Lantau panel suggestions spark worries about ecological impact

January 11, 2016 10:31
There are worries that Lantau's natural beauty and ecology will be affected by proposed new development plans for the island. Photo: Will Cho via

After nearly two years of deliberations, the Lantau Development Advisory Committee (LanDAC) has submitted a report on issues related to potential new development initiatives for Lantau Island.

The report has sparked worries that Lantau could be developed into a playground for mainland visitors, given its suggestion of turning the "geographical condition of Lantau from an outlying island to a significant region of Hong Kong".

In a 33-page report submitted Sunday to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, LanDAC, which was established after Leung's 2014 policy address, recommended that the government set up 14 recreational and tourist sites on Hong Kong's biggest island, Apple Daily reported.

The committee said in a press release that it has fully considered the current situation of various districts in Lantau, including the conservation needs and the development potential, and put forward its vision and its recommendation on short-term work.

Facilities for sky observation and camping sites can be set up at Sunset Peak, which is famous for Chinese silver grass and enchanting scenes of sunrise, while piers and recreational activities, such as paragliding, can be added in Shui Hau, a place at the southern part of Lantau where horseshoe crabs reproduce, LanDAC suggested.

It also recommended that retreat facilities can be built in Ngong Ping, Luk Wu, Keung Shan, Tei Tong Tsai and Ling Wui Shan that are popular with people who seek peaceful environs.

It is worth looking at the possibility of extending the Ngong Ping Cable Car to Tai O, the panel said.

With land reclamation of 60-80 hectares close to northern Lantau’s MTR Siu Ho Wan Depot, on top of which residential flats can also be built, a northern Lantau corridor linked to Tung Chung and the airport can be formed, LanDAC said, estimating that there will be about one million people living in Lantau.

As for eastern Lantau, development of it into the third new core commercial region of Hong Kong with a population of 400,000-700,000 was recommended by LanDAC.

Calling such development plans "disastrous" to Lantau, Tse Sai-kit, convenor of Save Lantau Alliance, said the government, in the name of development, is destroying the precious ecological environment enjoyed by Hong Kong people.

Ecology in Lantau will suffer serious damage as the planned reclamation totals about 2,200 hectares, which is as wide as one-third of Hong Kong Island, he said.

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Credit: Will Cho

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