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Infrastructure & Town Planning

Lantau folk hit out in development protest

A group of angry Lantau residents confronted Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po yesterday as he led a media tour of the proposed sites for the island’s development.

The protesters condemned the government for proposed plans that would destroy the island’s natural environment.

“I love Tai O, protect Lantau!” chanted members from the Save Lantau Alliance as they held a rally next to the parking area in Tai O, accusing Chan of not consulting the public before coming up with the development plans.

“The government spent two years on a closed-door survey, which doesn’t involve any opinions from the public,” said Eddie Tse Sai-kit, convener of the protesting group.

Tse expressed concerns about plans to extend the Ngong Ping 360 cable car service from Tung Chung to Tai O and establish an entrance plaza in Tai O.

He believes construction and the expected influx of tourists will kill Tai O’s beautiful scenery.

Tse criticized the government for planning to turn Lantau into commercial areas, in the name of developing green tourism, which will not only destroy the natural environment but also result in “white elephant projects” ending up wasting a huge amount of public funds.

During the protest Tse invited Chan to attend a meeting held by residents. Chan said he would consider it.

Wong Wai-king, founder of Tai O Cultural Workshop, also condemned the government for disregarding voices of residents. Wong said the workshop has been in operation for more than 10 years, but no government officials have visited.

Tai O Community Group chairwoman Kathleen Daxon said her biggest concern about the development project is the safety on the roads of South Lantau. An increasing number of cars are permitted to drive on the roads, posing a danger to cows.

Mui Wo resident Thomas Yam stopped Chan at the Mui Wo pier, protesting against the “fake consultation.”

Yam said: “The government behaves like they are making consultations, but the truth is that the plan hasn’t changed at all during the two years of the consultation period.”

Chan responded that all consultation documents are available to the public.

Yam said Chan secretly visited Mui Wo two weeks ago to kick off a consultation meeting but only those who were invited were allowed to meet him.

On concerns of protesters, Chan said at the end of the tour there were some misunderstandings.

He promised to communicate with the public, and will be engaging residents to have a constructive dialogue.

Congestion charging ‘no instant cure’ for traffic gridlock

Paul Cowperthwaite, the general manager for congestion charging at Transport for London.

As Hong Kong decides on how to deal with traffic gridlock, the boss of London’s congestion charging scheme said any similar system in Hong Kong should not be expected to bring benefits overnight.

Officials are more than halfway through a three-month public consultation on the impact of a pricing scheme to ease Central’s notorious traffic jams.

The government has said it was no longer a matter of whether, but how, to start charging road users.

Paul Cowperthwaite, the general manager for congestion charging at Transport for London (TfL), told the Sunday Morning Post Hong Kong could succeed in changing habits and overcoming road blocks to any such scheme, but should not expect miracles.

“One of the key things for any city: Don’t assume you’ve solved the problem on day one,” he said, adding “what we’ve always done is keep the scheme under review so it’s having an impact.”

He added that congestion charging had “become a part of everyday life in London” that worked.

Opponents of the Hong Kong plans believe an increase in fines for illegal parking would be adequate to ease traffic jams, rather than the government’s two-pronged approach of raising the parking fines and charging for driving in Central.

The latest statistics by TfL showed 18 per cent fewer vehicles entering the congestion charge zone and traffic within the paid area down 15 per cent, leading to 70,000 fewer daily car trips during charging hours, 30 per cent less congestion and 40 per cent fewer traffic accidents since 2003.

The British capital will celebrate the scheme’s 13th birthday next Wednesday, having raised £1.4 billion to reinvest in roads and public transport schemes.

Cowperthwaite said it was important to have full political backing to any congestion charge.

“There are a number of key steps we can share from London. Having strong political support. London was lucky that we both mayors who strongly supported the scheme,” he said.

More than three decades have passed since a road charging scheme was first floated in Hong Kong.

Similarly, London spent almost four decades talking before implementing a congestion charge in full.

Island’s unique character is under threat – Letters to the Editor

I refer to Tammy Tam’s column (“Lantau: The next big chance to build new HK town”, January 18).

It has been argued that developing Lantau Island could be a way of dealing with Hong Kong’s inadequate housing infrastructure and strengthening the economy.

However, I do not think it would be a good idea to build a new “new town” on Lantau. First of all, such a project would damage the island’s natural environment. Hong Kong’s largest island has unique biodiversity which attracts thousands of locals and tourists. That unique character could be lost if Lantau becomes commercialised.

Building thousands of new housing units would not be compatible with existing infrastructure. Also, residents could find their lives disrupted by noise from aircraft if apartment blocks were built near the airport.

This would be similar to the problems Kowloon City residents experienced because of their proximity to the old Kai Tak airport. And if a lot of blocks were built near Disneyland this might make the theme park less attractive to visitors.

I have no doubt the development of Lantau could bring new opportunities and make a lot of money for some Hong Kong citizens. However, as I said, it is a flawed proposal. The government must take serious note of the views expressed by people during the public consultation, especially if it emerges that most citizens are opposed to it.

Any projects must be based on the principle of sustainable development and any white elephant plans which waste taxpayers’ money should be rejected.

Anson Sin, Tseung Kwan O
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Conservation a vital part of plan for Lantau – Letters to the Editor

I refer to the letter by Tom Yam (“Lantau committee sees island only as real estate”, January 27) and wish to provide relevant information for your readers.

The Lantau Development Advisory Committee published its work report “Space for All” on January 10 which is available on the website ( [1]).

The report details the proposed vision, planning principles and major proposals for the development of Lantau. Much emphasis is placed on balancing and enhancing development and conservation. For example, the projected future population and -economic developments are along the North Lantau Corridor of Tung Chung new town and its expansion, the airport and its surroundings, Siu Ho Wan and Sunny Bay.

As a long-term vision, the strategic East Lantau metropolis, if taken forward, may provide additional capacity to cover for Hong Kong’s economic and population growth.

Elsewhere, including Mui Wo and Tai O, the committee sees opportunities for conservation and leisure and recreation facilities for the people of Hong Kong.

There are also short-term measures such as improving existing sharp road bends, building mountain bike trails, and adding car parking spaces to ease the parking problem.

It is thus grossly inaccurate to describe the plan as “a swathe of real estate”. The committee’s discussion papers and notes of meetings are all uploaded to the website of the Development Bureau and members must comply with the house rules and requirements of registration and declaration of their personal interests.

With the “Space for All” report released, we are undertaking a public engagement exercise.

We welcome the public to read the materials on the above website and provide us with their views.

Lai Cheuk-ho, secretary, Lantau Development Advisory Committee

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A Biodiversity Study of Lantau

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Reclaimed seabed, man-made islands and miles of road and railways for Lantau in development plans released quietly online

Report released with minimum fanfare draws ire of environmentalist who said island should be kept largely intact to protect ecology

Dozens of hectares of reclaimed seabed, man-made islands and more highways and railroads to link with the urban areas are all part of a package of ambitious proposals seeking to turn the tranquil island of Lantau into Hong Kong’s new commercial hub, as well as a tourist haven.

The ideas were contained in the first-term report of the government-appointed Lantau Development Advisory Committee, which was discreetly released online yesterday, following about two years of study.

The 33-page report, entitled “Space for All”, was available in Chinese, with only an English summary for now and a full version “to be provided” later.

The plans split the island into four major development areas: a northern Lantau corridor, near Tung Chung and the airport for economic and housing developments; an area for leisure and tourism on between 60 and 100 hectares of reclaimed seabed off Sunny Bay and an expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland; a new core business district in the east, to be created by the reclamation of one or more artificial islands; and the development of 14 recreation and tourism areas, mostly to the south, including Sunny Bay, Mui Wo, Tai O and various Buddhist monasteries, and the Tung Chung valley.

An adventure park was to be built in Sunny Bay, with facilities such as indoor surfing and indoor skydiving. Campsites and observation decks will be provided at Sunset Peak for stargazing.

The waters off eastern Lantau will see massive reclamation to develop Hong Kong’s newest core business district and a new town housing up to 700,000 people. It will also become a major source of land supply for Hong Kong’s development beyond 2030.

Environmentalist and Green Sense chief executive Roy Tam Hoi-pong criticised the idea of developing Lantau and said the island should be kept largely intact to protect the ecology there.

“Like Sai Kung, Lantau is a garden in Hong Kong’s backyard. The last thing you want is to bulldoze it down to build high-rises,” said Tam.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying yesterday said he had received the report and hailed the committee’s proposals as having “fully considered the current situations of various districts in Lantau, including the conservation needs and the development potential.”

He added: “Large-scale infrastructure, including a Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok link, Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge and the third runway of the airport will turn the geographical condition of Lantau from an outlying island to a significant region of Hong Kong.”

There was no official announcement of the release of the report. Its publication was mentioned in an article posted to the official blog of Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po.

In his article, Chan said the committee appreciated that Lantau is rich in ecological habitats and these should be preserved.

“The committee is of the view that conservation and development should not be considered mutually exclusive. Simply leaving things intact does not necessarily mean effective conservation… we should improve and make better use of the natural environment in a responsible manner, so as to allow the public to appreciate, understand and enjoy the environment.”

In his 2014 policy address, Leung raised the idea of making Lantau a converging point of traffic from Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau. He announced the setting up of the advisory committee to explore strategies for the economic and social development for Lantau.

Proposals for development under various themes


Sunny Bay:
Indoor adventure park, indoor surfing, indoor skydiving

Mui Wo:
Outdoor adventure park, hillside slides, war game, aqua park, mountain bike
Lantau history museum

Splurge and indulge

Shopping, MICE tourism, international ice rink


Siu Ho Wan:

Sunset Peak:
Stargazing facilities, campsite

Yi O:
Revitalisation of abandoned land, farm stay

Culture and heritage

Tai O:
Wushu retreat, Tai Chi centre, culinary heritage centre

Relaxation and wellness

Cheung Sha:
Development of spa and resorts, water sports centre, wedding centre, cycle track

Soko Islands:
Facilities for extreme sports, rock climbing.

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Developing Lantau For New Opportunities

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CE receives Lantau report

Chief Executive CY Leung today received the first-term work report submitted by the Lantau Development Advisory Committee.

Mr Leung said the committee has fully considered the current situations of various districts on Lantau Island, including conservation needs and development potential, and put forward its vision and its recommendation on short-term work.

Large-scale infrastructure including the Tuen Mun-Chep Lap Kok Link, Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and the third airport runway will turn Lantau from an outlying island to a significant region of Hong Kong, he said.

Noting the report has been uploaded to the Government website, he called on people to continue to provide comments to develop Lantau.

Mr Leung thanked the committee and the Development Bureau for their efforts.


BEAM Society (BSL), which runs the BEAM Plus assessment scheme

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Pollution, food waste and heavy traffic: what Hong Kong’s chief executive should focus on in 2016

Edwin Lau says Hongkongers shouldn’t hesitate to let Leung Chun-ying know what he can do to make Hong Kong a more liveable place

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s invitation to the public to contribute their views to his preparation for the upcoming policy address is a wonderful opportunity to suggest ways to make Hong Kong more liveable.

Climate change is a pressing global challenge. At the UN climate summit in Paris [2], 20 countries including China and the US launched the Mission Innovation [3] initiative with a collective commitment of US$20 billion to accelerate global clean energy innovation. So how much will the Leung administration commit to the climate challenge?

Here are some suggestions of what we can do:

  • Vegetation targets. Hong Kong is fortunate to have a natural carbon sink in our country parks, as long as we don’t allow housing development to encroach on them. We should set targets for vegetation coverage in the country parks and throughout the city.
  • Des Voeux Road Central. To improve air quality, congested Des Voeux Road Central should be turned into a vehicle-free zone [4], with water features to mitigate the concrete-jungle feel. This would persuade people to walk or take public transport, which is good for public health. Leung should learn from the South Korean government, which removed an elevated highway in Seoul’s city centre to revitalise the Cheonggyecheon stream, now an urban park.
  • Food waste. More than 3,600 tonnes of food waste is created daily in Hong Kong. Although our government plans to build three organic waste treatment facilities between 2016 and 2021, the total daily capacity they can handle is only 800 tonnes, or 22 per cent of our food waste.
  • Hong Kong still does not have a waste charging law. If food waste recycling was made mandatory, all private food waste recyclers would operate round the clock to help achieve the government target of reducing food waste disposal at landfills by 40 per cent by 2022.
  • Energy efficiency. Publicising the energy utilisation index of all buildings would be a cost-effective way to encourage these buildings, through peer pressure, to improve their energy efficiency. Currently, the law requires only commercial buildings to declare their index, whereas government buildings are exempted.
  • Energy savings. There should be a government-led programme for generating “negawatts” – energy saved instead of consumed, which is the cleanest energy of all. If Hong Kong’s 7 million residents each generate just one “negawatt” a day, Hong Kong would save 1.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

The question is, will Leung take the lead and implement these suggestions?

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