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Old August 25th, 2009, 08:41 AM   #1
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Lamma Island Resort

Developer seeks new government office's backing for Lamma resort
24 August 2009
South China Morning Post

A small private developer has just submitted an application to the new Development Opportunities Office for a huge spa resort and marina club with residential flats on Lamma Island.

The proposed development on the southeastern part of the island is one of the first projects to seek approval from the office, set up under the Development Bureau to provide one-stop consultation and co-ordination services to help private development projects.

King Wong Development general manager Paul Lam has confirmed that the company has filed an application to develop the sites near Mo Tat Wan and Tung O Wan, the two bays in the southeast of Lamma.

"The project contains hotel facilities, a marina club and residential flats," Mr Lam said. "The area for the hotel and marina is quite large."

A person who has been in touch with the developer said the idea was to build a spa resort on the island.

Dubbed "the landlord of the Lamma Island", the company's chief executive and managing director, Bobby Li, reportedly said last year that the resort would include a six-star hotel next to a multi-purpose clubhouse for hotel guests and residents. Mr Li said all the residential flats would overlook Shek Pai Wan, a rocky bay that is part of Tung O Wan, where a yacht berth would be constructed. He hoped the area could host international windsurfing competitions or regattas.

The developer's website says it owns more than three million square feet (28 hectares) of land on the island. It has built some high-end residential properties on other parts of Lamma, such as at Nga Kau Wan.

A person familiar with the assessment procedures at the Development Opportunities Office said the project fulfilled basic criteria for seeking assistance from the office, including owning a site for development and serving a wider public interest by adding an attraction for tourists.

But the person said the project did not necessarily have the office's support. "Is it an attraction that will boost the city's tourism industry? Is the project dominated by residential development? Will it cause damage to the environment? These are some questions that the project proponent needs to justify."

The office will seek policy support from various government bureaus and consult the Land and Development Advisory Committee.

The office has received about 30 applications since its establishment last month.

The resort proposal is not completely new to residents living in four villages - Mo Tat Old Village, Mo Tat New Village, Yung Shue Ha Village and Tung O Village. The villages are more than 300 years old, with about 100 residents. Many of them are over 60 years old.

Raymond Chan Yuet-wai, Mo Tat New Village's head, whose family sold about 5,575 square metres of farmland to King Wong five years ago, said the developer briefed him about the project before buying the land.

"We've high expectations about the idea of building a resort hotel," said Mr Chan, who runs a restaurant on Mo Tat Wan, adding that about nine in 10 villagers had sold agricultural land to the developer.

"The boat service to and from this part of the island is not very frequent because there are not enough passengers," he said.

"We hope this, as well as other facilities such as public toilets and the walkways, will be improved when more people are expected to come."

Other villagers seem either supportive or not too concerned about the plan.

"I'm OK as long as I'm still allowed to live here," Tung O Village resident Chow Chiu-tai said.

Chow Kwun-tai, who has been living on the island since she was born, said: "He can build it if he wishes. I'm 70 already and I don't know if I'll still be around when it's built."

Islands District councillor Chan Lin-wai, also the chairman of the Lamma Island (North) Rural Committee, said he supported the project because it would bring more tourists, thus boosting business on the island. "The rural committee welcomes any developer to come and spur the development of Lamma," he said.

But Daniela Christen and Manuel Mahler, visitors from Switzerland hiking on the island, said they would prefer to "keep the area as it is".

"It's beautiful with the nature, and there are already enough hotels on Hong Kong Island," said Ms Christen, 20.

Nearby Sham Wan beach on the south of Lamma is a restricted area because it is a nesting site for green turtles. Public access is restricted during the breeding season, from June to October.
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Old April 29th, 2011, 03:29 PM   #2
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South China Morning Post | 2011-03-14
CITY1| CITY| By Joyce Ng
Bid for luxury project on Lamma revived

Residents, green groups fear ecological impact of amended housing and marina proposal

The controversial "Baroque on Lamma" development has been resurrected - to the anger of many island residents and green groups.

The luxury residential and marine project - situated near a conservation area - was rejected by development and planning officials last year.

But an amended plan is being finalised for submission to the Town Planning Board.

The project is a joint venture between Agile Property Holdings, a Hong Kong-listed company focusing on mainland real estate, and local company King Wong Development.

"Our new proposal is a big improvement," said August Tiu Chin-wai, who is in charge of Baroque on Lamma. King Wong's chief Bobby Li is dubbed "the landlord of Lamma" - his firm owns more than three million square feet of land on the island.

Last year, the developer's plan was rejected by the Development Opportunities Office, which facilitates private proposals deemed worthwhile. The office said the residential density was too high and expressed concern about the ecological impact on the island's south, where endangered turtle and frog species are found.

Tiu said the height of residential buildings in the new proposal was reduced to no more than four storeys, instead of six or seven. The project would yield 700 to 900 flats.

If approved, the houses will be built on the hills surrounding Tung O Wan, where most land is currently zoned as conservation areas to protect the habitat of Romer's tree frog, an endangered species of global conservation importance.

The development site boundary would be 200 to 300 metres away from Sham Wan, a nesting ground for the endangered green turtle in the south of Lamma which is listed by the government as a "site of special scientific interest" with restricted entry. Alan Leung Sze-lun, senior conservation officer for WWF Hong Kong, said his group was very worried about the project's impact on the endangered species.

"The green turtle is a creature that is very sensitive to light. Also, I doubt whether it is wise to rezone a conservation area for development because the zoning is supposed to protect natural landscape," Leung said.

Peter Lee Siu-man, campaign manager of the Conservancy Association, said it was impossible for his group to support the project. "Southern Lamma is too sensitive a site for any sort of development. The government once suggested the area be a country park but officials don't tell us what has been going on," he said.

Asked why he thought housing would be suitable for the conservation zone, Tiu said the developer was thinking of rezoning the hilly land into a development zone and exchanging land with the government.

"We will surrender land of high ecological value in exchange for the less sensitive parts. Not all the land on the hills is vulnerable; some sites are just overgrown with weeds," Tiu said, adding that a consultant was conducting an environmental impact assessment for the project.

The proposed marina, spanning across Tung O Wan in southeast Lamma in the original proposal, is now confined to the northern part of the bay, with 500 berths for yachts. The nearby waters would become a venue for international sailing races.

A six-star spa hotel at Shek Pai Wan remains in the blueprint and new roads are proposed to provide access. The developer will also suggest preserving abandoned houses in the 300-year-old Mo Tat Old Village as a cultural heritage spot, and setting up organic farms in the area.

Damon Wong Chun-pong, a resident of Mo Tat New Village who received a briefing from the developer recently, said he was worried that the project would ruin the natural scenic character of southern Lamma.

"Although the developer talked of conservation measures, the houses, the yacht club, the hotel will bring in lots of people. The whole environment will be completely changed," Wong, an editor of Hong Kong In-media, a website run by independent reporters, said. Wong said most of the 30 indigenous villagers in southern Lamma had sold land to the developer.

A spokeswoman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said a study completed in 2001 indicated that coastal waters off southern Lamma had the potential to be designated as a marine park to conserve some ecologically sensitive marine fauna, such as the green turtle and finless porpoise.

But the site was "given a lower priority" in the designation timetable because Sham Wan is already protected by law as a restricted area, and the department's monitoring data showed finless porpoises made less use of the waters off the island's southern coast, the spokeswoman said.
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Old April 29th, 2011, 03:31 PM   #3
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Actually I love the idea of building 5/6 stars coast resorts in Hong Kong. There are tons of nice beaches without people all over hong kong. But please do not add any residential buildings.
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Old May 8th, 2011, 11:27 AM   #4
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this is good forum

pretty good
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Old May 8th, 2011, 06:19 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mylifesucks View Post
But please do not add any residential buildings.

Govt. should open up "some" coastal land for these, but the market won't be big. HK isn't exactly a resort city.
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Old July 7th, 2011, 03:42 PM   #6
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The resort could be just what tourists are seeking for. The area is great for windsurfign and water sports. It could turn into a major travel destination. If you like water sports here are soem other windsurfing destinations to visit...
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Old July 7th, 2011, 11:47 PM   #7
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I support this as well. Although I highly doubt this will come to fruition.
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Old January 6th, 2012, 05:37 PM   #8
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A similar case would be Tuen Mun Gold Coast Resort? I heard Korean tourists would come and only stay on the resorts for a few days getaway.

As an ex-lamma resident who used to paddle on the lamma beach, I quiet like the idea of a high end resort in HK. On one condition, it should be environmental sensitive.
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Old December 9th, 2012, 05:51 PM   #9
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