Ko meets with Farglory, renegotiates contract

By Chi-hao James Lo ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (�_����) met with Farglory Group (��������) Chairman Chao Teng-hsiung (���ö�) at Taipei City Hall yesterday evening to renegotiate the Taipei Dome (�x�_�j���J) contract. The pair came to four preliminary agreements on issues surrounding the project. Following the conference, Taipei City spokesperson Lin Ho-ming (�L�b��) relayed the results of the meeting, stating that the session yielded four points of consensus between the parties. While Chao arrived punctually with his staff, Ko was over 10 minutes late due to a dinner engagement with former Taipei Mayor Huang Ta-chou (���j�w). After around 13 minutes of conversation, Ko withdrew as a result of irreconcilable differences only to return after 30 minutes following negotiations by his staff. The meeting was set up following public disagreements between the Taipei City Government and Farglory on the construction of the dome’s underpass that connects the Taipei Dome to Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (���������]). Ko has said that he does not see a reason to spend money building something that would only be used by athletes who would participate in the 2017 Taipei Summer Universiade (�O�_�@�ɤj�ǹB�ʷ|), and that the termination of the underground pass would also allow trees that were originally planned to be removed to remain where they are, satisfying the demands of tree conservation groups. In response, Chao and his company said that the underground passage not only serves as an exit for athletes during sports events, but also as an important route for evacuation and escape for future visitors to the dome. He also said that the removal of the trees would enable the expansion of roads around the dome, which would relieve potential traffic congestion. The differences prompted Chao to say that he has considered terminating the entire project, which encouraged the meeting between Ko and the consortium yesterday. Earlier yesterday, Farglory stated that it was preparing the necessary documents for the mayor so Chao may present the proper arguments to convince Ko. On the other hand, Ko said that aside from the underpass, he aims to address the 39 issues the Control Yuan had addressed regarding the construction of the dome, which were not dealt with by former Taipei City Mayor Hau Lung-bin’s (�q�s�y) administration, as well as the issues with Farglory’s overdue fines.

Meeting Concludes with Four Agreements Following the meeting, Lin relayed the results of the conference, saying that both Farglory and the Taipei City Government will establish their respective taskforces for the project, and that four preliminary agreements resulted from the meeting. The first requires Farglory to comply with the city government’s published demand in removing trees on Zhongxiao East Road and Guangfu South Road. Secondly, both parties have agreed to continue the construction of the Taipei Dome underpass, under the premise that a new design be submitted to the city government for approval following negotiations between Farglory and tree conservationists. The third consensus requires Farglory to submit a detailed construction plan for the relocation of Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall MRT Exit 5 and its ventilation shaft as soon as possible, as the completion of the project is extremely urgent. Finally, Farglory has promised to complete the Taipei Dome by the end of the year, with Taipei City Hall stating that it will provide as much support as it can.