-hua said the timeout was long overdue.

The Songshan plant chimney is showing severe cracking and other damage due to construction, and Farglory has made no moves to provide solutions besides agreeing to external reinforcement, Hsu said.

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