TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In a move likely to break the two-year deadlock surrounding the construction of the Taipei Dome (大巨蛋), the Ministry of Interior (MOI) Thursday approved adapted plans concerning fire prevention and safety escapes for the project.
Work on the 40,000-seat arena complex was halted in May 2015 amid sharp differences between Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and chief contractor Farglory Group (遠雄) chief Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄), for a large part about safety concerns.
The MOI’s Construction and Planning Agency (營建署) said Thursday a committee of 11 experts had held 19 meetings to review the new design plans and told Farglory about its unanimous decision.
The next step was that the company needed to apply with the Taipei City Government for a relevant change in the building permit, the MOI said. It was up to the city to determine whether the changed plans would need new environmental impact and urban design reviews, according to the MOI.
Separately, a key adviser to Mayor Ko admitted during questioning by the Taipei City Council Thursday that she had held secret meetings with Chao.
Tsai Pi-ju (蔡壁如), officially a city government adviser, said she had met the Farglory chairman “two or three times,” the first time with the mayor, to discuss the possibility of ending the Taipei Dome contract between the city and the company. She came under fire from opposition city councilors because no deputy mayor had been present, while no record of the meetings and the discussions reportedly existed.