1. Revitalizing idle national property to increase parking spaces
(1) The high demand for parking spaces is a major issue that the City Government has been striving to resolve. Prior to the merger of the city and county in 2010, Tainan had a total of 30,000 parking spaces. Currently, this number surpasses 100,000. Although three-fold growth has been achieved, the 700,000 vehicles that are registered in Tainan and an influx of tourists on weekends mean that demand still exceeds the number of parking spaces. As a major transportation hub and Tainan’s most prosperous shopping district, the Tainan Station area is subject to an especially high demand for parking. To meet the need for more parking spaces near the rear entrance to Tainan Station and the National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) shopping district and to promote business development, the Bureau of Transportation and the National Property Administration joined hands in building a temporary parking lot at the intersection of Section 1, Minzu Road and Qianfeng Road in late 2017 that provides 20 parking spaces for cars and 60 for scooters. The temporary parking lot proved useful during the New Year holiday in 2018. Currently, the temporary parking lot remains free of charge, which encourages citizens to use it. I would like to thank Director-General Lin of the Bureau of Transportation, Director Huang of the Tainan City Parking Management Office, and relevant personnel for their efforts in this matter.
(2) I would like to thank the units involved in the revitalization of multiple pieces of idle national property on Rongyu Street and Daysue Road over the years. The Tainan City Government is scheduled to build two temporary parking lots before Chinese New Year, one across from the front gate of NCKU and one at the intersection of Fucian Road and Yongfu Road. Together, these two temporary parking lots will provide an additional 86 parking spaces for cars and will also be free of charge, enabling tourists and people coming home for the Chinese New Year holiday to find convenient parking.
(3) Over the past year, Deputy Mayor Chang organized and launched the Tainan Parking No. 1 project. For this project, the Bureau of Transportation, the Finance and Local Tax Bureau, and district offices across Tainan conducted a comprehensive inventory and field surveys of public and private idle land in parking hot spots. In addition to revitalizing public property and managing private property, the units mentioned above also acted as intermediaries for the Tainan City Government in encouraging landowners to build parking lots on private property. In total, 2,800 new parking spaces for cars and 1,600 spaces for scooters were added, which is quite an achievement. I encourage the Bureau of Transportation to continue to increase the supply of parking spaces through rewarding private investment, revitalizing public and private idle land, and developing plans to build multiple-level parking lots using the budget for the Forward-Looking Infrastructure Development Program. In doing so, the objective of the Tainan Parking No. 1 project—to add 10,000 parking spaces in parking hot spots—may well be achieved.
2. The newly established Laboratory Center safeguards food and drug safety
(1) To improve testing services for commonly used consumer goods, the Public Health Bureau expanded its Laboratory Division and transformed it into the Laboratory Center, which was officially opened to the public on January 3. In addition to testing foodstuffs and the water quality at business establishments, and testing for communicable diseases, the Laboratory Center now collaborates with the Agriculture Bureau and the Finance and Local Tax Bureau to offer testing for residual pesticides and heavy metals in produce and the raw materials used in producing alcoholic beverages to improve overall testing services. By integrating testing resources and offering testing services for various departments, the efficacy of testing by the City Government has been enhanced. Hence, the City Government is better able to protect citizen safety. I would like to thank Director-General Chen of the Public Health Bureau and his team for their efforts.
(2) The establishment of the Laboratory Center has been particularly meaningful in several respects: First, it has increased efficiency. Establishing the Laboratory Center has resolved disadvantages such as outsourcing and long waiting times and ensured the ready provision of information. Secondly, accuracy has been improved. Precision instruments with a total worth of NT $50 million were purchased for the Center. With existing equipment included, total equipment costs for the Laboratory Center have exceeded NT $100 million, offering a greater guarantee of testing quality. As different government departments are dedicated to different tasks, government departments had been responsible for conducting their own tests. Since the establishment of the Laboratory Center, resources have been consolidated and testing services made available to all government departments, thereby reducing the duration and costs of testing.
(3) Since the Laboratory Center was established, higher quality testing services have been available. The Public Health Bureau should continue practicing source management to ensure the safety of local produce from farm to table. In this way, Taiwan residents’ confidence in consumer goods produced in Tainan will be reinforced, and the value of Tainan products will be increased, creating a consumption environment that benefits both suppliers and consumers and shapes Tainan as a healthy, livable city.
1. The City Government is prepared to offer necessary assistance during cold fronts
(1) According to the Central Weather Bureau’s forecasts, this year’s first cold front has arrived, and a low temperature warning has been issued. This cold front will affect Taiwan from the 9th to the 12th, and temperatures may drop to 8° C or 10° C. The wind and rain have picked up over the past two days in the downtown area, and temperatures have dropped significantly.
(2) Citizens are reminded to keep warm. In particular, those with chronic illnesses or vascular diseases must pay extra attention to their physical condition. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, be mindful of indoor ventilation when using gas water heaters.
(3) The Agriculture Bureau has launched a mechanism to assist farmers working in the agriculture and fisheries industry in establishing prevention measures to mitigate damage from the cold weather to produce and aquaculture products. The Bureau of Civil Affairs and social welfare units will also increase their efforts to care for seniors living alone to ensure that the city’s senior citizens are prepared for the cold weather. In addition, shelter measures for the homeless are also in place, and warm clothing and hot meals are being provided to the homeless.
(4) If citizens find any homeless people or seniors living alone who are in need, please call the 1999 Citizen Hotline to inform the authorities. The City Government will offer the necessary help. I would like to ask the various departments and heads of departments to provide assistance in relevant cases, thereby ensuring that everyone can keep warm and stay safe during this cold front.
1. The Bureau of Education’s report on the Policy for Subsidizing the Publicization of Private Daycare Centers in Tainan City (for details, please refer to the print copy)
Decision: Approved for reference
(1) The low birth rate is a matter of national security. Central and local governments are seeking to resolve major impacts caused by Taiwan’s low birth rate. To encourage reproduction and effectively alleviate the burden of preschool education on parents, Tainan City is scheduled to launch Taiwan’s first policy on the public subsidization of private daycare centers this year. This policy was proposed by Premier Lai when he was the mayor of Tainan City. The primary objective of the policy is to transform Tainan into the Taiwan’s most fortunate city. During a year-end press conference in 2017, Premier Lai set a goal for this policy to increase Taiwan’s birth rate to 1.4 in 2030 to maintain a national population of no less than 20 million. In addition, Premier Lai suggested that the Ministry of Education refer to Tainan’s method of offering subsidies to help cover the cost of private daycare.
(2) In June 2011, Tainan City became the first place in Taiwan to offer daycare vouchers, which benefit approximately 22,000 children a year. Since the vouchers were first offered, subsidies have reached NT $2 billion. The enrollment rate for daycare centers has reached nearly 70%, which is higher than the national average of 58%, indicating the effectiveness of using daycare vouchers as a form of subsidization. This policy has been effective in alleviating the childcare burden and enabling parents to focus on work while knowing that their children are in good hands, and in providing children with age-appropriate preschool education. Since Tainan County and Tainan City merged into a single municipality, public daycare centers with a total of 54 classes and 1,539 openings and non-profit daycare centers with a total of 19 classes and 508 openings have been established. The daycare voucher offers NT $30,000 per child per year in subsidies, the highest in Taiwan.
(3) Parents choose public daycare centers for one of two reasons: quality and price. To comprehensively improve the educational environment and quality of public daycare centers, the Tainan City Government has been proactively requesting equipment and facility repairs and renewals from the central government since 2011. In total, NT $650 million of the central government’s budget has been allocated to this cause, the greatest amount among similar projects nationwide. The current publicization policy is centered on utilizing existing educational resources to elevate the quality of private daycare centers and increase the income of childcare workers in private daycare centers without shifting the costs of the improvements and salary increases to parents. Parents only need to pay a fee equivalent to that paid to a public daycare center. Private daycare centers share the responsibilities of publicization with the government. Thus, the government and private daycare centers no longer play the roles of supervisor and supervised. Rather, private daycare centers proactively collaborate with the government to lay a sound foundation for children, who are the future of the nation.
(4) The Policy for Subsidizing the Publicization of Private Daycare Centers in Tainan City is the third arrow of the Tainan City Government’s childcare and education policy. It is also the first policy of its kind in the nation. Thus, I would like to extend a special thanks to the Bureau of Education for developing the policy over a period of half a year and to the involved departments for offering their expert opinion in numerous discussions and meetings. Starting from February this year, the Tainan City Government will implement the first stage pilot project at non-profit daycare centers in the city and private daycare centers located in remote areas, as defined by the Early Childhood Education and Care Act. I urge the Bureau of Education to oversee the implementation of this pilot project, gather recommendations, and conduct a rolling review to make necessary adjustments to details of implementation, which will ensure the smooth, citywide employment of this policy in the future.
(5) The Policy for Subsidizing the Publicization of Private Daycare Centers in Tainan City will officially launch this February. I would like to ask the Department of Information and International Relations to provide assistance in promoting the policy. Deputy Secretary-General Li and the Secretariat should further discuss whether the publicization of private daycare centers should comply with the procedures outlined in the Procurement Act. Additionally, I would like to ask the Bureau of Education to strengthen discourse on this policy, thereby dispelling the doubts of others.
2. The Tourism Bureau’s report on the Tainan Canal Boat Tour Project (for details, please refer to the print copy).
Decision: Approved for reference
(1) The Tainan Canal, opened in 1926, inherited the commercial transportation function of the old canal, which operated for two centuries before the opening of the new canal. From the 1940s to the 1960s, “bumper boats” frequented the canal between the China Town Building and Anping, shaping a part of the collective memory of many of Tainan’s citizens. To revitalize the Tainan Canal and to successfully relaunch the section of the canal that borders Anping Harbor, the Autonomy Regulations for the Management of Small, Passenger-Carrying Vessels were passed on January 19, 2015, thereby announcing that the waters in the area are open to applications for boat routes. Concurrently, the capital threshold was lowered to attract private businesses and accelerate investment in waterfront tourism. Boat routes in the canal and harbor will be opened in stages, and eventually, the entire canal and harbor will be open to the public.
(2) To fulfill Premier Lai’s instructions to use boating as a bridge that opens the entire canal, the Tourism Bureau engaged in multiple consultations and coordinated with the Maritime Port Bureau, Taiwan International Ports Corporation, the Fishing Harbor and Coastal Fisheries Management Office, the Public Works Bureau, the Water Resources Bureau, and private companies. After overcoming various technical problems, the Tainan Canal Boat Tour finally set sail on December 18 after having been out of operation for three decades. I would like to thank the Tourism Bureau and involved departments for their collaborative efforts in restoring the Tainan Canal to its former glory.
(3) I encourage the relevant departments to promote the Tainan Canal Boat Tour and further enhance the quality of tourism in Tainan by making improvements to the canal’s water quality, canal-side park facilities, public art displays, and the overall tourism environment. Together, we should strive to shape the Tainan Canal as the top tourist destination in Tainan. In the future, I look forward to the canal connecting all areas of Tainan City and to the renaissance of Anping, the shores of the canal, Zhongzheng Road, and the Haian Business District.
(4) I would like to ask Deputy Secretary-General Fang to add discussion of improvements to the environment, lighting, fencing, and piers along the canal and the establishment of new parks to his meetings reviewing the progress of matters related to the Tainan Canal Boat Tour. Involved departments should continue to conduct reviews on these matters. Additionally, I would like to ask the Public Works Bureau to report on the feasibility of reconstructing Linan Bridge.