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Penghu takes heat for beach fence

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Tourism Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications yesterday urged the Penghu County Government to give a detailed explanation over the building permit issuance process of the Penghu Bay Construction Company.

Local media reported that the public areas of Shili Beach (嵵裡沙灘) have been marked and fenced off by the Penghu Bay Construction Company, the company responsible for a development project at the beach.

Several locals have raised concerns over the fencing of the public beach, to which Penghu County Councilor Chen Shuang-chuan (陳雙全) has responded that the company has already been notified. Chen also appealed to investors of the project to avoid damaging the environment as a priority.

The company has also been ordered to cease fencing off the beach, and to dissemble the moulds used for cement. Chen also said that architects of the project have been advised to conduct question and answer sessions with locals to explain the details of the project, while the person responsible for the company has promised to remove the fences today.

Penghu County Economic Affairs Department Director Yeh Kuo-ching (葉國清) also responded to public complaints, stating that though the county issued the permit to the contractor, the company has yet to begin construction. The beach is also not the site for construction, and the county government will continue to supervise the contractor Yeh said.

Following reports of environmental groups raising concerns over the construction on national land, the Tourist Bureau has since urged the county government to provide a detailed explanation to the public on how the construction company was cleared for a permit.

In response, the county government cited the bureau as the agency responsible for issuing a preliminary permit to the contractor. The bureau replied to the statement made by the county government, stating that a preliminary permit does not mean a green light for construction.

According to the bureau, the project seeks to construct a 32-room hotel at the premise around the beach. As the agency charged with environmental evaluation, said the bureau, the Penghu County Government should have conducted a more detailed assessment with reports to the public.

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Construction materials are piled up within the fenced-in public areas of Shili Beach in Penghu County. Locals have raised their objections to contractors fencing the public areas.(CNA

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