Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Yoho environmental impact report conditionally approved

Yoho environmental impact report conditionally approved

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Pingtung County Government on Tuesday approved an environmental impact assessment report for the Yoho Beach Resort in Kenting, but on certain conditions, including zero wastewater discharges within three years.
Last May, the central government’s Environmental Protection Administration accused the resort of having operated for 14 years without the necessary assessment.
. The new report will only be considered as valid if the resort succeeds in reducing its water use and pollution to levels set out in the document, and it must first also go through proper channels before it can resume business. Within the next three years, its release of wastewater must reach zero, the review committee decided.
The 11 members of the group passed the report in a unanimous vote, but outside the meeting room, environmental activists said the holiday resort should close because it had operated illegally for 14 years and polluted the environment.
Water was the key element of the environmental impact assessment report, Pingtung County Environmental Protection Bureau chief Lin Ya-wen said. He promised the authorities would inspect conditions at the resort based on the document, and if they found violations, they would charge fines starting at NT$300,000 (US$10,000), the official said. Activists have accused the resort of damaging coral life in the area by discharging polluted wastewater.
Lin emphasized that the approval of the environmental assessment did not mean the resort could reopen its doors and receive guests immediately. The resort had to file an application with the proper authorities and follow regular procedures before the situation could return to normal, he said.
The company said the demands were too strict, but it promised to cut its discharges of wastewater by recycling 80 percent, while it would also have at least two employees receive qualification as environmental education specialists..
A point which still had to be resolved was the payment by the resort management of illegal profits dating from the period it operated without approval, Lin said. The EPB needed to collect relevant information before it could calculate an amount which was fair compensation for the damage to the environment, he said, warning it would be difficult to find a figure which could satisfy both management and the public at large.
In May, the EPA ordered a stop to the operations of those parts of the resort which had not obtained the necessary approval of the environmental impact report.
The Kuomintang-controlled central government blamed the Democratic Progressive Party-dominated Pingtung County Government for failing in its duties because it had given the project a license to build residential areas despite knowing fully that the group intended to operate a hotel, which would require an environmental impact report.
The county said it fined the Yoho Beach Resort twice for illegal practices.
The Ministry of Interior said the issue was complicated because some of the resort buildings had been completed before the introduction of environmental impact legislation in 2000, leaving some parts legal but other areas illegal.
The Kenting National Park management, which resorts under the MOI, would have to cooperate with the Pingtung County Government and the EPA to find a solution to the problem, officials said at the time.
The park management body was established in 1984 but only received authority over building permits in 2002. By that year, some of the Yoho Beach Resort’s buildings had already been erected, meaning they were legal.
When too many bed and breakfasts emerged around 2006, a general review was held which approved most hotels which were legally built, reports said.
More than 100 rooms in the areas one and two of the resort were therefore legal and could continue to be used for visitors, the MOI said, but areas 3 to 6 contained illegal structures which could not be legalized without environmental impact reports.
The Yoho Beach Resort has been compared to the Miramar Resort Village in Taitung County, a hotel constructed on a beach ordered shut down by a court. In 2012, the seventh in a series of environmental impact reports gave the project a conditional green light despite protests from activists over its alleged harm to the environment.
The resort has not opened its doors yet to the public, but opponents fear it will become only the first in a long string of new hotels set in sensitive areas close to beaches.


Updated : 2021-06-18 04:02 GMT+08:00