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    after email querying my support for "llimited development" on Lantau, I replied with the following ideas (also sent these to the team planning "ark-eden" concept for Lantau; seems they are along similar lines to some of plans in ark-eden – you can see the plan on this site, at Buffalo Trail at Pui Po: existing footpaths; add signs and info. Encourage a cafe or two, or whatever, in additional to existing ones, but maybe without new building – or if new building, do on existing damaged land. Could enhance the fields, maybe excavate a pond or two – good for birds, also plants, and buffalo wallowing. Encourage cleaning up of area; easier if money coming in from visitors, or if it’s promised. (If have Lantau fun day, could, say, have kids visit, and photograph/write of what they like/dislike about Pui O – nudging them towards disliking the casual env trashing.)

    Also encouraging actually keeping the buffalo, letting em munch vegetables at times (surely can compensate if some tourism! – like elsewhere some villagers compensated if tigers eat their livestock), with some control. Mui Wo Wonderful Wetland (! – yeah, cheesy), or Mui Wo Marshes: there’s potential here for major improvements (I’ve mentioned to Paul Melsom): could make a cracking wetland nature reserve, attracting lots of birds. Esp given location, could attract visitors – just people checking it out for short time as part of visit to Lantau. Even egrets special to many people I think. Could a small ticket price work? Need better paths if do this. Link to paths to waterfall etc – the waterfall is an attraction that’s under promoted I think. Should suit cycles, too. Again, along paths, some signposts, info; and can see if locals want to try selling drinks etc (already happens; but if improve trails, encourage people to visit, could boost visitor nos. and so revenue). Ng Yuen: renovation, so it doesn’t crumble (looks as if this might be possible otherwise). Should be something govt could help with, if they had a bit of sense (I visited some months ago, on day when it happened to be open – heard govt not helpful here for some reason).

    Maybe there’s scope for a bit of improvement of gardens, plants: Paul M could help?? Again, maybe small entry fee, and if more visitors, could sell a bit more drinks and so on. Give some publicity to the place; inc saying that can reach along catchwater and shortcut to Lantau Trail. Shui Hau: Fung Wong Bungalows is place I’ve stayed in, with reptile hunting team. Yes, been some fung shui wood destroyed here, but Fung Wong seems the kind of place to encourage (but not to encourage proliferation of new buildings with this purpose; surely elsewhere there are little used or disused buildings that could be converted) Real community-based tourism; with people also heading to local restaurants. Pak Mong – I’ve only been once, before airport scheme arrived in the area, so not sure if anything still viable. Seemed a fine old village. Maybe, then, could renovate housing – at least ensuring doesn’t all collapse; is it possible place for tourists to stay (in accomm rather as at Pak Sha O)? Plenty more "developments" must be possible, without major destruction (heck, even with some improvements), coupled with trying to help locals’ with income – as well as keeping Lantau beautiful (!) for all HK people, future generations.

    Sadly, I think, Lantau Development Task Force seems too ignorant of Lantau and conservation issues in general to have included anything like such ideas in the "Concept Plan". Not even there for discussions. If can get some public debate going, maybe can throw such notions into the mix. Can’t say they’re right, but at least an alternative to "development" that’s just mega-concreting – and shows some notions of willingness to work with villagers.

    Post edited by: Martin, at: 2005/03/08 11:53

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