Concern groups said a proposal to build a hotel in a green belt on southwestern Lantau island may damage the fragile ecology of the area, Apple Daily reported on Tuesday.
The Lantau Development Advisory Committee has proposed the construction of facilities in Yi O that will allow tourists to experience living in farms.
A public consultation on its draft zoning plan for the area is set to end on Friday.
The proposal appears to align with the farming activities of Andrew Lam Siu-lo, who happens to be vice-chairman of the Lantau development committee and a member of the Executive Committee.
Concern groups have criticized Lam’s farming activities in Yi O (二澳), which started in 2012, citing their harmful impact on the mangrove forest and swamps in the area.
Meanwhile, property developer Greencourt Ltd. has filed an application to build an ecological hotel that offers spa service, with no more than 70 rooms and a nature education center in the green belt.
Parts of the area are owned by some influential people, including lawmaker Lau Wong-fat. Singer and actor Nicholas Tse is one of the shareholders of Greencourt.
According to Greencourt’s application, it is willing to trade private land with that owned by the government as long as the government approves its proposal.
A director of concern group Designing Hong Kong said construction of the hotel is likely to put Yi O’s ecology at risk. The area is a known habitat of several endangered species, such as Romer’s tree frogs and horseshoe crabs.
Tse Sai-kit, convenor of the Save Lantau Alliance, said approval of the hotel is likely to lead to the construction of roads and piers in Yi O.
While there are only 80 villagers living in Yi O at the moment, their representatives have expressed support for the development of the area, saying it would help increase the population to 1,560.
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