2014年4月11日 星期五

The Near Future in the Present Tense

Every month or so we get a newsletter from the Taitung County Government 台東縣政府.  This newsletter is a platform for the County Magistrate, Justin Hwang 黃建庭 to announce his administration's recent achievements, and to discuss issues pertinent to the ongoing development of Taitung County.

Below are some points taken from this newsletter.  All of these points have to do with recent or soon-to-be-realized developments in Taitung County.  They might also serve as an outline of how Taitung will change in the near future.


Taitung's garbage incinerator

1. The Maintenance of the Garbage Incinerator 焚化爐

Some local history: as the landfill near Shan Li 山里 neared capacity, Taitung County began shipping its garbage to Pingtung County 屏東縣.  Pingtung County charges a fee for this service, and the county responded to this fee by charging private businesses a fee relative to the amount of garbage they produce.  This added fee has gone a long way towards reducing waste in the area.

There are many environmental concerns surrounding this incinerator, though it has never, to my knowledge, been used.  While this incinerator is NOT being used, the Taitung County Government is paying for its upkeep.  When you think about it, Taitung is paying twice to dispose of garbage outside the county - once to the Pingtung County Government, and once to maintain an incinerator that is not being used.

Tai Ping River and bridge spanning Jung Hua Road

2. Development of Areas Near the Tai Ping River 太平溪

Many sites have been developed, or are being developed for recreational use.  These sites include the riverbanks near Jung Hua Road 中華路, that weird beehive thing in the Seashore Park 海濱公園的國際地標, an ocean trail 太平洋步道, new sidewalks downtown 騎樓整平, the bike trail that loops around the city 通學步道, the sugar factory 台東糖廠, and the municipal swimming pool 湧泉運動公園.  While I applaud these achievements, some of them were completed so long ago that I'm not sure why they were included in this newsletter. 

Showtime Cineplex

3. More Jobs

There is a list of hotels and other businesses offering employment opportunities in Taitung County.  There are 36 businesses on this list, and the biggest employer (by far) is the Showtime Cineplex 秀太影城 downtown.  Almost all the other entries are hotels, with a KTV and a few (evil!) coral outlets thrown in for good measure. It should be added that many of these jobs pay extremely low wages. 

Train for the new Puyuma line

4. The Completion of the Puyuma Line 普悠瑪號 and Improved Rail Service

With the completion of the new Puyuma line, travel time between Taipei and Taitung will be reduced by about an hour, from 4 and 1/2 hours to 3 and 1/2 hours.  The Rift Valley 花東鐵路 and Southern Cross-Island 南迴 sections of the railway will also switch to electric power. 

Da Wu Fishing Port

5. Promotion and Infrastructure for Local Industries

There will be a new system for ordering local goods online.  In true Taitung fashion, no web address for this "system" was included.  Smaller access roads have also been built in agricultural areas, improving transport of local produce.  The Taitung County Government has also been working to improve several fishing ports in places such as Da Wu 大武, Chang Bin 長濱, and Fu Gang 富岡. 

Deconstruction of the Kai Feng Bridge

6. Other Projects

Other projects include the widening of the Kai Feng Bridge 開封橋, improved bus service to tourist areas, improved waste water treatment in Jer Ben 知本, a new library and athletic center (Where?  It doesn't say!), a new center for aboriginal crafts, a new park/recreation center at the present location of the Railway Art Village 鐵花村, an emergency medical center on the Southern Cross-Island Highway 南迴公路, free wireless internet service at select locations, and several other projects.

And that, my friends, is what the near future holds for Taitung.  As for the distant future, your guess is as good as mine.

Related Entries:

Nightlife in Taitung City 台東的夜生活 (中)
Not So Festive Lanterns
Goodbye to San Shang 三商再見 (中)
Water Running Up 水往上流

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