Miramar Resort Hotel Co has demanded NT$1.2 billion (US$39.08 million) from the Taitung County Government in compensation for repeated delays in the construction of a resort project.
The company has filed a request for arbitration after exhausting administrative and legal means to keep the project alive, Miramar Resort Hotel deputy manager Lin Hung-che (林弘哲) said.
Taitung County Deputy Commissioner Chen Chin-hu (陳金虎) yesterday confirmed that the county government has received a court notice for arbitration and is putting together “the strongest team possible” for the legal fight to minimize financial effects on the county.
The project started in 2004, when the county government signed an agreement with the company to build a resort at Shanyuan Bay (杉原灣) in Beinan Township (卑南).
The agreement allowed Miramar to build and operate the resort for 50 years before turning it over to the county.
Construction on 0.95 hectares began in October 2005, but the company in April 2006 expanded the project to cover 6 hectares of beach area.
Environmental groups that year called on the county to conduct a new environmental impact assessment (EIA) to take the expansion into consideration.
The county put together a committee to conduct an EIA. After five meetings, the committee in 2007 approved the expansion.
The main structure was completed in March 2007 on land that was approved for use under the initial agreement.
The groups in June that year sued the county and the company on suspicion of collusion, theft and illegal dumping.
The groups filed another lawsuit two months later, demanding that the project be halted.
The Environmental Protection Administration asked the county government to instruct Miramar to halt construction.
In 2008, the county conditionally approved an EIA, which prompted environmentalists to file new lawsuits against the company saying that the construction license and EIA were invalid.
The High Administrative Court in 2010 ruled that the license was invalid and ordered the county to halt the development.
The Supreme Administrative Court in January 2012 ruled that there were irregularities in the county’s 2008 EIA approval, as some committee members were county officials.
Then-minister of the interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) in October 2012 said that the resort should be torn down before another EIA could be carried out, because the construction was illegal.
In October 2014, the Kaohsiung High Administrative Court ruled that the seventh EIA on the expansion was invalid. The county appealed the ruling, but lost the appeal on March 31, 2016.
In November last year, Taitung County Commissioner Justin Huang (黃健庭) told the Taitung County Council that Miramar intended to file for arbitration.
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