TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In the latest move in a 16-year-old dispute surrounding a controversial beach hotel, Taitung County Government will have to spend NT$629 million (US$21.9 million) to buy the property, an arbitration committee ruled Friday (Oct. 23).
The Miramar Village Resort was built on Shanyuan beach on Taiwan’s southeast coast despite concerns about its impact on the maritime environment. Protests and legal action led to a loss of its construction and usage licenses, despite support by the county government for the project.
Politicians said the hotel would bring much needed employment to the area. The arbitrage court also rejected a demand by the Miramar Group for NT$1.21 billion in compensation, arguing the company had developed the resort project on its own.
Taitung County Government said it accepted the ruling, as the purchase price had been its own proposal following an evaluation process, CNA reported. In the future the area would be renamed from “Meiliwan” (美麗灣) or “Beautiful Bay” to “Shanyuan Bay” (杉原灣), with a public beach being its most likely usage, the county government said.
As to the building, the county said it now belonged to Taitung's people. However, it did not say whether it would be torn down, as activists have been demanding for years.
Academics, cultural workers, environmental groups, residents, and politicians would have an opportunity to discuss its fate, the county said. Some local residents said there was no need to demolish the building, as it could be used for environmental education projects without causing any pollution.