Taitung blamed for Miraika Resort Project

  • Jason Pang / Staff Reporter

The Control Yuan on Wednesday criticized the Taitung county government for its handling of the controversial Miramar Resort project in Beinan Township, Taitung County, and recommended criminal investigators to investigate the case.

Control Yuan’s report was presented by members Gao Chung Cheng, Zhao Yongqing, and Tian Qiu Jian. They made numerous site visits and interviewed stakeholders and residents.

After Taitung Prefecture purchased the project from Miramar Resort Hotel Company for NT$629 million (US$20.95 million at the current exchange rate) in 2020, Taitung city officials said Friday that the project’s location was decided by the government. It said it had been transformed into an operated beach and recreation park.

Photo: CNA

Construction on the resort began in 2005 and the main building was nearly completed in 2007, when a coalition of residents, environmental groups and academics complained that an environmental impact assessment (EIA) had not been conducted.

The hotel operator filed for arbitration in August 2018, demanding NT$1.219 billion from the county government.

Kao said the county was negligent in negotiating the acquisition.

Kao said county officials may have colluded with the company because the terms of the deal favored the previous owner.

Arbitration panel members said the dispute was due to unforeseen factors, Kao said.

Previously, the county did not mandate EIAs and could not enforce regulations during construction, Kao added.

Tien said county officials likely covered up the illegal activities.

According to Kao, the county did not object when operators unilaterally expanded the construction plan from four to six stories and suites from 80 to 123.

Zhao said protests and lawsuits by environmental groups and local residents had opened a “Pandora’s box” revealing possible complicity and profit from government officials and companies involved in the project. .

The project spanned five county commission terms, so finding a key government culprit was difficult, but it was clear there was a close relationship between the county government and the companies involved, Jao said. said.

Zhao added that the project harmed the environment at a beachside resort project.

“The county government did not have proper oversight and did not address violations by businesses,” Zhao said. “Officials were either negligent or inactive. They deceived the public.”

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