Two River Cities: Kaohsiung and San Antonio /高雄 V.S. 聖安東尼市─兩個河川城市的交流
Rivers: Two Cities' prominent assets
It is more than two decades ago since Kaohsiung and San Antonio, Texas established Sister City relations. The Love River and the San Antonio River that flow into the hearts of the respective cities are distinguishing features that the two cities have in common.
San Antonio River, once a seriously polluted river and a nightmare for residents of San Antonio, flooded several times in the 1920s to 1940s and many lives were lost. Work on a bypass channel, flood prevention, riverbank beautification and water front facilities in recent decades, has transformed the San Antonio River into the most important tourist destination in San Antonio. It attracts some seven to eight million tourists every year, and has become a major financial earner for San Antonio. River Walk is a bypass channel of the San Antonio River that provides flood protection, entertainment facilities, and commercial establishments. Through successful planning and promotion, the River Walk has become well known worldwide.
Kaohsiung in recent years has started projects on river revitalization and riverbank beautification of the Love River. San Antonio's experience certainly offers us valuable information for Kaohsiung's future plans.
Staff Exchange Program
At a reception organized by Mayor Garza of San Antonio the two mayors introduced the characteristics of their respective cities. They also exchanged views on various issues such as biotech and logistics industries that both cities are striving to establish. Both sides expressed a desire to enhance bilateral relations in the future. Mayor Hsieh proposed the idea of a program to exchange officials between the two cities. Mayor Garza was pleased with the idea. He indicated that his office would provide a desk for officials from Kaohsiung to do research on how the City of San Antonio manages to promote the city's profile, tourism and management of international conferences.
International Marketing & River Management
San Antonio's International Affairs Department is responsible for the reception of the various groups making official visits, tourism and foreign investment. It is a one stop service, which makes it very convenient for investors, tourists or visitors to make contact with the City. Ms. Betsy, the Business Manager of the Department gave a presentation on San Antonio's methods for dealing with trade and business.
Mr. Richard Hurd, Park Operations Manager gave a briefing on river management and the development of the River Walk. San Antonio's management of the river is very stringent. Only boats, which are approved and commissioned by the City, are allowed to operate tourist business and cruise on the river. Along the San Antonio River, there are many outdoor restaurants where you can relax and enjoy the view. If Kaohsiung were to establish similar facilities along the Love River, it would be necessary to make drastic alterations to some restrictions that relate to the use of the Love River.
It takes a long time and a lot of efforts to make the River Walk what it is today. Kaohsiung has started to work on major constructions in its infrastructure. As long as the citizens of Kaohsiung and the City Government work hand in hand, we believe that in near future, the Love River will be a major feature of Kaohsiung in a brand new image.
高雄與美國德州聖安東尼市締結為姊妹市已達二十年之久，兩個姊妹市的最大共同特點就是，均擁有一條流經城市中心的河川：高雄的 Love River 及聖安東尼市的 San Antonio River。
聖安東尼河曾經是聖市的夢靨，於一九二○至四○年間曾多次氾濫成災，河川遭到極為嚴重的污染。近數十年來，歷經運河開鑿、防洪整治、河岸景觀的美化、親水設施的開發，如今已成為聖市的最重要的觀光資產，每年吸引七八百萬觀光人潮，為該市的主要財政收入之一。其中「河岸步道」River Walk，係引聖東安尼河河水的人工運河，將River Walk塑造成一個兼具防洪、文化、休憩及商業機能的親水空間，由於規劃整治行銷成功，聲名享譽世界。而高雄愛河的整治與堤岸景觀的美化，近年來始受到重視，故聖市的發展經驗頗值得我們參考。
聖市國際關係部門之功能主要負責國外團體到訪、參觀、投資等接洽事宜，透過這個部門再將接洽業務分派給市府各主管單位，這種完全單一窗口的作業方式，對投資者、觀光或參訪團體而言十分方便。此次，該部門市政經理Ms. Betsy Erne亦向代表團進行經貿簡報，介紹聖市如何從事國際行銷及招商作業。
另代表團聽取公園管理部經理Mr.Richard Hurd簡報，介紹River Walk的整治歷程與經營情況，並帶領團員實地前往運河水道參觀將河水排放及清理的工作實況。聖市的河川管理相當嚴格，只有市府委託的民間業者觀光船才能在河面經營遊憩觀光事業。聖安東尼河的兩岸有許多可觀賞河岸景緻的戶外餐廳，而高雄愛河沿岸如要設置咖啡亭，仍受到法令諸多限制，有待突破。