Grannie Green Revivial

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Chp 62, Fung Lok Wai – Forty years champion for the environment

Fung Lok Wai

Fung Lok Wai is a wetland made up of about 80 hectares of fishponds, to the South West of the Mai Po Nature Reserve. As the majority of the area falls within the Deep Bay Buffer Zone, it is not suitable for development. However, developer Cheung Kong came up with an innovative way of developing the area by conserving 95% of the site for wetland conservation and concentrating development in high-rise buildings in 5% of the area. The conservation area would then be handed over to the government and managed by an independent Trust. Described as a public-private partnership, this concept was accepted by the Town Planning Board in 1999.

Despite the large area for conservation, the residential portion was still a sizeable development with some 1,500 flats for a population of more than 4,000. In response to the Town Planning Board decision, CA issued a statement in 1999 stating that “the proposed residential development on part of the site will no doubt diminish the integrity of the wetland and destroy the rural character of the area.” Although welcoming the independent Wetland Trust and the transfer to public ownership of the majority of the wetland, CA emphasized that the development rights must not be taken for granted, and should only be accepted subject to a few conditions, including”

  • the conservation of wetland in accordance with the principle of no net loss of wetland;
  • the enhancement of the integrity of the wetland with the rest of the Ramsar site;
  • sufficient contribution arising from the development towards long term management and enhancement of the wetland system;
  • full assessment of the impact of possible cumulative effects on the wetland.

CA further added that even if development rights were established, the best outcome would be for the development to take place in another site, i.e. through off-site compensation, so that no development would eventually take place in Fung Lok Wai.

Nevertheless, with Town Planning Board approval, the zoning of the site was changed to enable the developer to proceed to detailed planning for the development. The Environmental Impact Assessment of the proposed development was approved by the Advisory Council on the Environment in September 2008.

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June 8, 2015 - Posted by | Dr WK Chan book

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