Andy Cornish's Blog

Dr Andy Cornish was raised in Hong Kong, and gained a strong interest in wildlife through spending time in Pokfulam Country Park. He studied Zoology at Nottingham University in England, travelled extensively through Central America where he learnt to scuba dive, and later did his PhD on reef fishes at the University of Hong Kong. Since then, he worked for a year doing coral reef management for the government of American Samoa, and taught in the Dept. of Ecology and Biodiversity at the University of Hong Kong. He worked at WWF from 2005 to late 2012 as Conservation Director, and was responsible for four programmes: Climate, Footprint, Local Biodiversity and Regional Wetlands (including management of the Mai Po Nature Reserve). He remains involved in environmental issues on an independent basis.

A sustainable living park for the Lamma Quarry

Public consultation kicks off
December 8, 2012

Last year my parents treated me to a day at the Eden Project in southern England, a kind of social and environmental theme park. Set in an old quarry, it offers a brilliant day out and certainly manages to educate, without ever being boring or preachy. The anarchic sense of humour was a such a wonderful contrast to the plodding style used to promote environmental issues in Hong Kong. As someone who had lived on Lamma for more than a decade, I was immediately struck by the immense possibilities for a such a venture in the ex-quarry at Sok Kwu Wan on Lamma.
 
The Lamma quarry was rehabilitaed in 2002 and is a decent sized site, at 20 hectares with a made-made lake inhabited by egrets, and alongside Sok Kwu Wan bay. Over the years the perimeter fence surrounding it disintegrated, and it became one of my favourite running destinations.  
 
Now Government plans to develop the site and launched a public consultation yesterday. While a large part of me would love to see the site retained intact, that simply isn't realistic when it is enjoyed by a minisule number of people, and when Hong Kong is so short of land it wants to start reclaiming the sea again. The site already survived a previous proposal to place a sewage pumping station there.
 
In true government style, the public consultation is an exercise to rubber-stamp one of two proposals acceptable to government. Both of which include retaining aspects of the quarry and blending into the atmosphere - to their credit - but less impressively include residential flats. For 5,000 - 7,000 people. No doubt very nice for those privildeged few who might live there - but hardly solving our chronic housing problems, nor worth trashing the quarry for.
 
No, a much better solution would be to ditch the housing, and create a truly unique facility dedicated to sustainable living that would be a snug fit with the existing culture of Lamma, of real value in preparing Hong Kongers for the challenges of a new way of life more in tune with the natural resource constraints of our planet, and providing a major new tourist attraction for Hong Kong. Using the Eden Project as its inspirational start point, but designed to enhance the natural features of the quarry, and taking full advantage of its coastal location to add a healthy dose of oceans. Adding major value to the brand that is Hong Kong ... and giving Singapore a run for its money as the greenest city in Asia.
 
The public consultation is open until the 6th Feb so don't be shy and let your views be known (details at the bottom of this press release). Vote for a Lamma Eden!
 
Andy

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