The Supreme Administrative Court decided last week that the controversial Miramar Resort Hotel (美麗灣渡假村) construction project should cease operations. The company is now considering laying off about 40 employees.
Miramar Group signed a contract with Taitung County Government for the build-operate-transfer (BOT) beachfront hotel project in 2004, and began construction of the main buildings in Taitung County’s Shanyuan Bay in 2005.
The project has faced continuous opposition from environmental groups and local residents and even its Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) approval was withdrawn by the Supreme Administrative Court early last year after civic groups filed a lawsuit saying that the process was flawed.
Despite the opposition, the Taitung County Government went ahead with an EIA meeting late last year, giving a new approval to the project, and permitting the company to continue construction earlier this year.
To stop construction, civic groups applied for a provisional disposition, which resulted in the Kaohsiung High Administrative Court ordering the company to halt construction in July. The company and the county government then filed an appeal against that result.
The Supreme Administrative Court issued a final ruling last week that the project must be halted.
Resort’s deputy manager Chu Ying-chou (朱膺州) said the company was disappointed with the ruling, because it has already spent about 10 years on the project and is nearly finished, but will have to spend much more money on loan interest and personnel expenses if the project is halted now.
The company is working on arranging other employment opportunities for about 40 employees hired by the resort in a bid to save millions of dollars on personnel expenses every month and to minimize the negative impact on the careers of these employees, he said.
More than a dozen civic groups — including the Anti, Anti, Anti (反反反行動聯盟) movement — an amalgamation of environmental groups dedicated to removing the hotel that filed a lawsuit claiming the EIA process was flawed — issued a joint statement yesterday afternoon, urging the county government and the company to stop their illegal conduct and conform to the court’s ruling.
“The Taitung County Government should bear the most responsibility,” the groups said, adding “we are not against development in Taitung County, but we cannot accept a company illegally destroying Shanyuan Bay, or the local government’s arbitrary explanation of the ruling protecting the company.”
The groups also reprimanded the county government for turning a blind eye to the company shifting the blame to civic groups and individuals who are concerned about the environment.
They urged Miramar Group to take corporate social responsibility seriously by apologizing to the public and withdrawing the project.