The Hong Kong Global Geopark of China (HKGGC) will find out this Saturday if it will retain its membership in the Global Geoparks Network (GGN).
The geopark, which became a GGN member in 2011, has just finished undergoing the first of GGN’s assessments, which are carried out once every four years, Ming Pao Daily reported on Monday.
Unnamed sources told the newspaper that HKGGC did not fare well in some of the eight assessment points during its first four years of operation, scoring especially low in the aspect of community participation.
HKGGC could be given a “yellow card” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and could face becoming delisted from the GGN should it receive another warning.
In order to avoid another warning, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) is making several plans to enhance its standing with the GGC. These plans include building an education center on Tung Ping Chau, improving traffic around the East Dam of the High Island Reservoir in Sai Kung, and enhancing facilities at the Sharp Island Pier.
Hong Kong’s geopark covers an area of 50 square kilometers, consisting of eight geo-areas under the protection of the Country Parks Ordinance and Marine Parks Ordinance.
When reporters arrived at the High Island Reservoir, passengers complained about the lack of public transport facilities to leave the park.
People were seen scrambling for the infrequent taxi that would swing by the remote location. Taxi drivers would solicit an extra HK$50 as fee for a service by appointment. There have been tourists complaining about the lack of ancillary facilities to attract more visitors.
Yeung Ka Ming, senior geopark officer of the AFCD, said each Geopark under the GGN must be assessed regularly in eight aspects covering education, management, tourism and sustainable development.
There were reports that Tung Ping Chau villagers have protested against the renewal of GGN membership.
Yeung said authorities are considering setting up a tourist service centre, and would provide training to local villagers, so they could become geo tour guides, which could invigorate the local economy.
The AFCD is also said to be considering deploying electric buses to improve traffic arrangements nearby the East Dam of the High Island Reservoir, as well as spending up to HK$100 million on improving the facilities at the Sharp Island Bridge.
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