A number of civic environmental groups yesterday said they will jointly hold a rally in Taipei on Saturday in a bid to attract more public attention to the issue of the Miramar Resort Village on Taitung County’s Shanyuan Beach (杉原沙灘).
The rally is to commence with a parade starting in Taipei’s Xinyi District (信義) before converging on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office, where a music event will be staged until midnight.
The groups said that although lawsuits filed against the Miramar Resort Village project by civic groups were successful in court, the county government still allowed the construction plan to pass an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in December last year.
The resort’s managment also announced it will hold a free beach festival on May 1, indicating that the complex is going into operation, the groups added.
A group of activists set off on a protest journey on foot from Shanyuan Beach on April 4 and plan to reach the Presidential Office in Taipei on Saturday, after walking more than 265km over the course of 17 days.
Tsai Chung-yueh (蔡中岳), a branch office director at Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan, said everyone is welcome to join the activists in walking the final 4.2km of the journey to express their opposition to the hotel’s construction.
The groups’ demands include that the government tear down the Miramar Resort Village, give back clean natural beaches to the Taiwanese public rather than selling them to corporations, and to protect the oceanic ecosystem, such as coral and green sea turtles.
Chen Kei-mei (陳凱眉) from the Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association said the issue is of national concern because the original intention of enacting the EIA Act has been violated if the developer can begin construction before gaining approval and neglecting the Supreme Administrative Court’s final verdicts.
The Taiwan Environmental Information Association added that research has shown that the coral coverage rate off Shanyuan Beach has dropped from 38 percent in 2009 to 27 percent last year, and that the construction project can directly impact coral by covering it with soil washed into the ocean.