One of the few remaining Japanese colonial-era granaries in Taiwan was dismantled by its owner on Friday, prompting outrage from conservationists.
The granary, which was at No. 16, Lane 11, Hangzhou S Rd Sec 1 in Taipei, belonged to Taiwan Takushoku Corp during the colonial era, conservationist Chang Wan-lin (張琬琳) said, adding that she and others had been collecting information to reapply to have the building protected as a historical structure.
During the colonial era, the granary served the area from Monga (艋舺) to what is now Songshan District (松山) in the north, she said.
Photo courtesy of the Taipei City Government Department of Cultural Affairs
“Back then the eastern part of Taipei was mostly fields. There was a need to store grain, so they built the granary close to the route used for transporting rice,” she said. “That building told the story of what life was like back then. It is a shame it was destroyed.”
Following the dismantlement of the granary, New Power Party Taipei City Councilor Meredith Huang (黃郁芬) said she contacted the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs, which said it dispatched department Director Lai Yu-wen (賴郁雯) and other officials to the site.
Conservationists at the site pleading with workers not to tear down the building were ignored, Huang said.
About only 20 Japanese-era granaries remain in Taiwan, National Taipei University of Business assistant professor and cultural heritage conservationist Hsiao Wen-chieh (蕭文杰) said on Saturday.
“In Taipei, the only ones remaining are the one in Beitou District (北投) and the one in Songshan District,” he said.
The department should have taken more forceful action toward the property owner and the contractor hired to dismantle the granary, Huang said, adding that it failed to issue provisional recognition of the building’s historical status to halt its destruction.
Officials deliberated the granary’s status in 2017, but determined it to be too altered from its original appearance to have historic value, Lai said, adding that she asked workers to halt dismantling the building, but they proceeded anyway.
No fines could be issued, as the building was not classified as a historic property, she added.
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