Environmental groups and residents from Taitung staged protests in front of the Environmental Protection Administration building in Taipei yesterday, voicing opposition to the illegal construction of the Shanyuan Palm Beach Resort (杉原棕櫚渡假村) at Taitung County’s Dulan Bay (都蘭灣).
The nearly 26-hectare resort project with 550 hotel rooms had passed its environmental impact assessment (EIA) review in March 2002, but because it had not begun construction within the designated three-year period, it was required to resubmit an environmental impact report, including strategies for addressing impacts in preparation for a new EIA review.
Before the EIA committee met yesterday to review the project, the discovery by local residents that the resort had already begun construction in May led to a fine from the county government’s Bureau of Environmental Inspection, Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan researcher Huang Fei-Yueh (黃斐悅) said.
Huang said six development projects planned for the small resort bay area have already started construction, including the controversial Miramar Resort Hotel (美麗灣渡假村), and fears that having large numbers of tourists visit the area would have a severe negative impact on the local ecology.
The Shanyuan Palm Beach Resort is about 4.4 times the size of the Miramar Resort Hotel and located on a hillside where the land is not stable, Huang said, adding that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications has previously estimated the area could draw 14,000 visitors a day and would need about 6,000 hotel rooms by 2021.
Lin Shu-ling (林淑玲), an Amis Aboriginal resident of the area, said that while the court ruled Miramar Resort Hotel must stop construction, the Shanyuan Palm Beach Resort has begun construction before gaining EIA approval.
“The government should conduct a comprehensive strategic environmental assessment on the area to limit the developments within its bearing capacity,” she said.
Yesterday’s EIA meeting concluded that the environmental monitoring data provided by the developing company was outdated and it needed to resubmit more recent data for further review.