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Opening Ceremony of the Sijhai Activity Center Magistrate: A Model for Repurposing Abandoned Camps

Opening Ceremony of the Sijhai Activity Center
Magistrate: A Model for Repurposing Abandoned Camps
03/10/2017
Reporter: Syu Jia-Tai/Lieyu Township

Yesterday, the magistrate, Chen Fu-Hai, the township mayor, Hong Cheng-Fa, the speaker, Hong Li-Ping, and the chairperson of the township elected representatives, Hong Ruo-Shan jointly unveiled the Sijhai Community Activity Center, which was repurposed from an abandoned military camp. Magistrate Chen praised the renovation of the former camp area and stated that the development of the building into a community activity center was especially significant. The magistrate went on to declare his intent to continue assisting the township office and community in strengthening the green beautification process of the surrounding environment and for the Kinmen Forestry Bureau to provide support in landscaping. He also expressed his hope for the Sijhai Community Activity Center to become a model for repurposing camp areas.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Sijhai Community Activity Center took place yesterday at 10 am. Magistrate Chen led the director of the Office of the Magistrate, Chen Jin-Wun, the director-general of the Social Affairs Department of the county government, Chen Shih-Bao, the director-general of the Education Department, Li Wun-Liang, and the secretary of the county government, Li Cing-Jyun, in expressing their congratulations. Speaker Hong Li-Ping, the chairperson of the township elected representatives, Hong Ruo-Shan, township representatives Fang Shuei-Wan, Wu Fu-Cyuan, Chen Siou-Jhih, Hong Ya-Ming, and Fang Jyun-Yang, the director of the Lieyu service office of the county government, Hong Jhih-Fang, the director of the Lieyu service office of Legislative Yuan Member Yang Cheng-Wu, Hong Syue-Wun, the commander of the Lieyu Defense Corps, Hu Ya-Jhong, the village chief, Lin Kai-Sing, school principals, presidents of development associations from communities in Lieyu, and a number of locals from a variety of fields all came to offer their congratulations. The president of the development association of the Sijhai Community, Lin Shih-Jhong, and the residents thanked all individuals who came to show their interest in local affairs and share their feelings of joy.
Magistrate Chen presented a large red congratulatory plaque embellished with the words “Harmony and Township Friendship”, which was accepted by the president of the development association of the Sijhai Community, Lin Shih-Jhong. Hong Syue-Wun also presented a memorial congratulatory plaque on behalf of Legislative Yuan Member Yang Cheng-Wu.
Magistrate Chen spoke about how every time he visited Little Kinmen, he would experience a feeling of amazement. He praised Township Mayor Hong Cheng-Fa for his diligence in governing the township and wisdom in promoting township affairs. In late February, the township commenced construction of the Shanglin Multifunctional Observatory, a multipurpose and creative structure which combines the features of a stage and observatory. This time, an abandoned camp building was reused and its renovation into a community activity center carried an especially significant meaning.
Magistrate Chen expressed his great desire to participate in the activities of every community and personally understand the needs and opinions of community leaders and residents. By allowing the county government to comprehend the true demands of the community, they would be able to follow the residents’ views and offer them the most suitable services and resources. Magistrate Chen further stated that the construction of the community activity center required a large amount of manpower, and the president and staff of the community association took on the role and responsibility of a leader. He also looked forward to seeing the community activity center utilize its functionality and become a place for residents to interact, where the citizens of the community will be able to show concern for community affairs, plan the direction for future growth and promote local construction and development together.
Magistrate Chen also offered to install sun shades and other additional facilities to increase the activity space of the building. He encouraged citizens to use the center every day to prevent the activity center from becoming an unneeded building.
The magistrate pointed out that the community development association is an organization that is formed by all community residents. It also acts as a platform for connecting township residents and unifying community awareness. Future community development is very important. In the past, many policies were formed using the top-down approach and lacked true participation from the base of the social hierarchy as well as bottom-up communication. As a result, local demands were unable to be fulfilled. However, in the future, a bottom-up operation system will be used instead of the original top-down system to better understand the needs of residents. Each community development association will play an important role, and this will be a major task that the county government will promote in the future. Magistrate Chen further emphasized that as long as the goals of the township office and community are the same as the goals that the county government values and wishes to implement, the county government will offer its full support. This will allow the government to approach the true demands of the citizens, fulfill their expectations, and further develop the community.
At the same time, Magistrate Chen also proposed a number of suggestions for improvement of the Sijhai Community Activity Center and expressed his intent to continue supporting green development and landscaping in the surrounding environment. He expressed his wish for the Sijhai Community Activity Center to become a model for camp area repurposing and advised the Lieyu Defense Corps of the Army to make more abandoned camp areas available for repurposing and use.
Township Mayor Hong Cheng-Fa thanked Magistrate Chen Fu-Hai and Speaker Hong Li-Ping for funding the repurposing of the unused, abandoned camp housing. He spoke about how the Sijhai Community Activity Center may not be like the large, newly reconstructed buildings in Cingci, Shanglin, and Dongkeng, but it was “small and beautiful”, only cost over NT$1 million to build, yet very unique. Using the construction support funds from Magistrate Chen, the township office will continue to execute green construction in the surrounding area to improve the landscape of the district’s overall environment.
Hong Cheng-Fa stated that there are 18 communities in Lieyu Township. Ever since he became the township mayor, building community activity centers had been the focus of his work in township affairs. When Chen became the magistrate, Chen also valued the addition of new community activity centers and the county government spared no effort in providing resources for their construction. Over the course of six years, the township office assisted communities in renovation or construction, acquiring land, funding issues, subsequent engineering contracts, and other matters, allowing community activity center construction projects to be smoothly completed. Community activity centers in Huangcuo, Husia, Luocuo, Donglin, Silu, Cingci, Shanglin, and Dongkeng were successfully completed one after another, while construction of community activity centers in Shangku, Houjing, and Houtou are still ongoing and Shuangkou, Yangcuo, and Siatian continue to promote plans for new centers. The government is working hard to give every community a new, complete community activity center to offer citizens a diversity of services.
The Sijhai Community Activity Center was formerly the headquarters and camp area for the 3rd Battalion, 158th Infantry Division. Last year, the Executive Yuan agreed to allocate the land free of charge and the community development association renovated one of the one-story buildings into a community activity center with an area of 21 pings. Furthermore, two storage rooms were organized to serve as community storage rooms. The county government provided a subsidy of NT$1.1 million, all of which were matching grants by the speaker of the Kinmen County Council, Hong Li-Ping.
Speaker Hong Li-Ping once served as the president of the Kinmen Pillbox Cultural Development Association. She spoke about how pillboxes and barracks were important military relics. Although other community activity centers were splendidly built, the activity center of Sijhai possessed the unique characteristics of the Kinmen battlefield, which gave it a striking appearance.
Speaker Hong Li-Ping also specially thanked Magistrate Chen for placing importance on local construction in Lieyu and putting effort in providing resources for local development. Hong Li-Ping expressed her hopes that the citizens would be able to take full advantage of the activity center and turn it into a place that unifies the feelings of the township residents and allows them to show care toward the development of community affairs together.
The chairperson of the township elected representatives, Hong Ruo-Shan, felt that using an abandoned military camp site as a community activity center showed the simple and frugal side of Kinmen citizens. It also highlighted battlefield culture, preventing it from being forgotten and preserving its unique qualities through the generations.
Magistrate Chen also surveyed the surrounding unused tunnels and structures of the military relics and took local opinions into account. He hoped that the township office and community development association would be able to consider directions for repurposing together before proposing a specific construction plan. The county government and council promised their full support in acquiring funds and carrying out construction to create a new tourist “highlight” in Lieyu. Magistrate Chen and the other guests enthusiastically took pictures with the citizens and wished the community growing prosperity in the future.

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  • Date:2017-11-30