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Submissions on the “Space for All” Consultation Document by LanDAC

i Apr 30th No Comments by

Summary

Read LIM’s two Submissions on the “Lantau Development Public Engagement Digest“,
One is a Lantau Wide Response (in PDF or Text Version) and
the other is focused on Mui Wo (in PDF or Text Version).

Lantau Wide Response

Lantau Wide Response

Mui Wo Focused Response

Mui Wo Focused Response

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were many other well considered submissions made by others including:

plus articles in the SCMP including:

Here is some background on the topic.  The Lantau Development Advisory Committee (LanDAC) was formed in January 2014 to be:

“mainly responsible for advising the Government on opportunities brought by the planning and major infrastructure in Lantau and on various aspects of sustainable development and conservation of the island, with a view to fully capitalising on its locational advantages and seizing development opportunities to foster the long term socio-economic development of Hong Kong. “
(according to http://www.landac.hk/en/about-us)

In January 2016 LanDAC released the “Lantau Development Public Engagement Digest” which was open for comments until 30 April 2016.

Living Islands Movement (LIM) consulted with its members and reviewed the LanDAC website and associated documents, plus attended a number of forums and hosted Ching-min CHAN from the Development Bureau at our AGM on 9 April.

 

Full Text version of Lantau Wide Response

The Secretariat,
Lantau Development Advisory Committee
17/F., East Wing, Central Government Offices,
2 Tim Mei Avenue, Tamar, Hong Kong

By e-mail: landac@devb.gov.hk

29 April 2016

Public response to
Lantau Development Public Engagement Digest “Space for All”
Lantau Wide Response

The Living Islands Movement (LIM) is an organisation dedicated to creating a liveable Lantau for all and has members across Hong Kong, with a significant number living on Lantau Island. LIM has consulted with its members and reviewed the LanDAC website and associated documents.

We conclude that the consultation document and process to date has not been well planned and certainly does not represent a visionary document fitting for “Asia’s World City”. The digest is very disappointing as it does not deliver in terms of “Balancing and enhancing development and conservation, with a view to developing Lantau into a smart and low-carbon community for living, work, business, leisure and study”.

There have been many concerns expressed and interesting proposals suggested during the preparation of this submission. However, we have chosen to highlight 10 key items only, on the assumption that there will be many other meaningful opportunities for the community to work with Government on the overall planning and detailed design of development on and near Lantau Island. Our 10 key items are:

  1.  The ‘Space for All’ plan was devised by LanDAC, an advisory Committee appointed by the Development Secretary and constituted of an overwhelming majority of developers.  Only one member of LanDAC is recognisable as a conservationist.  The remit of LanDAC was to produce a plan which balanced the need for development with the need for conservation.  This did not happen.  The Government now needs to appoint expert conservationists to sit in equal numbers with developers on this Committee if they are to stand any chance of gaining credibility with the public about their intentions on conservation.
  2.  Public consultation has been too quick and too thin.  No public consultation has been held in Mui Wo, one of the key areas that will potentially be impacted most by the plans.
  3.  No needs-based study has been conducted or presented to support the Government’s claims about the need to build housing for a million people.  No needs-based study has been conducted or presented concerning making Lantau a logistics hub for the PRD.
  4.  No Strategic Environmental Study has been conducted for the plans, to ascertain what cumulative environmental and conservation consequences may result from implementation of its various elements.
  5.  The ‘Space for All’ plan is not compliant with Hong Kong’s obligations under the International Biodiversity Convention.  Hong Kong should be committed to protecting areas of high biodiversity value, such as Lantau Island, not causing significant damage to valuable eco-systems and habitats, which this plan will inevitably do.
  6.  The plan has NO suggestions about enhancing conservation as it claims.  The only suggestions it has about conservation are to increase access, including for large tourist numbers, which will require building more infrastructure and which will significantly diminish conservation.
  7.  The Government’s own concept plan from 2007 suggested the South of Lantau would be largely untouched and reserved for recreation and leisure.  Yet, ‘Space for All’ is littered with suggestions for ‘medium’ sized projects on the south of Lantau to attract large numbers of tourists to ‘theme park’ type attractions.
  8.  Despite claiming that the South of Lantau would be protected, the Government has not ensured any statutory protection for the ‘Coastal Protection Areas’ along the South Lantau coast.  This has resulted in significant illegal landfilling and fly-tipping.  The Government needs to ensure that statutory protection is applied and enforced forthwith.
  9.  The majority of Hong Kong’s public enjoy Lantau as a green lung, somewhere to escape the fumes and congestion of high density housing and urban living.  The current peace and tranquility of Lantau is exactly why people like to go there.  If this is destroyed then Lantau becomes like anywhere else in Hong Kong.
  10.  We implore the Government not to proceed with a funicular railway up Sunset Peak.  There is already a cable car to Ngong Ping, close to the summit of Lantau Peak, we should leave the other major peak untouched.  It already has good accessibility by way of the Lantau Trail and is enjoyed by many for its peace, tranquility and unspoilt views.

LIM supports the following comment made by Ruy Barretto in his submission:

“LanDAC should not assume that their proposals are in the overall interest of Hong Kong when they are not. The Plan is focused on private interests which will commercialize the countryside. The Digest is based on a series of assumptions and subjective opinion. This is not a valid basis for spending billions of dollars of public money and destroying the environment.”

LIM strongly urges the Government and LanDAC to publish clear steps to show how any Blueprint will be developed. Those steps should include meetings and workshops with environmental, business, tourist, cultural and social interest groups so that individuals and professional bodies can work together with the Government to facilitate “Balancing and enhancing development and conservation, with a view to developing Lantau into a smart and low-carbon community for living, work, business, leisure and study”.

Regards
Living Islands Movement

 

Full Text version of Mui Wo Focused Response

The Secretariat,
Lantau Development Advisory Committee
17/F., East Wing, Central Government Offices,
2 Tim Mei Avenue, Tamar, Hong Kong

By e-mail: landac@devb.gov.hk

29 April 2016

Public response to
Lantau Development Public Engagement Digest “Space for All”
Mui Wo Response (see separate Lantau Wide Response)

The Living Islands Movement (LIM) is an organisation dedicated to creating a liveable Lantau for all and has members across Hong Kong, with a significant number living on Lantau Island. LIM has consulted with its members and reviewed the LanDAC website and associated documents.

This submission focuses on the Planning Issues for Mui Wo and can be read separately to LIM’s other submission titled “Lantau Wide Response”.

Mui Wo is pivotal to the Lantau Development plan since it is the historic gateway to South Lantau and the crossroads between the South Lantau, ELM and North Lantau sectors of LANDAC’s schema.

Space for All mentions numerous ideas under different categories:

  1. General – Utilizing abandoned agricultural land, fish ponds and under-utilized land (page 9) [1]
  2. Tourism – “Mui Wo historic rural area”, one of four scenic areas with unique characteristics (page 8)
  3. Recreation – “an adventure park (e.g. zip-line, hillside slide, paintball/war games, etc.), an aqua park (e.g. Wibit, fly-boarding), mountain biking, Segway riding etc.” (page 19)
  4. Transport Infrastructure – “possible road and Rail Links from/to the ELM and to the north Lantau shore” (pages 16 and 17)
  5. Conservation: No specific mention, but clearly 2 implies conservation of most of the Mui Wo basin to the West of the Ferry Pier and Old Town areas. Also, LIM’s vision for Mui Wo includes a wetland park in the valuable area in the South West of the basin.

Unfortunately, no overview is provided on how these diverse ideas might fit together to form a viable, holistic plan for the area. Many of them are potentially in conflict, and there are no specifics on location, land requirements and sequencing.

Recent experience is that government has found it difficult to implement even a small part of the “Mui Wo Facelift Plan” first launched in 2007. Reasons are:

  • It has proved difficult to reconcile conflicting land use interests and coordinate efficiently among the many government departments involved. For example free parking on Mui Wo waterfront near Ferry Pier for large commercial vehicles, versus pubic demand for recreation space, waterfront cafes and restaurants etc.
  • Slow progress on implementing the Mui Wo Sewage Improvement Scheme. For example, Phase II has been in planning since 2009 but has still not received final approval. Phase I commenced later than expected and had the knock-on effect of delaying the start of Stage I of the Mui Wo Face Lift by some 18 months.
  • Unwillingness to include conservation and recreation objectives under Land Resumption for “public purposes”. For example, heritage trails and cycling trails in Mui Wo basin area, first proposed in 2007/2008, have been postponed indefinitely because in all cases “private land” is involved.

LIM believes that a new approach is needed to Mui Wo development. The main objectives are to:

  • Accelerate the Mui Wo Face Lift through to completion of phase III in a 5 year time-frame.
  • Roll out the sewage scheme to the whole of the Mui Wo basin more urgently, to facilitate upgrading of the village environments and to avoid impeding other developments.
  • Undertake a new planning exercise to see what else can be done without destroying the essential rural character of the area. This may include updating the existing Mui Wo Fringe Outline Zoning Plan and extending it to include un-zoned areas such as Silvermine Beach, Wang Tong Village and Tung Wan Tau villages and environs.

We look forward to participating in workshops and forums held in Mui Wo, with a wide representation of stakeholders and Government departments, to position Mui Wo as a pilot showcasing how in reality Hong Kong can achieve “Balancing and enhancing development and conservation, with a view to developing Lantau into a smart and low-carbon community for living, work, business, leisure and study”.

Regards
Living Islands Movement

[1] We don’t understand this statement. The reality is that Mui Wo basin has only about 100 hectares of flat land. Most is already taken with Village (“Small House”) development and agriculture (eco-farming). There is however a wetland of high ecological value to the South West.

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