No construction within the Penghu National Scenic Area can destroy the beach or harm the environment, the Tourism Bureau said yesterday, responding to a report about a proposed hotel resort at Shili Sand Beach.
The bureau added that the Penghu County Government would penalize any developers who breach these regulations.
A report published yesterday in the Chinese-language United Daily News said that Penghu residents had discovered that Shili Sand Beach, also known as “Shell Bay” and considered the most beautiful beach on the island, is included in plans for a hotel resort.
Developer Penghu Bay Development Co (澎湖灣開發建設) had built a fence on the beach and was preparing for construction, residents said.
In the report, environmentalists said the developer had already secured a permit from the county government.
Following the report, the county government called a halt to construction when it found that the developer had not reported to officials when construction was to start or secured other licenses required for the project.
The company said yesterday afternoon that it has suspended construction and will remove the facilities already on the beach, adding that it plans to hold public workshops on its plans.
Construction will not resume until approval is secured from local residents, the developer said.
Tourism Bureau Deputy Director-General Wayne Liu (劉喜臨) said any construction must be behind the line of the beach.
“The county government should clarify to the public whether it has issued a construction license to the developer. It must penalize the developer if the company violates the law.”
Liu added that permits for establishment and for construction are separate items.
“Before the bureau issued the establishment permit, we looked at the developer’s investment plan to assess whether its proposal would bring economic benefits or violate the regulations of property use. All these details were examined by experts, county government officials and other government agency representatives,” Liu said.
He said the developer was told that it could only begin construction after securing requisite licenses and permits from all relevant administrative agencies.
“The establishment permit does not mean that the company can develop the land without restrictions,” Liu added. “There is no such thing requiring other government agencies to issue their licenses simply because the Tourism Bureau has issued an establishment permit.”
“Agencies must review the developer’s proposal in detail based on the different laws that they are obligated to enforce,” Liu said.
The bureau said it issued the company an establishment permit for the hotel resort in 2003, but the company did not start the project, and in 2009 applied for an extension.
The county government issued a construction license last year.
The bureau said the company proposed building the hotel on a rural property reserved for recreational use, which was permitted, as long as the green area and sand beach were preserved.
Under the Building Act (建築法), the proprietor must report the start date and other information and start building within six months of receiving a license.