View Full Version : Tai Po Beach Plan
December 2nd, 2005, 12:49 AM
Man-made beach plan for Tai Po green site
2 December 2005
South China Morning Post
The government proposes creating a beach in an ecologically sensitive area near Tai Mei Tuk to satisfy sunbathing-hungry Tai Po district councillors, who say Sai Kung's natural beaches are too far away.
Under a technical proposal submitted by the Civil Engineering and Development Department, a 200-metre-long beach and parking space for 100 cars and 10 coaches will be built on a piece of intertidal soft shore in Lung Mei.
The site is close to an area of special scientific interest in Ting Kok - the fourth largest mangrove stand in Hong Kong - a conservation area in Tai Mei Tuk and nearby fung shui woods.
In the project profile submitted to the Environmental Protection Department yesterday, the department says the proposal was initiated by the then provisional regional council and supported by the existing Tai Po District Council.
It says the council considers there are insufficient public swimming facilities in Tai Po and it is too far for residents to travel to Sai Kung's beaches. It is calling for early implementation of the project.
Work, which will cost about $72 million, is expected to start in late 2008 and be completed by 2010, if it gets environmental approval.
The projected water quality would be "fair", despite the risk that heavy rain might wash contaminants onto the beach from the river and the shore.
Cheng Luk-ki, head of conservation at Green Power, criticised the project as unnecessary, saying many recreational facilities existed in Tai Po.
"It is difficult to understand why being far away from public beaches could become an excuse to build an artificial beach," Dr Cheng said. "The Tai Po district has already got cycling tracks and water sports centres and now they might need an expensive man-made beach."
October 20th, 2008, 11:50 AM
Bid launched to save Tai Po's eco-beach
Hong Kong Standard
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The discovery that a proposed public beach holds more biodiversity than the city's marine parks may not be enough to stop it being turned into a swimming attraction.
Hong Kong Entomological Society chairman Yiu Vor has pledged to launch a judicial review to halt the construction of a HK$130 million artificial beach at Lung Mei, on a sleepy stretch of rocky coastline in Tai Po.
A recent study found the site boasted more than 200 species, 8.5 times the bio- diversity compared to other sites at Lai Chi Wo in Sha Tau Kok and Sai Kung's Hoi Ha Wan.
The government's initial assessment recorded only 30 different species.
With the proposed beach waiting for Environmental Protection Department approval, the plan's survival hinges on an additional study by the Civil Engineering and Development Department, whose February to July study report is expected in December.
Yiu is planning to submit an application to the Town Planning Board to have the beach rezoned as a site of special scientific interest if the plan receives the environmental watchdog's approval.
He said the judicial review would be launched if efforts at the planning board failed.
According to the development department, there were 21 objections against reclamation to create a single hectare for a 100-car parking lot and beach facilities.
13 were withdrawn, leaving eight submitted by fishermen, green groups and individuals.
There were also 22 objections sent to the Town Planning Board. But local residents, the Tai Po Rural Committee and Tai Po District Council sent 4,000 letters of support. A source within the department would not elaborate on why there was such a large discrepancy between the government's initial findings and Yiu's, but mentioned different methodologies may have been a factor.
Tiger beetles that had previously been alien to the territory were also found during Hkwildlife.com's study, along with pink- speckled shrimpgoby and the Japanese mud shrimp, which is listed as an endangered species in the mainland.
Yiu said the creation of an artificial beach and its sand particles would render the creatures' optimum environment of rocks and mud inhabitable.
The proposed 200-meter beach would affect 56,360 square meters of coastal land and seabed, and the plan follows a request for swimming facilities by the district council.
November 11th, 2008, 09:26 AM
Beach site 'of low ecological value'
5 November 2008
South China Morning Post
The site for a proposed artificial beach on the shore of Tolo Harbour has low ecological value, with none of the species found there being unique to the area, according to a new study commissioned by the environment watchdog.
But the report on the site at Lung Mei, near the Plover Cove Reservoir, has left critics of the project unconvinced, saying the survey was "unscientific" and calling for the government to scrap the project immediately.
They said they suspected the true worth of the site was being concealed to give impetus to the project.
The survey was conducted to counter challenges from opponents who said earlier they had found up to 200 animal and plant species at the site, nearly seven times the 30 species disclosed in a disputed environmental impact assessment report.
The Advisory Council on the Environment conditionally endorsed the report in January and demanded the consultant carry out more studies to confirm the ecological status of Lung Mei.
The artificial beach, costing HK$130 million and to be reclaimed on rocky and sandy shore, will be 200 metres long and 30 metres wide and have up to 100 parking places.
The supplementary report submitted by the consultant said the overall ecological value was low, while species diversity was "not regarded as high". It said the species found by the opponents were typical and their presence did not indicate Lung Mei was a habitat for them.
Three fish species of conservation importance were identified in the extra survey, but the consultant believed the project would have minimal impact on them. "When disturbed, these three mobile fish species are able to respond quickly by fleeing," the report said.
The survey also said Lung Mei had the lowest number of marine fauna species compared to neighbouring sites in Yung Shue O and Lai Chi Chong. "It causes suspicions as to whether the proponent is trying to conceal information and mislead the advisory committee," said a spokesman for the Hong Kong Wildlife Forum, which has been opposing the beach project with other groups.
November 29th, 2008, 03:40 AM
December 4th, 2008, 04:14 PM
Planners reject appeal against artificial beach Board refuses to reverse vote
4 December 2008
South China Morning Post
The Town Planning Board yesterday upheld its decision to allow the government to create a sand beach at Lung Mei in Tolo Harbour, rejecting conservationists' views that the project could create an ecological disaster.
Disappointed by the board's decision, green groups said they would petition lawmakers who control the project's funding.
The board met yesterday to consider views raised by green groups, which objected to the board's decision in January to zone the Lung Mei site as a bathing beach. A spokeswoman said the board decided to uphold its original decision, although some board members still had concerns about the ecological effects of creating an artificial beach.
"The board has no grounds to change the zoning as environmental experts have already endorsed the environmental impact assessment conducted by the government's consultant," the spokeswoman said.
Last month, a meeting of the government's Advisory Council on the Environment endorsed the report on the tie-breaking vote of its chairman, although half of the members at the meeting said they had doubts about the report's findings.
Green groups said they had found about 200 animal, bird and marine species during two visits to the Lung Mei site. They challenged the government consultant's ecological assessment as flawed because it only identified about 30 species in the area during a three-month research period.
HK Wildlife Forum spokesman Dickson Wong Chi-chun said he was disappointed with the board's decision and would try to persuade lawmakers to veto the project's funding.
"The board is just a rubber stamp," he said, adding that his group would unite with other green groups to campaign against the project and an ecological report would be sent to the chief executive and the Legislative Council.
Friends of the Earth director Edwin Lau Che-feng, who is a member of the Advisory Council on the Environment, said it was dangerous for the board to base its decision on the council's controversial decision. He said water quality at Lung Mei would be unsuitable for swimming for 38 per cent of the year, even if sewage facilities were installed at the proposed beach.
If it goes ahead, the HK$130 million project will see about a hectare of land reclaimed at Lung Mei near the Plover Cove Reservoir to provide space for 100 car-parking spaces and a building that could cater to the demands of about 4,000 visitors a day during the peak summer period.
The project was mooted by local politicians in 1998. They said people living in Tai Po did not have sufficient swimming facilities. But conservationists fear the construction work required - dredging of 10,500 square metres of seabed to form a 200-by-30-metre bathing beach - will damage the environment.
A Civil Engineering and Development Department spokesman said it would carry out mitigation measures, adding that the construction would start in the middle of next year and finish in mid-2011.