Mon, Apr 30, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Miramar broke law with Taitung project: advocates

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Members of the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union show pictures and hold up banners during a protest at the Miramar Hotel in Taipei yesterday. The group accused Miramar Group of violating the law by starting construction on a grand resort on the only public beach in Taitung despite failing an environmental review.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Several environmental protection advocacy groups yesterday accused the Miramar Group (美麗華集團) of violating the law by starting construction on a large resort on the only public beach in Taitung despite the failure of an environmental review for the project.

Taiwan Environmental Protection Union secretary-general Ho Tsung-hsun (何宗勳) told a press conference that the Miramar Group did not conduct an environmental review of Taitung's Shanyuan Beach (杉原海岸) for more than a year after it had started construction of the holiday resort.

The resort is a build-operate-transfer project between the Miramar Group and Taitung County Government.

Presenting the media with copies of the meeting records of an official environmental review of the project, Ho said the group continuously violated the Environmental Impact Assessments Act (環境影響評估法), proceeding with construction even though the project failed to pass the official environmental impact evaluation.

Thomas Chan (詹順貴), a lawyer and a member of the Cabinet's Environmental Impact Review Committee, said the Taitung County Government should revoke the resort's construction license as stipulated by the act.

The structures that have been built on the beach should also be demolished, he said.

Liu Chiung-hsi (劉炯錫), a professor in the Department of Natural Sciences at National Taitung University, said the construction project has seriously damaged the coral region of the beach.

Showing a video clip recently shot at the beach showing the construction, Liu said that large amounts of waste soil and concrete were randomly deposited on the beach instead of being properly disposed of.

He added that the debris washed down from the beach during rainy days has polluted the coral ecosystem of the beach.

"No other countries or corporations in the world would disregard their beaches like this," secretary of the environmental union's Taitung branch Lin Yun-ko (林雲閣) said. "Seeing this destruction of the beach causes people in Taitung terrible pain."

Sam Lin (林聖崇), an experienced environmental activist, called for Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) to determine if any government agencies had profited from the Miramar Group while handling the construction project.

"Election campaigns can be suspended and Taiwan's environment should be given the priority," he said.

After the press conference, the group held a demonstration in front of the Miramar Garden Taipei, a subsidiary of the Miramar Group.

In response, public relations manager of the hotel Huang Sung-han (黃崧瀚) said that the construction project is an investment by the hotel's major shareholders and has nothing to do with the hotel itself.

Publicist for the Miramar Garden Taipei Lin Yu-cheng (林嶼晟) told the Taipei Times by telephone that construction of the holiday resort construction is an investment project begun by the group's president, Huang Chun-fa (黃春發).

Lin added that the hotel did not know the details of the project as each subsidiary of the group is an independent entity.

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