Lantau: protection, and local economy

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    following a post to Keep Lantau Beautiful! petition by Esta Overmars, publisher Island Courier, I’ve emailed Esta with the following:

    Thanks for post to Lantau petition on hkoutdoors I believe much could be done in effort to benefit south Lantau without need for substantial concrete. For Mui Wo, yes, should consider character of the place. I dislike it around the ferry pier (I live on Cheung Chau); here, there is plenty of reason for major transformation, so that not just a dismal concrete place – in my view! (different once you reach fields/housing behind the beach) Overall, tourism seems obvious way to bring benefits. Currently, though, seems to me that Lantau tourism is currently promoted as pretty much only the Big Buddha; to much smaller extent Tai O. There is plenty more on Lantau; part of it is simply telling people what there is, how to get there. For Pui O, say – I’ve taken visitors around the fields, and to the beach, and they’ve really enjoyed it (including buffalo, and scenery). There are easy trails, short walks; simple to do from a bus. But how would most people know about this? No signs tell people what there is here – tho HKTB might change this. There’s no info at main pier at Mui Wo; just AFCD post with pathetic selection of leaflets (if they haven’t run out of the almost ok one or two). Good signs up here; a trail route – "the buffalo safari" or something – could I think lead to people trying this. And if and when they do, should help existing restaurants, cafes, cycle rental and other shops.

    Cheung Sha is a gem of a beach, which I’d very often passed on bus (nothing much from road to suggest I should visit), before two hiking friends recommended walking along the beach. I tried this, and had lunch at The Stoep. How excellent! Again, keep the beach pretty much as is – no silly boardwalk; surely if you go to a beach you want to walk on the sand. Again, too, have signs up – like prominent sign at bus stop. Info on the place. Keep west beach pretty wild; try to ensure east beach retains its character, even though maybe more restaurants, perhaps some accommodation. (Rather seems to me that more places opening here? – The Stoep. all by itself, helping bring people.)

    Several other places; various activities, levels of fitness etc, to cope with. Lantau tourism "board" might be an idea: you’re likely right that Lantau Plan too big for LIM: but Hong Kong is, I think too diverse for HKTB – which seems obsessed with shopping, city. With some cooperation among businesses, a Lantau tourism "board" could work at promoting Lantau – both among locals, and overseas. Needn’t take lots of cash; try for stories in media as main way, maybe a website to support it. Can help promote places people can stay – like at Shui Hau, a resort near Pui O. Throughout, aim to maintain Lantau’s character; this is a wonderful place. Elsewhere in the world are lovely places where people earn decent incomes through tourism – surely worth a try for Lantau. (Especially in Hong Kong now, with many more people heading outdoors.) Not easy, but surely possible. 

    Eric of LIM has started a plan for encouraging tourism etc, keeping Lantau great. Many people surely willing to help, if a chance of doing worthwhile projects. Best regards, Martin [lest you haven’t seen the post:]

    Hello everybody! It is a fact that we don’t need to sit back and comment and critizise the government and blame them of everything. The public itself is to blame as well because of their political apathy. Political and conservational awareness is what we need among the public. There are many environmentally conscious people, also locals living on Lantau Island that care about it. It’s a misunderstanding the locals don’t care. Also developers such as HKR have also be looked at, that they are just encroach their territory and all those Westerners living in f.e. Discovery Bay are most glad with the place they’re living in. Have you heard them about the concrete there? It’s a fact that different regions of Lantau have different interests.

    LIM & GLA are commenting the LCP is a sham, but are not putting forward any ideas or plans how to improve the local ailing economy, even though we can build up an environmental-friendly economy. Instead they’re stressing nature conservation which is also important, but that’s not how you win the game of lobbying. They come with a face-lift of Mui Wo, but you cannot put plastic surgery on an old woman, thinking to make her beautiful without paying any attention also to her personal character. Besides a comment from their own spokesman is that they’re tired of fighting against the government in the superjail case, so I wouldn’t be so sure about them in the case of Lantau plan: Lantau is too big for them. Hopefully the political apathy comes to an end as far as South Lantau & Mui Wo is concerned because a South Lantau Liaison Workgroup is to be set up by South Lantau Residents. Meeting for discussions about the Lantau Concept Plan (South & Mui Wo development) are being set up on Tuesday afternoon Feb 1 (Rural Cte) and Tuesday evening Feb 1 (Island Courier & District Councillor). More information below in link. [seems link defunct] www dot Please email if constructive comments or suggestions for South Lantau & Mui Wo. Best regards, Esta Overmars Publisher Island Courier

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