Treasure our Public Assets, Protect Lantau Island

*This letter will be sent to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying , Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and Secretary for Development Paul CHAN Mo-po on 31 January 2016 by Save Lantayu Alliance.

Lantau Development Advisory Committee (LanDAC) has published their working report with the theme “Space for All” on 10 January 2016. All the members in LanDAC are nominated by CY Leung, without any public recognition. The LanDAC is a black box operation, and members have conflicts of interest with various developments on Lantau. The working report suggests to develop different tourist spots and facilities in 14 major locations on Lantau. These places have high ecological value. Lantau, an island which belongs to Hong Kong people, is proposed to be privatized by LanDAC in the name of “green tourism”, converting Lantau into a commercial urban township.

The LanDAC report has violated procedural justice and the original planning vision for Lantau.

According to the “Revised Lantau Concept Plan” published in 2007:

Paragraph 5.4, “…In view of the overall conservation objectives, local topography, accessibility and infrastructure capacity, large-scale recreation and tourism projects should be avoided. Moreover, major site formation or building works for large-scale developments are not recommended.” ;

Paragraph 5.5, “…An important principle has been stated, i.e. all development proposals should cause minimal impact on the natural assets of Lantau.”

The CY Leung government and LanDAC did not study the environmental carrying capacity or conduct baseline surveys. Instead, they abandoned all the previous principles and decided to open-up the South Lantau Road despite public objections, and to concrete over valuable natural scenic assets of Lantau, including Sunset Peak, Tai O, Mui Wo, Shui Hau and Pui O. The proposed developments will destroy the rural and culture character, the local economy, the natural landscape and the habitats of Lantau.

The LanDAC report follows CY Leung’s policy intentions. It includes the “East Lantau Metropolis” as the third central business district (CBD3) and creating an artificial island in the Central Waters of Hong Kong, as part of the “Southern Corridor” in Pearl River Delta (PRD) region announced in the 13th National 5-year plan. LanDAC stated that the island could satisfy the housing demand of Hong Kong people and become an economic “Corridor” for the PRD. The artificial island, with a size of almost one third of Hong Kong Island, would bring irreversible adverse impacts on the marine ecology. This “white elephant” only benefits the Sino-Hong Kong business sectors. At the same time it creates an enormous financial and ecological “burden” for Hong Kong people.

LanDAC did not conduct any public consultation over the past two years, now CY Leung announced in his 2016 Policy Address that “the government would launch a public consultation of a pre-agreed Lantau development plan in the first-half of the year, thus a blueprint of Lantau development would be promulgated afterwards... The government would set up a Lantau Development Office to undertake the tasks”. The speed and determination in pushing the Lantau development plans is unprecedented. The community will be forced to simply accept this plan and “barter public resources away”.

We urge for:

1. An environmental sustainable development for Lantau, every development should be both environment and people oriented, so as to achieve a fair and just sharing community;
2. Further studies should be conducted into the environmental carrying capacity with baseline surveys, and the implementation of previous agreed conservation projects/measures/plans;
3. Abandon the plan of opening up South Lantau Road;
4. Dismiss LanDAC, immediately consult the public on Lantau developments without a prior agenda; and
5. Defer the application of funding for “Strategic studies for artificial islands in the central waters” until there is public consensus on the plans.

Initiating group:Save Lantau Alliance

Supporting groups(in no particular order):

Tai O Cultural Workshop
Tung Chung Future
South Lantau Concern group
Umbrella Blossom
Liber Research Community
Land Justice League
Ma Po Po
Green Sense
Green Peace
Age of resistance
Friends of Conscience
Defense of Hong Kong Freedom
Sha Tin Community Network
Labour Party
Civic Party
Tung Chung Community Development Alliance
Tin Shui Wai New Force
Hong Kong Christian Institute
HKWildlife.Net Forum
Green Power
Tai O Stray Cat Home
Conservation Association
Ark Eden Foundation
Green Lantau Association
Living Island Movement

(If your organization want to co-sign the petition, please inform Save Lantau alliance through Facebook inbox.)

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