Wed, Dec 19, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Self-help body protests for hotel

OTHER REALITY:Some residents of Taitung County are against the tearing down of the controversial Miramar Resort Village and say the area needs development and jobs

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

A group of politicians and residents from Taitung County raise their fists at a press conference in Taipei yesterday, as they delivered a petition in support of the controversial beachfront Miramar Resort Village hotel.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

A dozen representatives from a self-help association in Taitung County yesterday urged authorities not to tear down the controversial Miramar Resort Village in Taitung County’s Shanyuan Beach (杉原沙灘), to secure job opportunities for local residents.

Accompanied by Taitung County Council Deputy Speaker Chen Hung-tsung (陳宏宗) and the developer of the Miramar Resort Village project, the representatives held a press conference in Taipei to protest against a remark last week at Taitung University by Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) suggesting that the Taitung City Government should admit its mistakes in the build-and-transfer construction project.

The legitimacy of the Miramar Resort Village has been at issue for eight years and although more than 600 academics have signed a petition demanding that the construction be torn down before a new Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is conducted, many local residents support the hotel, Chen said.

He added that the hotel was not a substantially illegal construction, but only a procedurally illegal construction.

“The majority of Taitung’s people are in support of the Miramar Resort Village,” Chen said.

He added that many residents expect the hotel to bring job opportunities and development to the area, and it is unfair to them to abort the project because of the academics’ petition and the minister’s words.

“Are you a resident of Taitung? Please do not hold back our development and progress,” self-help association chairperson Huang Chun-ming (黃俊銘) said, adding that Lee should apologize to the residents of Taitung County.

In response to the self-help group’s remarks, a civic association consisting of environmental protection groups and local residents who are against the construction said they understood the problems of Taitung’s development situation. However, the main reason for poor development in the region is that the four county commissioners in the past eight years served illegal companies by allowing them to avoid EIA procedures before starting constructions.

“The Taitung County government has announced development of the tourism industry for many years, but not even the waste water and sewage treatment facilities are completed … so the wishes of local residents have not been treated sincerely,” the association said.

It added that it is true that the government has long neglected development in eastern Taiwan, but development cannot be achieved by constructing an illegal hotel resort.

They said it was a pity that politicians would not apologize to local residents after the Supreme Administrative Court determined that the Miramar Resort Village project’s permit was invalid and ordered construction to be halted.

They added that they are not against the construction of hotels, but are against hotels being built in a geographically fragile area where the ecology can be damaged.

Even though young local people want to return to their home to work, they should be able to return to projects that are justified by law, that respect the local Aboriginal culture and that take the ocean environment into consideration, the association said.

An EIA meeting on the construction project will be held at the Taitung County Government on Saturday.

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