New Taipei to ensure free visits to Shifen Waterfall
The China Post news staff
August 6, 2014, 12:00 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- New Taipei City's Tourism and Travel Department said yesterday that Shifen Waterfall (十分瀑布) in Pingxi District (平溪) belongs to the public and that the city government will ensure free visits to the scenic natural formation.
The department pointed out that Shifen Waterfall is the largest cascade waterfall in Taiwan, but that the land surrounding the waterfall was bought up by a private company which built a fence around it.
The city government was subsequently notified several times by visitors that they were asked to pay an entrance fee to see the waterfall in its entirety.
Shifen Waterfall is an important natural asset that belongs to the public, and people have the right to visit it, the department said, adding that private entities cannot restrict visitors from doing so.
In order to claim control over the surrounding land, the city government devised a plan in 2008 to set up a "Shifen Waterfall Park." The Ministry of the Interior approved the city government's plan to expropriate the land this March.
The city government said that the private company's purchasing of the surrounding land in order to charge visitors for entrance was highly unreasonable, stressing that Shifen Waterfall should not be used for personal gains.
The department explained that in order to open up the waterfall to the public, New Taipei City will complete the expropriation process today and begin construction work for public safety.
Starting from Aug. 6, the waterfall will be off limits temporarily, the city government said, adding that construction work is slated to be completed before year-end, after which the park will be opened to the public for free.