Looking to the Future of Greater Kaohsiung
On November 27, the people of Taiwan voted in five special municipality elections, as a result of which the people of Kaohsiung elected the first mayor and councilors for Greater Kaohsiung, which will be formed from the merger of Kaohsiung City and County, later this month.
The establishment of Greater Kaohsiung greatly increases the city's geographical area and population. How to overcome the differences between city and county, urban and rural areas, how to optimize our geographical and environmental advantages and develop industry in a way that underpins local prosperity, is now the responsibility of the 66 councilors elected to sit in the Greater Kaohsiung City Council. It is their task to supervise the city government and promote the sustainable development of Greater Kaohsiung.
Looking back over the last four years, changes in global climate have led to constant reports of natural disasters, which have in turn attracted attention to environmental issues. For example, a resolution was quickly passed with the support of the council stipulating that any expansion of Taipower's Talin coal-fired power plant must not increase CO2 emissions. In addition the promised relocation of China Petroleum Corp's Kaohsiung refinery has also been underlined through the ballot box, with residents pointedly electing environmentally-conscious councilors to defend their desire for a healthier living environment. This is also a way of ensuring the city government keeps its promises. Once the refinery has been relocated, the fact that public land on which it stands is in the center of Greater Kaohsiung City and extremely convenient in terms of transport, makes it the perfect location for a brand new city council building. We very much hope that the new government of Greater Kaohsiung will embrace a vision of sustainable development and quickly set in motion plans for the reuse of the area, in way that optimizes the benefits to the local population.
In many cases recent fatal floods and landslides have, at least in part, been the product of serious environment degradation. In the face of such problems those in government need to plan for Greater Kaohsiung as an integrated whole, ensuring that development and environment sustainability are compatible over the long-term, which means protecting coastal areas, forests and arable land.
We promise to do everything in our power to ensure that the environment and health of local residents are given priority in all policy considerations. At the same time, the city government also needs to strike a balance between environment protection and sustainable development. In this way, we can work together towards the goal of "An ecologically sustainable, environmentally-friendly city," dedicating ourselves to the creation of a better tomorrow for Greater Kaohsiung City.