Thu, Oct 08, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Hot springs in Baolai seeking Morakot bailout

WHOSE FAULT? The Hsin Pao Lai resort said it should be entitled to aid because flooding in the area may have been caused by the Zengwun Reservoir project


The Cabinet yesterday expressed reservations over a request by hot spring resort operators in Kaohsiung County for government compensation for losses caused by Typhoon Morakot.

Lo Shih-hsiung (羅世雄), chief secretary of the Executive Yuan’s post-Typhoon Morakot Reconstruction Committee, said requests for government compensation must go through the courts.

Lo also urged resort operators in the Baolai hot spring area of Liouguei Township (六龜) to reconsider their plans to rebuild damaged facilities on the original sites. The increased probability of severe flooding as a result of global warming has made the area unsafe for development projects, Lo said.

The Tourism Bureau is expected to meet the Council for Economic Planning and Development and the Kaohsiung County Government sometime soon to discuss whether to restrict development in the area and whether to help hot spring owners apply for bailout loans, Lo said.

The official made the remarks during a meeting with operators of resorts in Baolai, some of which had been operating without business licenses and now hope to be legalized.

These include the Hsin Pao Lai Hot Spring Resort, which suffered losses of NT$670 million, and the Fun Chen Resort Hotel, which suffered losses of NT$65.6 million.

Lin Kuo-bao (林國寶), chairman of Hsin Pao Lai, said the operators should be entitled to government compensation because the flooding that devastated the hot spring area may have been caused by a public infrastructure project — construction to divert water to the Zengwun Reservoir.

Wu Chiu-lin (吳秋霖), chairman of Fun Chen, said the unlicensed operators had received government guidance for more than six years in preparation for their legalization and should therefore be eligible for the government’s post-Morakot tourism sector bailout program.

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