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.

Lamma Eden Park Gains Momentum

Ex-Quarry Consultation Finishes Tomorrow (6th Feb)
February 5, 2013

In my 8th December blog I shared an idea about creating a sustainable living park in the old quarry on Lamma Island, based loosely on the famous Project Eden in Cornwall. Lots of you seemed to like the idea … thanks, and here’s an update.
 
Blogs alone won’t change anything though, so I, and many others including Living Lamma attended a public consultation meeting on the 19th January in Central . The consultation process is very old-school and out-dated, in that government has come up with three designs, all of which they are happy with, and simply want input on which is the most popular. Anyone could air their views and I used my time to point out that all three designs were versions of the same design featuring a mix of housing, restaurants, waterfront promenade, watersports facility etc. And that options should be provided that did not include housing as providing homes for a few thousand people will not significantly reduce our housing problem, and genuinely different options should be presented if an optimal solution is to be found.
 
The designs reminded many people of a mini-Discovery Bay, trying as they do to cater to all, but hardly creating a tourist attraction as government seems to think they will. Am I missing something?
 
It was also refreshing to see that that there is not a massive gulf between those who want development in the quarry, and those concerned about conserving nature – raised voices aside. Villagers at Sok Kwu Wan want a better ferry service, medical service and economic opportunities, which they believe will occur if there is a higher population density on Southern Lamma. All perfectly reasonable, but hardly guaranteed by the creation of a brand new self-contained community across the bay.
 
Conversely, few of the environmentalists were totally against development in the quarry, but many had serious concerns about the concrete pouring options, the impact on the rest of the island, and the quarry wildlife, not to mention CEDD’s ability to execute a project with sensitivity and quality design in tune with Lamma.     
 
Overall it seems that there is the potential for a win-win situation for the quarry, but not with the current design options. A Lamma Eden park, if done well would enhance the “back-garden” appeal of Lamma in a holistic fashion, and encourage visitors to explore beyond its limits, benefiting the wider island economy and adding value to Hong Kong.
 
The Legco Panel on Development discussed the ex-quarry on the 26 January and I also made a submission to share the Lamma Eden idea with legislators.
 
A Lamma Eden would be more in line with the Wetland Park in Tin Shui Wai, than Disneyland or Ocean Park. The government run facility is fairly remote, and attracted over 440,000 visitors, in 2012 including 37,000 from overseas. It was one of the first of its kind in China, and has inspired many others: as of now there are an incredible 298 National Wetland Parks in China, and at least 100 more at provincial level.
 
Just imagine the beneficial ripple-effect a Lamma Eden project could generate, as the first of its kind in Asia!

 
Last, but not least, it is clear that a Lamma Eden with a focus on enhancing society’s understanding of what sustainable development really means for Hong Kong, and how we need to change our behavior, fits squarely into the desires of government.
 
The recent policy address states “With the wisdom and the will to make the right choices and decisions, and comprehensive and long-term planning for land use, we can provide a better living and working environment for the people of Hong Kong. If we are all willing to go the extra mile, we can make Hong Kong a more liveable city with lush countryside, fresh air and a clean environment.”
 

Furthermore, CY Leung’s Election Manifesto mentions sustainable development eight times and states “Going forward, policies should be formulated from a sustainable development perspective. …. We need to reinforce public education, raise the entire community's awareness of environmental protection and make concerted efforts to discharge our duty as global citizens.“ A Lamma Eden would do just that!
 

The public consultation closes tomorrow 6th Feb. Please support the Lamma Eden proposal by letting government know your views before it’s too late at spdp@pland.gov.hk

Contact

Comments

Be the first to comment on this Blog

Featured Partner

Popular content