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Despite court order, science park's Erlin project to continue: Chu

Despite court order, science park's Erlin project to continue: Chu

Taipei, Oct. 29 (CNA) The Central Taiwan Science Park's fourth expansion project will continue despite a court ruling earlier this month requiring that permission for the development of the project be revoked, the nation's science minister said Monday. Cyrus C. Y. Chu, the head of the National Science Council, said the government's policy has to be continuous, and he stressed that the project in Erlin Township in Changhua County "will continue to solicit manufacturers." He made the remarks at a legislative committee hearing at which legislators asked the council, which oversees the nation's science parks, to stop the Erlin project's development following the Taipei High Administrative Court's Oct. 11 ruling. Chu said that although the Taipei court ruled to revoke permission for the park expansion project, the judicial process is still ongoing, and work on the development will not stop. "Unless the Supreme Administrative Court makes a final ruling to revoke the permit for the project, or the Cabinet decides to shut it down before that, the NSC will continue the project according to the law," Chu said. Hocheng Hong, Chu's deputy, described the expansion project as one of the government's major initiatives. "Since it has been approved by law, it cannot be scrapped unilaterally," Hocheng said. The NSC submitted the 431-hectare Erlin project, originally intended to support the development of the optoelectronics sector, to the Ministry of the Interior for approval in 2009. After the project's environmental impact assessment received "conditional approval," the ministry issued the park a development permit. But problems mounted after that. Taiwan's optoelectronics and flat panel industries continue to suffer from the global economic downturn in late 2008, and AU Optronics Corp., one of Taiwan's leading flat panel makers and the largest investor in the park, has postponed its investment plan at the Erlin site. The building of the science park also drew protests from environmental activists, local residents and farmers, who worried that the park would pollute the local environment and channel irrigation water away from agricultural purposes. In 2010, 85 local residents filed two complaints to the Executive Yuan against the project, but both were turned down. They then filed a complaint with the administrative court to request that the Ministry of the Interior revoke its permit allowing the development of the Erlin site. The court ruled that the Ministry of the Interior's decision was flawed because it did not consider the overdevelopment of science parks and industrial zones in Taiwan and that a lot of land had been left idle. There was no need to spend a lot of money developing the project, the court decided. The verdict was just the latest setback for the project. The Dadu weir project -- built to divert water to the science park -- was suspended under pressure from farmers and environmentalists in 2011. In March, Chu said the project faced an uncertain future due to the suspension of a water project and the stagnant development of the optoelectronics industry, which was projected as the park's major tenant. Faced with these problems, Chu announced in August that the NSC would shift the park's focus to attracting precision machinery producers. (By Ho Meng-kuei and Lilian Wu)


Updated : 2021-08-05 22:27 GMT+08:00