Thousands fear compulsory purchase of their land, and eviction, for massive Taiwan aerotropolis + 3rd runway
A huge airport city, or Aerotropolis, is planned around Taiwan Taoyan airport. However, its construction needs a great deal of land (about 3,000 hectares), and that many thousands of people (about 12,000 households) are moved. Residents who may face forced eviction, for inadequate compensation, have been battling against the threat since last year. Some of the land is earmarked for a new runway – the airport already has two runways, and only about 30 million passengers per year. One person, in tears, facing expropriation said: “My family has been on the plot of land on which our two-story house now stands since my great-grandparents’ time. We got married in this house, we raised our children in this house ….We want to grow old in the house, and we want our children to get married and have their children in the house, too.” People question why good quality farmland would be destroyed, and whether corruption in high places has been a reason for the airport plans.
An aerotropolis is an urban plan in which the layout, infrastructure, and economy is centred on an airport, existing as an airport city. It is similar in form and function to a traditional metropolis, which contains a central city core and its commuter-linked suburbs. The Taoyuan Aerotropolis s a large urban planning development at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. The development is supported by the Taoyuan County government. It is to be zoned. The development requires a total of 3,200 hectares land acquisition and over 40,000 people have to be relocated. Once the Aerotropolis has been completed, the Taoyuan International Airport will be expanded to 1,800 hectares from the current 1,200 hectares, and the third runway will also be built.
Residents protest Aerotropolis
REALLY NECESSARY? Resident Lu Li-chin questioned whether it is necessary to take over private land, as there is a lot of idle government land close to the airport
By Loa Iok-sin (Taipei Times)
Residents who may face forced eviction due to the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project demonstrated outside the Construction and Planning Agency in Taipei yesterday as a committee met to review the project, urging it to exclude them from the project.
With the aim of creating an industrial, commercial, residential and a free economic pilot zone around Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, as well as an expansion of the airport, the Aerotropolis project would require the expropriation of more than 3,000 hectares of private land, affecting more than 12,000 households.
“My family has been on the plot of land on which our two-story house now stands since my great-grandparents’ time. We got married in this house, we raised our children in this house,” Chien Li-chiu (簡麗秋), in tears, told the crowd. “We want to grow old in the house, and we want our children to get married and have their children in the house, too.”
Chien said that, although her family owns the land, she and her husband had to borrow money to build the house 20 years ago and have just finished paying the mortgage.
“An apartment in this area costs up to dozens of millions of NT dollars nowadays — how would we be able to get another place to live with compensation of a few million NT dollars after the government takes away our house?” Chien asked.
Another resident, Huang A-kuei (黃阿桂), also said that she had worked hard for 20 years to earn enough money to buy the house in which she lives.
“I put my lifetime savings into buying the house; I would defend it with my life if anyone tried to take it away from me,” she said.
Lu Li-chin (呂理欽), on the other hand, questioned whether it is necessary to take over private land, as there is a lot of idle government land in the area.
He said most of the land to be taken away is good quality farmland and it would be a pity if it was turned into industrial or commercial zones.
“Food and energy are the most important resources now, and there may be a World War III for food and energy,” Lu said. “In addition, farmland could provide another source of income for our children, so that they would not have to use social welfare resources when they are out of a job or retired.”
The villagers were permitted to speak at the beginning of the meeting, which continues today.
Wikipedia says of Taiwan Taoyuan airport:
Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is an international airport serving the capital city of Taiwan, Taipei, and the northern parts of the country. Located about 40 km west of Taipei the airport is Taiwan’s largest airport.
The runways and taxiways are set to be expanded by early 2015 to accommodate large planes (including the Airbus A380).
As part of the “Taoyuan Aerotropolis” plan (scheduled for completion in 2019/2020), existing terminals will be expanded, a new terminal will be constructed, an aerospace industrial park will be established, and special zones for cargo, passenger and logistic services will be developed.
Police, aerotropolis protesters clash outside meeting
By Loa Iok-sin (Taipei Times)
Residents and activists against the Taoyuan Aerotropolis (桃園航空城) project clashed with the police outside the headquarters of the Construction and Planning Agency (CPA) in Taipei yesterday as they were refused admittance to a meeting that was to decide whether their land would be seized by the government.
Holding banners protesting against the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project while chanting slogans asking for the Urban Planning Review Committee to allow them to attend the meeting, local residents who are affected by the project and rights activists supporting them demonstrated outside the agency, as police officers formed a line to block them from entering the complex.
“This project will have a huge impact on our lives and properties. Why can’t we attend the meeting?” a resident asked police officers, but received no response.
After a brief standoff, some demonstrators decided to climb over the wall of the complex, but their attempt failed when police officers held on to their feet, preventing them from moving.
A few minutes later, the committee finally allowed representatives of the protesters to attend the meeting, but they were only given a few minutes to talk and were then told to leave, triggering another wave of protests.
“Thousands of hectares of private land is to be seized to build a third runway for Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, but we really doubt the necessity of it with the declining numbers of passengers and flights using the airport,” Chan Hsien-chang (詹憲章), spokesman for the Taoyuan Aerotropolis Self-Help Association, told the meeting.
“Even if it’s absolutely necessary, do we really need to pick an option that would affect the largest number of residents?” Chan asked.
Chan went on to allege that the entire project is to benefit big corporations with connections in the government, as the second phase of the project involves the construction of commercial and industrial centers, while some local politicians are also proposing building a casino resort.
“The details of the project are yet to be drawn up and it is not due to start for another 20 years, so why the hurry to take our land?” Chan asked.
Deputy Minister of the Interior Hsiao Chia-chi (蕭家淇), who presided over the meeting, did not offer a response.
Soon after Chan and the other representatives had spoken, they were asked to leave.
Another protester, Pan Chung-cheng (潘忠政), refused to leave the building and was forcibly removed by police officers.
The committee approved the project at about noon, but the residents only learned about it hours later when they were asked to comment by reporters.
They vowed to continue their resistance to the project.