There have been a few major developments on the Mirimar hotel at Shan Yuan beach.
Last Sunday, a meeting was held to discuss the status of the situation. Out of that it was decided to commemorate the camp-in initative that gave the movement a timely shot in the arm last year and turn that into an annual event. The camp will run for a week (or was it 3 day?) and culminate in a kick-arse concert on the beach on July 28. The feeling was that this Miramar Monstrosity had become a landmark case for the environmental movement in Taiwan, a groundswell case. And through the two recent court case decisions, some Taiwan history had been written. Making the camp an annual event was seen as a way to celebrate and build on that historical momentum.
A few other points were:
The movement's goal: Tear it down. As long as it's standing they'll be cooking up ways for it to open. Their whole stategy from the very beginning was to just flagrantly flout all the development laws, in cahoots with the Taidong Council, and go ahead and build it. And then later say, oh yeah, we're sorry about that, but hey, it's already built now! Just let us open it up this once and we promise we won't do it again (muffled lol).
To be replaced with?: A clean, public park with change-rooms and showers and low-rise development including a thriving array of guest houses, restaurants, cafes, dive shops. In other words, pretty much exactly the way it was before. In fact, if you go a bit further back, it was a marina for yachts. You don't see many yachts in Taiwan but an old picture of the bay from 30 odd years ago shows several of them moored there. It looked great.
The hotel ruins: Someone had the left-field idea of plonking the hotel into the ocean and letting it become a reef as well a memorial. It was thought that it would be good to consult a few marine experts before a decision was made on that one.
Slogan for Camp-in Concert activity: Despite the high court clearly ruling that the building was illegal from the get-go, the hotel, although not continuing with any building activity, is still staffing it and maintaining it. And they have a sign up which says, 'Are you open?' 'No, not yet.' As such it was decided that the movement's slogan should be:
'Ho, has it been torn down?' 'No, not yet.'
Key Argument to be Reinforced: It's illegal. The end.
Everyone's awfully bu hao yi se to interfere with your brazen greed and environmental destruction, but the high court has gone and ruled you illegal. sorry, it's over, let it go. A running joke was made at the meeting because of my crappy chinese as people tend to finish sentences with 'ni ting de dong ma?' when talking to me. Then they started doing it to each other in arguments for a cheap laugh as well, and finally someone came up with an alternative slogan: 'You're illegal. Ni ting de dong ma?' Was decided that this could well have been one of those things sounds better at the time, and it was moved to check it again next meeting.
That was a couple of days ago, but then today, the news wasn't so jolly, though not at all surprising, actually, but still astounding at the same time. The Taidong Council has decided to 'over-rule' the supreme court and declare their decision regarding the environmental impact statement 'invalid'. In the high court ruling, where it was found that the EIS panel had been blatantly stacked with political cronies, it was stipulated that (a) the assessment that had been done was invalid, and (b) in order to apply for a new EIS they would need to demolish the building, return the land to its original condition, then reapply.
It's this ('b) part' that the council has 'over-ruled' and have declared that they are going ahead, and in fact rushing through, a new all-improved EIS. 'And this time we'll get them to declare that the entire east coast habitat will be greatly enhanced from an open concrete slathering while we're at it.'
As such, there's a protest rally on at the Taidong Council building this Sat, June 2, at 12.30pm. Extra bods are always good, as is information spreading, especially through media channels. This is a bold show of defiance against the rule of law in Taiwan by the Taidong Council and the Miramar Hotel Group that will have serious consequences for the oasis of undeveloped natural beauty that currently exists on the east coast.