Academics blast resort project

DEMOLITION::More than 600 academics have signed a petition demanding that all construction on Miramar Resort Village be halted in line with a court ruling

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Nov 22, 2012 - Page 3

A group of academics yesterday urged the government to tear down the Miramar Resort Village project and called on their peers to refuse to join an environmental impact assessment (EIA) meeting on the controversial project next week.

A final verdict by the Supreme Administrative Court in September ruled that the EIA conclusion on the beachfront Miramar Resort Village at Taitung County’s Shanyuan Beach (杉原沙灘) was invalid and ordered that all construction work be halted.

While many civic groups called for the “illegal construction” to be torn down to protect the environment, the Taitung County Government has scheduled a new EIA meeting on the project for Thursday next week.

Miramar Resort Village said in a press release yesterday that tearing down the construction “will cause more negative impacts than positive ones” and that the project has always proceeded according to the law.

Tai Hsing-sheng (戴興盛), an associate professor at National Dong Hwa University’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, said the local government’s decision to proceed with the project in spite of the court’s final verdict had “seriously damaged the dignity of a nation ruled by law.”

Tai added that 636 academics had signed a petition against the project within the past week.

The group also urged academics on the Environmental Impact Assessment Committee not to attend the meeting next week.

David Chang (張長義), a professor at National Taiwan University’s geography department who was a member of the EIA committee that reviewed the Miramar project several years ago, said most members who had expressed concern about or rejected the project have been removed from the committee by the local government over the years.

This shows the problem of “having the player [developer] act as the referee [reviewer],” Chang said.

In addition, he said the hotel is located in an environmentally sensitive area and could have a negative impact on the local ecology. Its location also overlaps with the traditional territory of Amis Aborigines.

“The government is acting like an ‘untamed horse running free’ by not conforming to the court’s ruling,” said Tu Wen-ling (杜文苓), an assistant professor at Shih-hsin University’s Department of Public Policy and Management.

She said the Miramar Resort Village was indicative of how the administration ignores the rule of law, pushing for another EIA in an attempt to have the construction project approved.

She said the government should put a stop to the project right now.

Liu Chiung-hsi (劉炯錫), a professor at National Taitung University’s Department of Natural Sciences, said academic members of the EIA committee should use their professional judgement and act responsibly.