The controversial construction of Miramar Resort Village at Taitung County’s Shanyuan Bay (杉原灣) gained conditional approval from a seventh Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) meeting yesterday, despite heated debate over the legitimacy of the project and the EIA meeting.
The joint build-operate-transfer project by the developer and the county government began construction in 2004.
The main building was built on a less than 1 hectare area by the beach, to avoid the EIA required for construction projects on land of more than 1 hectares.
Photo: Huang Chih-yuan, Taipei Times
The project later gained conditional approval from an EIA meeting at the local government for a total area of 6 hectares in 2008.
The project has sparked protests and lawsuits by environmentalists and local residents, and the Supreme Administrative Court in January made a final verdict ruling the project’s EIA conclusion invalid.
It reached another final verdict in September ordering the project to stop construction.
Photo: Huang Chih-yuan, Taipei Times
However, the Taitung County Government and the developer insisted the project was still legal and that it only needed to redo the EIA process and gain approval to proceed with its construction and operation plans.
Yesterday’s EIA meeting was held at the Taitung County Government, with hundreds of proponents and opponents of the project gathered outside the meeting venue.
Holding banners and calling on the protesters not to interfere with the meeting, local supporters and the Taitung Tourism Association shouted that the hotel would bring job opportunities.
Also holding up banners, people against the project questioned the legitimacy of redoing an EIA, saying it should be based on “precautionary principles” when the damage from the construction had already been done and that the EIA committee members were mostly from environmental engineering backgrounds, lacking expertise in the marine ecology, social and cultural aspects of the issue.
Meanwhile, more than 100 police were deployed outside the venue to prevent clashes between the different groups.
Police dragged several protesters along the ground or held them back with force to prevent them from entering the meeting.
The meeting convener — Taitung County Environmental Protection Bureau director Huang Ming-en (黃明恩) — led the committee members to another room for final discussions and refused to allow the media to enter the venue.
Following a closed-door meeting that lasted about half an hour, Huang announced that the project had been conditionally approved. Details of the conditions were not explained.
Shouting: “Illegal EIA meeting with invalid conclusion,” protesters said the EIA meeting yesterday was illegal and flawed and that as such, the meeting’s conclusion may be ruled invalid in court in the future.
BLUE WAVE: The KMT’s Chiang Wan-an defeated the DPP’s Chen Shih-chung and is to become Taipei mayor, while President Tsai Ing-wen stepped down as DPP chairperson after many of the party’s candidates, handpicked by the leadership, performed poorly The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday flipped key mayoral seats in Taipei, Taoyuan and Keelung, and won control of 13 out of 22 cities and counties in the nine-in-one local elections. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) last night resigned as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson over a poor showing by the party’s candidates, who were handpicked by the DPP leadership rather than chosen through primaries. The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) won its first high-profile race with Hsinchu mayoral candidate Ann Kao (高虹安) defeating Shen Hui-hung (沈慧虹) of the DPP with 45.02 percent of the vote to Shen’s 35.68 percent. Voters were choosing more than
UNDETERRED: The US chip designer’s plan showed that Taiwan remains attractive for investment by global companies despite cross-strait tensions, Wang Mei-hua said US graphics chip designer Nvidia Corp is planning to relocate its Hong Kong-based logistics center to Taiwan, Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said on Wednesday. The government had been in discussions with Nvidia regarding tax incentives to facilitate the move since last year, Wang said in an interview with the Central News Agency, adding that the two sides had reached a consensus. Wang did not provide details about the timetable for the move or the planned tax arrangements for Nvidia. The relocation would boost the local economy, as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is a major supplier of graphics processing
Kaohsiung police last week busted a money laundering operation suspected of seeking to interfere in tomorrow’s local elections. The operation was allegedly headed by a man surnamed Lee (李), who had received NT$9.5 billion (US$306.18 million) from China over the past six months, Kaohsiung police said yesterday, adding that Lee’s ring is suspected to be part of a larger Chinese effort to interfere in the elections and support pro-China candidates. Officers arrested Lee, 35, and his girlfriend, searched his mansion, and seized the money he had allegedly received from China and three luxury vehicles, police said. The operation was disguised as an online
SURRENDER PLEDGE: Prosecutors said Hsiang Te-en was not charged with treason or contravening the National Security Act, because evidence had been removed The Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday charged army Colonel Hsiang Te-en (向德恩) with corruption, accusing him of pledging allegiance to China and receiving payment from Chinese operatives to work as a spy. Prosecutors asked a court to sentence Hsiang to 12 years in prison. Hsiang is head of the Kaohsiung-based Army Infantry Training Command’s Operations Research and Development Division. He allegedly signed a “pledge of surrender” and promised to “serve, as best he may, in his office for the benefits of the motherland in the event of war across the [Taiwan] Strait,” the office said. Hsiang could not be charged with contraventions of