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Activists say Taitung resort will hurt marine ecosystem

Groups say county did not conduct environmental impact evaluation

"Mei Li Wan Resort" is seen in Shanyuan, Taitung County yesterday. The construction of the resort has been criticized by environmental protection grou...

"Mei Li Wan Resort" is seen in Shanyuan, Taitung County yesterday. The construction of the resort has been criticized by environmental protection grou...

The construction of a resort in the Shanyuan beach area in southeastern Taitung County is illegal and will adversely impact marine ecosystems along the shoreline, environmental protection organizations and experts warned yesterday.
No environmental impact evaluation of the "Mei Li Wan Resort" in Shanyuan - which is being built on a build-operate-transfer model - had been conducted before the construction began at the end of 2004, Jesse Liu, a professor from the Institute of Life science of National Taitung University stressed. Liu warned that the construction of the resort and dumping waste construction soil at the beautiful Shanyuan beach adversely influence the growth of coral reef and tropical fish, which need clean seawater.
Several environmental protection organizations at a press conference held at the Legislature yesterday urged the central government to block the Taitung County Government from allowing ongoing construction of the resort. Ruling Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Lin Shu-fen called on consumers to boycott the resort.
The secretary-general of the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union's Taitung branch Lin Yun-ke pointed out that the area the resort constructor originally applied to use was 0.9 hectare, just under the 1 hectare mark that would have required an environmental evaluation. However, after the construction began the area the resort is actually using is nearly 6 hectares, big enough to block the public's access to sea in that area, Lin emphasized.
Lin thought that affairs related to such a big BOT project should be handled by the central government instead of a local government.
He added that the county government did not start the environmental impact evaluation of the resort construction until the beginning of this year.
So far, the resort construction project has not passed the approval of environmental evaluation, although the resort is scheduled to begin operations in September, Liu noted.
Tsan Shun-kuei, a lawyer and also a member of the Environmental Protection Agency's environmental evaluation team, thought that beginning the resort construction without passing environmental evaluation is a violation of the law.
He said that in these circumstances, the contract between the county government and the resort bid winner for the BOT project should be invalid.
In reply, the environmental protection bureau of the county government stressed that it has asked the resort to pay a fine of NT$300,000 for using more than the 0.9 hectare approved in the permit and has ordered it to stop any construction in areas that are beyond the scope of the permit.
The bureau clarified that the resort wanted to use another 1 hectare area, not nearly 5 hectares as environmental protection activists claim, noting that an environmental evaluation of the plan proposed by the resort for a change in land use has not been completed yet.
Chen Po-chou a lawyer for the Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association, criticized the county government for its alleged involvement in illegally giving benefits to the BOT project bid winner.
The rent that the county government demanded for leasing the beach to the resort in 2004 and 2005 is ridiculously low, only NT$125,000, while it cost the city of Paris several millions in New Taiwan dollars to buy sand just to build a artificial beach, Chen pointed out.
Chen said that while national resources are precious, the county government apparently has no qualms renting out beaches at unreasonably low prices.

Updated : 2021-07-27 20:57 GMT+08:00