Environmentalists yesterday appealed to the Ministry of the Interior to tear down a resort in Taitung County, saying the local government had refused to do so despite two court rulings revoking the results of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) and a construction permit for the hotel.
“The controversy surrounding Miramar Resort Village can be concluded in two sentences: ‘It should not have been built in the first place. It should be torn down,’” Citizen of the Earth Taiwan chairman Liao Pen-chuan (廖本全) told a press conference.
He said the beach on which the resort is standing was first designated a “general protected area” in the 1980s by the ministry and was reclassified with the more restrictive label of “coastal natural protected area” a few years ago.
“I would like to ask the ministry who is protected in the coastal natural protected area? Is it the coast, or the interests of corporates?” Liao asked. “If the local government is unwilling to tear down the illegal building, the ministry should take over the job.”
The Supreme Administrative Court in Kaohsiung revoked Miramar Resort’s EIA in January and its construction permit earlier this month, said Toby Tsai (蔡中岳), manager of Citizens of the Earth Taiwan’s Eastern Taiwan Office.
“According to the Environmental Impact Assessment Act (環境影響評估法), a construction permit can only be issued for a construction project after it passes an EIA, and so, even without the court ruling earlier this month, the construction permit should have been revoked,” Tsai said.
When the court revoked the EIA, the Taitung County Government argued that the construction permit was still valid, since it was issued before the EIA was revoked.
However, when the court ruled that the construction permit was invalid, the county government said the resort had applied for a new EIA and that it would wait to see if the resort fails to pass the EIA before deciding whether to demolish the hotel.
Istanda Hosunyan Nabu, an Amis musician from Taitung, looked at the issue from a different angle.
“The county government never took the opinions of Amis Aborigines into consideration, although the resort is located within a traditional Amis domain,” he said. “It was quite ridiculous when Taitung County Commissioner Justin Huang (黃健庭) said the Amis have long ‘occupied’ the land.”
“It is our land,” Nabu said. “We have been living there since before the Republic of China regime came to Taiwan.”
Hsieh Wei-sung (謝偉松), an official representing the ministry’s Construction and Planning Agency, said there were illegal elements involved in the construction of the resort, and it should be torn down.
“But it’s the local government which has the authority to demolish it,” he said.