Copy of the 3rd submission made on 29 September 2017 by Living Islands Movement (LIM) to the Town Planning Board (TPB) with respect to the Caravan Park at Pui O – A/SLC/147.
The letter begins with this 1st point:
Read the full letter JGG Response to Bluepeint Jun2017 final co-signed by:
Copy of the submission made by Living Islands Movement (LIM) to the Town Planning Board (TPB) with respect to the Caravan Park at Pui O – A/SLC/147.
The Committee of LIM has growing concerns about how village houses are being built without the supporting public infrastructure. To express this concern we have written the following letter based on 3 new Small House Applications in the Luk Tei Tong Village.
We hope that by publishing this letter more members of the community can be aware of the issues and hopefully the concerns will be addressed by the relevant Government Departments.
Ms CHU Ho Kwan
District Lands Officer, Islands
19/F, Harbour Road Building
38 Pier Road
Central, Hong Kong
26 Nov 2016
(80) in LD DLO/IS 13/SHA/2011
(66) in LD DLO/IS 88/SHA/2012
(84) in LD DLO/IS 26/SHA/2011
Dear Ms CHU Ho Kwan
We wish to make the following comments regarding the captioned small house applications in Luk Tei Tong Village. These are the comments of the Living Islands Movement (LIM) Committee, but also reflect opinions expressed by members and local residents of the village.
There are specific concerns on each case, but the overriding consideration relates to the pace of development of the village, which in our opinion is too fast given the absence of supporting public infrastructure and the lack of any overall development plan for the village:
Planning for a village sewage scheme encompassing Luk Tei Tong was instigated as long ago as 2008, and despite the gazetting of a layout plan in December 2014, we understand that there is still no definitive time-line to finalize and implement the project. We are now told that construction may not commence within this decade.
The sewerage scheme was considered necessary from a public health standpoint on a projected increase in population of Luk Tei Tong Village from 300 to approximately 1,000 persons. It is unacceptable to LIM that this essential health and environmental protection project is being held back while the pace of small house approvals is accelerating. We have seen at least 20 new permits issued in the last few years and are aware that may be a similar number in the pipeline.
Emergency and General Access
While the Northern part of the village is served by an EVA road coming round via Tai Tei Tong village, the rest of the village is poorly served for access. Even at the centre of the oldest part of the village most of the pathways have to cross privately-held land. In the southern section of the village, which is currently being most rapidly developed, there are no paved pathways whatsoever.
We consider it unacceptable that no provision for emergency or general access is being made for the southern section of the village ahead of or prior to the addition of the 15-20 new small houses now under construction or in process, some of which are too close together to permit access.
Unlike other villages (such as Tai Tei Tong), Luk Tei Tong has virtually no public open space, no Refuse Collection Point (RCP), totally inadequate waste recycling facilities, few if any surface water drains, no public conveniences etc.
We consider it unacceptable to continue to issue new small house building licenses at the current pace without making provision for these most basic and essential public services in the village.
THE CURRENT APPLICATIONS
The applications on Lot Nos. 420 S.A. and 426 in DD3 MW are north-east facing at the front of the village, and encroach on sensitive wetland areas that are already stressed by pollution from grey water and sceptic tank overflow from the older properties nearby.
We believe these applications should not be approved without enhanced mitigation to protect the adjacent wetland areas from grey water and sewage pollution. We respectfully request comment from the Environmental Protection Department on these matters, including the reasons for the delay in implementing the village sewage project.
The application on Lot No. 308 RP in DD4 MW appears to close off entirely access to adjacent Lot Nos. 308 S.A. 308 S.B., and is far too close to the new small house recently completed on Lot No. 308 S.E. This application appears to be one in a series that may result in a tightly packed block of 8-10 houses which will have inadequate access and multiple sceptic tanks potentially polluting the adjacent wetland and village areas.
We respectfully request input from Planning and other relevant departments on these issues. We consider that this application should not be approved before the access and future layout of this section of the village have been clarified.
The Living Islands Movement
The Public Works Subcommittee of the Finance Committee has approved just over $42 million dollars to expand the mountain bike trail (MBT) networks in Mui Wo and Chi Ma Wan on South Lantau.
The project comprises construction of:
Details of the project, as presented to the Public Works Subcommittee of the LegCo Finance Committee on 22 June 2016 including the layout plans of the proposed Project shown in: Enclosure 1 Sheet 1 and Sheet 2.
They plan to commence the construction works in the fourth quarter of 2016 for completion by the fourth quarter of 2017.
A brief update from Martin Lerigo following the JR hearing held on 27 Sep 2016, while we wait for the judgement.
Thanks to all who attended, fascinating day in court. Significant press and TV coverage (nine daily newspapers and four TV news stations), due in large part to the presence of Eddie ‘King of Votes’ Chu. Please see the Living Islands Movement (LIM) website and Facebook page for all the links.
Our legal team had a good day in court, with closing arguments going particularly well. That the judge sees merit in our aims and goals is not in doubt, he said as much. It will all come down to his judgement about the ‘discretion’ the current legislation affords to the Director Environmental Protection. That there is any dispute about such discretion in relation to ecological hotspots like the Pui O wetlands is astounding and a reflection of how the legislation has been framed to suit special interest groups rather than the needs of all Hong Kongers. The judge however cannot rule on what should be common sense, he has to interpret the law as it stands.
It will be 4-6 weeks until a written judgement arrives, I’ll update this group as soon as I have it. Please keep everything crossed and thanks for the ongoing support from so many of you.
For background on the case refer to:
Press Release – 26 September 2016
Pui O Wetland Judicial Review on Tuesday from 10am
Joint Group Statement
On Tuesday 27 September at 10am, the High Court will hear what could be a ground-breaking Judicial Review probing the Government’s obligation to prevent the destruction of beautiful wetland habitat from the dumping of construction rubble by private landowners.
In this instance local people living close to the Pui O wetlands on Lantau Island have brought the action to try and prevent the destruction of precious wetland habitat, home to rare and semi-rare wetland plants, amphibians, butterflies, migratory birds and Hong Kong’s last feral herd of water buffalo.
Local people first noticed the construction of illegal vehicle access ramps, built from construction rubble, nearly 2 years ago. Next followed 20 tonne trucks that brought load after load of concrete, brick, tiles, containing amongst other things, corroded batteries, solvents and paints, and proceeded to dump them right in the middle of pristine wetland meadow, which hitherto, had been untouched for 40 years.
Both local people and visitors alike were incredulous and immediately called the Government hotline to report the dumping, fully expecting the relevant departments to react by removing the rubble and prosecuting those responsible.
Alas, it wasn’t to be. The Lands Department eventually removed the illegal vehicle access ramps, after continuing pressure from local concern groups but the Environmental Protection Department said that the dumping of rubble in the wetland meadows was legal. Even worse, the Director of Environmental Protection had been informed about it in advance and had given tacit permission through something called an ‘acknowledgement’ system, introduced as part of the amended Waste Disposal Ordinance in 2014. When pushed on this point the current Director of Environmental Protection said that he has absolutely no discretion to stop such dumping no matter how ecologically important the land is.
This appears to be yet another example of the Government giving precedence to the special interests of rural kingpins over the needs of all other Hong Kongers.
If the court upholds the Government’s position then it spells potential disaster for any piece of ecologically important land which is in private hands.
Green groups across the territory anxiously await the outcome of the case, heard before judge Thomas Au.
Signed by (in alphabetical order)
– Ark Eden
– Designing Hong Kong
– Friends of Hoi Ha
– Friends of the Earth (HK)
– Green Lantau Association
– Green Power
– Hong Kong Outdoors
– Lantau Buffalo Association
– Living Islands Movement
– Living Lamma
– Plastic Free Seas
– Protection of Animals Lantau South (P.A.L.S)
– Society of Hong Kong Nature Explorers
– Tai O Community Cattle Group
– The Conservancy Association
– The Green Earth
– The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society
– WWF-Hong Kong
—- Press Release Ends —–
Any media queries please contact Living Islands Representatives (firstname.lastname@example.org):
– Martin Lerigo (6392 9432)
– Merrin Pearse (9156 9573)
– Roy Ng (9558 9350) for Chinese enquires
Further information on the 4 points of law that the Pui O Wetlands JR will challenge the Government on can be found at http://www.livingislands.org.hk/2016/08/09/pui-o-wetlands-jr-will-challenge-the-government-on-four-points-of-law/
Living Islands Movement (www.livingislands.org.hk/) is a non-affiliated, local group dedicated to the sustainable environment of Hong Kong’s outlying islands – with a focus on Lantau. LIM is made up entirely of volunteers. All money raised through donations and membership fees goes directly into funding campaigns.
Dear Dr Pearse,
We refer to your enquiry dated 1 August 2016 requesting information related to the Signature Project in Mui Wo .
The Chief Executive announced in his 2013 Policy Address that a one-off provision of $100 million would be earmarked for each district to initiate project(s) under the Signature Project Scheme (SPS). The project(s) should address local needs or highlight the characteristics of the district, and have a visible and lasting impact in the community. The Islands District Council (IsDC) has decided to implement two projects under the SPS, i.e.
Mui Wo used to be a major tourist destination on Lantau Island and a transportation hub for visitors to other parts of Lantau Island. Since the development of Tung Chung, the Ngong Ping 360 cable car system and the new Tung Chung Road, the number of visitors going to Mui Wo has significantly declined. The local community in Mui Wo is keen to rejuvenate Mui Wo as a leisure rural township.
In this regard, the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) is implementing the “Improvement Works at Mui Wo” project by phases in the town centre area of Mui Wo, particularly in the area from the ferry pier leading to the Silvermine Bay (SMB) Beach. Phase 1 of the improvement works has already started in July 2014 with a target completion date in end-2016.
Among the various scenic spots in Mui Wo, the SMB Beach is the most well-known tourist attraction. Since the SMB Beach has become a gazetted beach in the 1960s, small-scale improvement or repair works have been carried out for the beach facilities. However, the overall design and the facilities are dated and aged. More importantly, the existing facilities on the beach are inadequate to serve the large number of visitors during the swimming seasons and major annual events such as the Mui Wo Dragon Boat Race and the SMB Music Festival.
Riding on CEDD’s “Improvement Works at Mui Wo” project which will enhance the environment and attractiveness of Mui Wo town centre, IsDC has decided to implement the SMB Project as one of the SPS projects of Islands District, with a view to rejuvenating the SMB Beach and achieving synergy with CEDD’s project in boosting the number of visitors to Mui Wo.
After formal endorsement at the IsDC meeting in April 2013, a public forum was held in October 2013 to introduce the background and the scope of the SMB Project which received very positive feedback. In addition, a public briefing was held in November 2014 to brief the local community on the proposed layout and architectural designs of the project. Apart from indicating their support, attendees of the two public consultation activities urged for early implementation of the project. IsDC endorsed the layout and architectural designs for the project in December 2014.
The proposed scope of works under the SMB Project includes –
A site plan, floor plans and artist’s impression of the SMB Project are attached as Annexes 1 to 3 respectively.
The SMB Project will adopt a modern design for the beach facilities and buildings as well as the viewing deck, fostering the relaxing atmosphere of holiday resorts. After completion of the SMB Project, the facilities on the beach, such as changing rooms, toilet cubicles and BBQ pits, will be significantly enhanced. The proposed viewing deck near the seashore at the entrance to the beach will provide an excellent place for visitors to enjoy the scenery of the SMB and to watch the annual major event – Mui Wo Dragon Boat Race.
The proposed works are expected to commence in late 2016 for completion in 2018.
Here is a link to the Site Plan, Floor plans and artisit’s impression of the SMB Project
A date has now been fixed for the High Court hearing of the Judicial Review (JR) that challenges and seeks to put an end to the constant plundering of South Lantau’s unique wetlands and natural environment.
Please join us in the public gallery at the High Court to show your support:
Date: 27 September 2016
Place: High Court, Queensway, Admiralty. (Court Number issued on the day)
The JR will challenge the Government on four points of law.
The potential consequences of the applicant winning the Judicial Review would be that the Government would likely not allow landfilling in this area in future. The consequences of losing are that over 40 additional lots of land would be filled within the next 12 months and that the wetlands and all contained within them would likely disappear within 10 years.