Sat, Sep 27, 2014 - Page 4 News List

Environmentalists protest in Tainan

PROTECTING THE SOURCE:Activists protested a plan to develop the nation’s largest amusement park on a plot of land in Tainan that contains a natural spring

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Environmentalists yesterday protested at an Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) development scoping meeting against Uni-President Group’s planned Dream World, saying that the company has not yet undergone the necessary assessments to prove that it has restored 22 plots of land it exploited in an area containing a natural spring in Greater Tainan. The environmentalists also urged the Tourism Bureau to remove the project from its list of major national development plans.

The meeting was held in preparation for the project’s second-phase environmental impact assessment (EIA), which must be passed before further development of what is planned to be the nation’s largest amusement park.

Tainan Water Conservation Union director-general Chiu Chun-hua (邱春華) said that Uni-Tung Lo Development Corp, a developer and a subsidiary of Uni-President Group, was found guilty in 2008 by the Tainan District Court of occupying property to make illicit profits, including 114 plots of state-owned land amounting to 24 hectares.

The firm also ignored the requirements stipulated by the Rules for Monitoring Water and Soil Preservation Plans (水土保持計畫審核監督辦法) when it submitted a soil and water conservation plan to the then-Tainan County Government, as the development involved 22 plots of land exceeding 2 hectares, she said.

The project also contravened the Environmental Impact Assessment Act (環境影響評估法), which stipulates that development projects in areas containing natural springs that exceed 5 hectares may only be conducted after passing an EIA, she added.

Taiwan Water Conservation Union director-general Wu Li-hui (吳麗慧) criticized the Tourism Bureau’s move to list the project as a major national development plan in October 2008 when it knew about the company’s violations, saying that the bureau was encouraging illegal development.

She urged the bureau to remove the project from its list, while also urging the National Property Administration not to sell state-owned land within the 152 hectare area of the proposed project.

Taiwan Water Conservation Alliance spokesperson Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) proposed that the scoping meeting be suspended until the authorities justify the company’s plan to proceed with development in the area, which consists of mostly state-owned land.

Uni-Tung Lo manager Lii Yaw-ming (李耀名) said that the company had already been penalized for its violations, including paying a fine, and the project had been halted for two years, adding that the authorities had not imposed any restrictions on the project since.

He said that the company is spending more than NT$1 million (US$33,000) a year to lease land from the bureau as a “joint developer.”

EIA committee member Feng Chiu-hsia (馮秋霞), who presided over the meeting, demanded that representatives from the Tourism Bureau, the Greater Tainan Government and the National Property Administration attend a follow-up meeting.

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