Dozens of environmental activists and Yilan residents yesterday rallied in front of the Tourism Bureau’s Travel Service Center in Taipei to protest against a development plan to build a hotel and villa complex along Honeymoon Bay (蜜月灣) in a scenic area on the northeast coast over concerns that the authorities will intercede on behalf of developers to pass the project hastily before the Yilan County Government can submit its coastal preservation plan.
The protesters demanded that the Environmental Protection Administration restart the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process because the EIA report for the project was passed in 2003, saying it no longer reflects the present situation, given the extreme weather conditions of recent years.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ou-po (陳歐珀) said the project is still under review by the Construction and Planning Agency and demanded that the Northeast and Yilan Coast Scenic Area Administration halt yesterday’s review of the project.
Photo provided by Chen Ou-po
He said that due to the extreme weather and potential dip slopes at the proposed site, landslides may occur during typhoons.
The formula determining the potential threat tsunamis would cause the 107.4 hectare hotel complex is also faulty, as the measurement was based on waves during typhoons, he said.
He said that the companies pushing the project, Luo-Hsu Foundation Inc and Poh-Ai Enterprise, have very close ties with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), former National Security Council secretary-general King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) and Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), with both having served as president of Luo-Hsu, and that it is likely that the developers would use their connections with the KMT to secure approval for the project.
During the review, Yilan County Environmental Protection Bureau Director-General Cheng Teng-chin (陳登欽) said the project had changed dramatically over the years and would cause a greater impact on the environment, and that if the plan is not handled carefully, Honeymoon Bay would be eradicated and large stretches of forest razed to the ground.
The project originally proposed building nine villas, but now it involves plans to build 72 and Yilan County Commissioner Lin Tsung-hsien (林聰賢) has made it clear that he will not approve the project unless amendments are made.
He accused the Environmental Protection Administration of adopting a passive stance on whether to restart the EIA process for the plan, issuing only a document of general statement, while calling on Northeast Coast Scenic Area Administration Director Fang Cheng-kuang (方正光) to halt the review until the administration responds to the demands.
However, Fang dismissed the meeting after announcing that the project is to undergo an internal review by his agency, prompting Chen to say that he would launch an investigation of Fang if the project is passed.
Meanwhile, long-time environmentalist Thomas Chan (詹順貴) said that he has issued a notice to the Environmental Protection Administration asking it to clarify its stance on whether the initial EIA would be revoked by the middle of next month; otherwise he plans to file a lawsuit against the administration.
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