Local concern groups, Green Power, Hong Kong Bird Watching Society, Hong Kong Outdoors, Lantau Buffalo Association, Eco-Education & Resources Centre, The Conservancy Association, Designing Hong Kong (DHK) and WWF – Hong Kong, have combined to lobby for the protection of one of the last remaining un-channelled rivers in Hong Kong.
They have come out in support of a Development Permission Area Plan (DPA) for the Tung Chung River Valley presented by the Town Planning Board in August. While in favour of the DPA draft, which aims to introduce statutory land-use control in Tung Chung West and help protect its rich ecology, the lobbyists want it extended to cover Tin Sam and Wong Lung Hang Stream. They also want the lower parts of the Tung Chung River and estuary designated as a River Nature Park.
According to DHK, there is an increasing amount of ecology being lost along the rivers and at present approximately 13% of the land has been filled with waste and covered with unauthorised structures. “The river park would be on the fringe of Tung Chung and could become a great destination to visit,” says DHK chief executive officer Paul Zimmerman.
“We want to get a lot more greenbelt zoning rather than residential,” adds Martin Williams of Hong Kong Outdoors. “We want belts of greenery on either side [of the rivers] for recreation, the environment and to keep the place looking decent.”
The concern groups say their two proposals will help achieve a more sustainable plan for Tung Chung West. Watch this space for the outcome of the petition sent out in October to the Town Planning Board, Planning Department, Civil Engineering and Development Department and Drainage Services Department.