Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Minister Stephen Shen (沈世宏) yesterday said the controversial Miramar Resort Village in Taitung County’s Shanyuan Bay (杉原灣) should be torn down, but that the decision was up to the Taitung County Government, based on regulations.
The Miramar Resort Village is a build-operate-transfer development project by Durban Development Co and the Taitung County Government. Construction began in 2004 on a 6 hectare area by the beach of Shanyuan Bay, even though it did not pass an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in advance as was required, leading to protests and lawsuits by local residents and environmental protection groups.
Last week, the Supreme Administrative Court passed a verdict on a lawsuit by civic groups who sued the Miramar Resort Village for violating regulations. The ruling determined the project was illegal and must halt its construction.
At a meeting of the legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee yesterday, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) said the resort was “clearly” illegal, a decision confirmed by the court, so it should be torn down before developers apply for a new EIA.
The development process was flawed from the beginning, starting with the local government giving a construction permit to the developer to construct the buildings within an area only slightly smaller than 1 hectare to avoid having to pass an EIA, Tien said. Tien said the developer was now applying to the local government for an EIA on the 6 hectare area, but the EPA should order the resort torn down and have the EIA done by the central government.
The EPA asked the local government to redo an EIA when it discovered the developers had divided up the land to avoid the EIA many years ago, Shen said. However, Shen said that according to the law, the competent authority was still the local government, not the central administration.
Following Tien’s questions, DPP Legislator Chen Chieh-ju (陳節如) asked the minister how the EPA would deal with the case.
“I think the Taitung County Government should act according to the verdict, because the content of the verdict is clear,” Shen said. “Basically, I support tearing it down, but it should be done according to Ministry of the Interior regulations.”
Asked whether he would call the Taitung County commissioner to express his views, Shen said the commissioner had already heard several opinions from different parties and groups in the past few days and did not need his call.