The Supreme Administrative Court ruled on Thursday that the beachfront Meiliwan Resort Hotel (美麗灣渡假村) development in Taitung County’s Shanyuan Bay (杉原灣), in which Taitung County Government is a partner, was guilty of procedural violations and that as a result all work should stop immediately.
Thomas Chan (詹順貴), an attorney representing local residents, said the verdict invalidated the company’s construction permits and the project would now have to go through a new environmental impact assessment.
The case stems from 2004, when the Taitung County Government signed a build-operate-transfer contract with the developer, Meiliwan Resort Hotel Co, to construct a six hectare hotel complex on the beach.
However, for the past seven years, Aboriginal residents and environmental groups have filed lawsuits and staged protests against the project, saying the local government’s decision to permit the construction was flawed and that the hotel would harm the environment and the livelihoods of Amis residents.
The verdict was made on the grounds that several county government officials attended environmental impact assessment review meetings despite conflicts of interest, which constituted a violation of procedural fairness.
In addition, the county government failed to ask the developer to present supplementary evidence to prove that the development project would not pollute the ocean.
The county government yesterday said it had not yet received the ruling in writing. If the court had ruled that the project’s environmental impact assessment was invalid then the developer would be instructed to halt construction in accordance with the ruling, officials said.