Court deals blow to Miramar Resort Village

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A court on Thursday handed a victory to the opponents of the Miramar Resort Village in Taitung County by declaring a resumption of work illegal, though appeals were still possible.
The resort on a beach at Shanyuan has been the subject of numerous legal back-and-forths, even though it is now virtually completed though not operating. It has become the top focus in a fight between environmentalism and indigenous Amis culture on the one hand and development of tourism on the other hand.
In the latest turn of events, the High Administrative Court in Kaohsiung chose the side of the opponents by agreeing with them that a Taitung County Government decision in 2013 to resume work violated the law.
The court ruled that because the decision was based on an environmental impact report which itself had been declared invalid by the same court, it should also be canceled.
During the first stage of the conflict, the activists accused the developer of having split up the project in several phases in order to avoid the need for the environmental report. The case led to a first court order to halt building on the resort, but later, the Taitung County Government approved an impact report and allowed the resumption of work.
Opponents say the location of the complex right on the beach will lead to more pollution of the area, while the supporters, including the developer and the county, argue that the project will bring more employment opportunities to the region. They also accuse the environmentalists of being mostly outsiders with little concern for local sensibilities, though the activists accuse the developers of planning to have all profits from the project flow out of the region.