BBC item – HK govt makes roads not conservation

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    Thanks to Living Islands Movement email, seen article on BBC website about Hong Kong people becoming more interested in heritage – stems from furore over Star Ferry pier destruction – while govt likes, essentially, concrete.

    Some extracts:

    … the outpouring of emotion has alerted Hong Kong’s planners and developers to a growing movement to save Hong Kong’s heritage.

    Some of the feeling is focused on the harbour, the spectacular but ever-shrinking stretch of water which is why Hong Kong thrived.

    The larger concern is the government’s apparent tendency for more land reclamation, roads and shopping malls, as opposed to preservation.

    the Marine Police Station, a colonial-era building on a hill protected by trees, is currently being redeveloped by private developers.

    Local reports revealed that the government chose a development plan which made most money for the government, instead of the one plan which would have saved the hill and trees.

    Just as government is knocking down Wedding Card Street and the old harbour piers, it has spent millions of dollars on new “heritage” attractions.

    These include the Ngong Ping Cable Car “Heritage Village”, an ersatz collection of shops which are home to a 7-11 convenience store, international chain coffee shops and souvenir stalls.

    Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Donald Tsang recently opened the Ancient Garden at Diamond Hill in Kowloon, which is a newly-built copy of a mainland Chinese, Tang Dynasty garden….

    Hong Kong wakes up to heritage

    I’ve sent comment (dunno if it will be published):

    Yes, I’m highly concerned about conservation in Hong Kong – especially nature conservation, but also heritage.
    Indeed, I have a website covering conservation issues – Hong Kong Outdoors,

    Right on the money about HK govt focusing on roads, shopping malls etc – huge love of concrete; and yes, these spanking new “heritage” sites aren’t great (“ersatz” right for Ngong Ping – where village thing isn’t like any village I know in Hong Kong; meanwhile, several of our loveliest old villages in advanced stages of decay).
    Even a grandiose “Wetland Park” is mainly a gigantic visitor centre with computers etc, and a few pools almost as afterthought. Over half a billion dollars spent on this; yet relatively trivial monies spent on actual wetland areas in HK: including Deep Bay, which is internationally important, has some protection but could use more help.

    Developers have long been powerful in Hong Kong. Unbalanced situation.

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