Fri, Dec 06, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Interior ministry to close unlicensed lodging in Cingjing

MOUNTAIN OF WORRY:Bed and breakfasts, lodges and guest houses, many with faux Tudor or Alpine exteriors, have proliferated in the area in recent years

Staff writer, with CNA

Only four of the 134 inns and guesthouses in Cingjing (清境), Nantou County, are legal operations, Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) said yesterday, as he vowed to close all unlicensed lodgings in disaster-prone areas of the popular mountain resort area.

There will be “no room for negotiation” over the dismantling of illegal guesthouses in areas of Cingjing with a high risk of disasters from earthquakes ortorrential rain, Lee told a press conference.

Lee said nearly half of the 498-hectare scenic area had been identified as “high risk” in a push to reduce overdevelopment.

The ministry’s move comes amid increased public awareness of the threat of overdevelopment because of the documentary Beyond Beauty: Taiwan from Above (看見台灣), which has become a box office hit.

The ministry will publicize a list of illegal guesthouses and inns in Cingjing within two weeks and announce its preliminary actions and follow-up steps, Lee said.

Guesthouses in “less dangerous” areas will be able to receive guidance on how to carry out low-impact land development. Conditions will be set which they must meet to become legitimate.

Prosecutors in Nantou County have also opened investigations into 80 businesses on suspicion of occupying state-owned land or violating the Soil and Water Conservation Act (水土保持法) or the Act for the Utilization and Transfer of Reserved Mountainous Land (山坡地保育利用條例).

Many of the lodges, guesthouses and bed and breakfasts that have opened in the area in recent years are notorious for the faux Tudor style or Alpine designs.

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