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August 24, 2017

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City gov't gives go-ahead to bottle cap factory demolition

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday announced the decision to continue demolition work at the Nangang Bottle Cap Factory (南港瓶蓋工廠).

The Taipei City Government said in May that the bottle cap factory, which dates to the Japanese colonial era, would be developed into a base for film and the creative industry.

On Sept. 20, Ko suspended demolition work at the site when protesters accused him of reneging on his campaign pledge to preserve all of the site's buildings and trees.

After reviewing the case, the city government has decided to proceed with partial demolition, Ko announced at a press conference, yesterday.

The compound's "J" building will be taken down next year, and half of the historic building named "G" will be demolished to enable roadwork, according to the mayor.

Construction crews will continue with plans to lay a 10-meter long road that runs through the factory's main gate.

Taipei City's Department of Transportation (交通局) said the project would double the daily road capacity to at least 439,000 people.

No Consensus

The Department of Cultural Affairs (文化局) said yesterday that all factory development, including the 10-meter road project, had been approved and handled according to law by the Taipei City Urban Planning Commission (都市計畫委員會).

On Sept. 18, protesters demonstrated at the site to stop construction crews from Taipei City's Land Development Agency (土地開發總隊).

The city said that it has convened hearings with civic groups, property owners, local leaders, Chunghwa Telecom (中華電信), the National Property Administration (國產署) and others involved in the case, in order to resolve the impasse.

Most recently, the city called held negotiation meetings on Oct. 5 and 7. Civic groups proposed four solutions but no consensus was reached, the city said.

Built during the Japanese colonial era, the Nangang Bottle Cap Factory comprises of 19 buildings, six of which are designated as historic sites.

Cultural preservationists have said the buildings, which include a fort and air-raid shelters that date back to World War II, are a showcase of Taiwan's architectural history.

Other activists have noted the hundreds of trees onsite that represent over 40 species.

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