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2018-04-16 09:00
Jiunn-rong Yeh: Reinforce spatial planning – Setting example with spatial planning and Heart of the Township
MOI convened the annual review and outlook press conference today (4th). When Minister of the Interior Jiunn-rong Yeh mentioned the outlook of homeland planning, he suggested that one of the key aspects of 2018 is the implementation of the Spatial Planning Act, which will be announced before May, along with other projects including balancing the gap between urban and rural development, promoting Heart of the Township, improving road quality and improving public service locations. Jiunn-rong Yeh emphasized that the protection and conservation of homeland relies on close collaboration between the central government and local municipalities, thus it is hoped that MOI can continue cooperating with local governments to enrich the all-embracing spirit of the Taiwanese people, as well as make Taiwan a greater and more sustainable nation.

Meticulously promoting spatial planning to materialize the protection and conservation of homeland

According to Jiunn-rong Yeh, the Spatial Plan Draft was exhibited on October 13, 2017. After 6 public hearings to solicit opinions from the public in northern, central and southern Taiwan, it was submitted to the Spatial Plan Review Committee of MOI for review, scheduled to take place before the end of January this year. The Spatial Plan will be promulgated and implemented before May 1.

MOI commented that the Spatial Plan will be the overarching principle guiding spatial planning in the country, and it incorporates 7 major aspects: 1. Reinforce spatial planning guidance and endow local municipalities with flexibility in planning; 2. Implement homeland conservation and security, establish compensation mechanism; 3. Promote classified management of farmland to create a sound agricultural development environment; 4. Promote rural area planning to create livable, high quality countryside living; 5. Protect the natural environment and cultural assets in response to climate change; 6. Facilitate reasonable resource and industry allocation, strengthen land consolidation and management mechanisms; 7. Rrestore sensitive areas and damaged land in pursuit sustainable development.

In terms of direct-controlled municipalities and county (city) spatial plans, MOI has already approved the plans submitted by 18 municipalities in March last year, and policy briefings and communication meetings were conducted at various local governments. MOI will continue to assist various local governments to formulate direct-controlled municipality or county (city) spatial plans before May 1, 2020, while the functional zone map will be drawn up before May 1, 2022.

Consolidating the strengths of local municipalities to create cultured Heart of the Township

Jiunn-rong Yeh stated that in order to facilitate balanced development between rural and urban areas, MOI will not simply play the role of reviewing projects and approving budgets, instead it will form a partnership with various local governments to create the high quality, cultured Heart of the Township. In order to gain deeper insight about local needs, Jiunn-rong Yeh visited Yilan County, Taitung County, Tainan City, Hsinchu County/City and Miaoli County Government from June to July last year to initiate face to face dialogues and facilitate local developments.

MOI elaborated that Heart of the Township program involves letting local governments select the most promising rural towns and townships, together with cross-departmental resources from the central government, the aim is to create charismatic, livable towns and townships that emanate local characteristics, and aesthetic appeal. The biggest difference between Heart of the Township and other public construction projects in the past is that MOI has specially invited domestic scholars and experts in the field of architecture, landscaping and urban planning in May last year to form a professional advisory team. Total, workshops will be conducted in 4 regions (1st northern region, 2nd northern region, central region and southern region) to facilitate promotion by local governments. In addition, in order to attract participation from outstanding professional planning and design teams in the country, MOI also organized a joint investment information meeting on December 14 last year, hoping to solicit cross-disciplinary teams to inject creativity and vitality to Heart of the Township program.

Heart of the Township program provides subsidies in 2 categories: Competition and Policy. For the former category, 22 potential towns and townships were approved in October last year, with joint investment from the central and local governments totaling roughly NT$6.3 billion over the next 4 years. For the latter, 189 projects were approved in November last year, totaling about NT$1.308 billion. MOI will continue conducting interdepartmental resource integration and negotiation in the future, as well as improve project quality and time control in order to effectively materialize the aspiration of Heart of the Township.

Improving road quality, public service locations and facilitating balanced developments

In response to the aging population trend, MOI will cooperate with local governments to construct more user-friendly roads with new specifications, as well as integrate shared pipelines, ditches, sidewalks, bikeways, streetscape, overhead cable, lines and signs etc. in order to enhance the quality of the public environment and create an accessible space that caters to the needs of people of all ages.

MOI explained that the road improvement project will last 4 years (2017-2020), costing a total of NT$21.2 billion. In particular, budget for phase 1 (2017-2018) is NT$8.2 billion, where applications from various local governments were processed in different stages. For stage 1, 174 submissions were approved last year at a budget of NT$2,634,457,000; for stage 2, 348 submissions are still being reviewed; for stage 3, the application review is scheduled to take place from April to May.

In relation to “Public Service Location Improvement”, MOI is assisting various local municipalities to reinforce or rebuild dangerous public buildings, including police/fire department office buildings, public markets, township/town offices and village activity centers. As of the end of last year, 96 cases were approved at a cost of NT$823,977,000. Before the end of 2021, building earthquake resistance assessment will be conducted for 744 public buildings, while 900 and 31 public buildings will be reinforced and rebuilt respectively in order to create safe public spaces.

Last but not least, Jiunn-rong Yeh expected the central government and local governments to work hand in hand by upholding a humble attitude to cherish the valuable resources of the country. Together, they should maintain a sense of respect and responsibility towards Mother Nature, so as to conduct comprehensive spatial planning and management.

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