The planned luxurious hotel by Wyndham Hotels & Resorts will have to put on hold its construction –at least after it has fulfilled the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIS) required from them by the   Environmental Quality Protection Board (EQPB) to address the “impacts” to the environment of the resorts.

In a notice of determination: finding of significant impacts sent to the hotel’s developer Sea Sky Development Group Inc., the EQPB found the project “involves a substantial degradation of environmental quality and “conflict with Palau’s long-term environmental policies or goals for high-end, environmentally friendly projects which value quality over quantity.”

The project, which was heavily endorsed, by House Speaker Sabino Anastacio and Senate President Hokkons Baules during the groundbreaking ceremony in July will be located in Aimeliik State.

It will compose of large hotel complex consisting of the hotel tower, mountain villas, bungalows, artificial beach, and a marina.

Chinese investors also back the project. Anastacio and Baules took the opportunity during the groundbreaking ceremony unveiling the planned development to push for a “friendlier” approach to China.

Wyndham Hotel earlier boasted Aimeliik as an unspoiled region, which is home to spectacular natural landscapes, ancient villages and crystal-clear seas teeming with colorful marine life.”

However, EQPB said the over-the-water bungalows construction will affect the environmental-sensitive area, such as the reef area, mangrove swamp, fresh water, and coastal water.”

The project will be a 593 resort that includes 132 hotel guestrooms and over 400 villas, with some to be built over the seas.

EQPB said it, however, approved a part of the construction of rooms, which will not impact the environment. Only the mountain villas have been approved for construction.

The project is located in Ngerchemiangel, Aimeliik State on a private land and marine area. The site covers 45,293 square meters of land including 125,000 square meters of water rights.

The EQPB also said that the magnitude of the project will also involve secondary impacts such as population changes or effects on public facilities and increased pressure on infrastructure use.

The EIS is a time-consuming and expensive process which most applicants tried to avoid. (Bernadette Carreon)