Sham Chung: crisis, or opportunity?

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    Just been informed Sun Hung Kai has no development plans for Sham Chung; they can’t see potential without an access road. [adding this on 4 Feb 09]

    Kind of good; but too bad the wetland was trashed…


    Sham Chung is a real nice, old village area on northwest of Sai Kung Peninsula – not much more than a stone’s throw from Ma On Shan, yet seems remote, with abandoned rice fields [err, well, devastated by Sun Hung Kai for supposed golf course, and a farm for – handicapped or underprivileged – children, which always seemed deserted to me], old hamlets, mostly abandoned; ringed by band of woodland with some fine old trees, and with hills above, a few nice trails passing through. SHK has reportedly come up with plan for several-storey buildings here and on opposite shore of Three Fathoms Cove; this according to articles in Chinese language press, and Spike magazine.

    I wonder, though, how far advanced Sun Hung Kai’s plans to trash Sham Chung really are; some time ago, I saw draft plan for array of resort bungalows there; wonder if this is another attempt at finding something to succeed for land they’ve bought but don’t know how to profit from. How about an alternative? – maybe not so lucrative in sheer cash terms, but maybe meriting support from greenies, perhaps also support and help from HK government. (As yet, with patches of land like Sham Chung, seems govt thinking is that either belong to others [in which case, maybe must restrict what kind of development can happen]; or govt to buy back [too expensive, esp when have to spend HK$500 million on artificial wetland park]). Idea, then: turn existing village houses into resort accommodation.

    Not just budget hostel type places currently found in New Territories – I don’t think that would appeal to SHK – but more like the houses that have been done up at Pak Sha O: real nice, with mod cons, also bits n pieces from traditional rural life. Aim for kind of place that HK people may use, for a day or two away from the city; also for tourists, for a night or two in a very different landscape.

    I’ve long dreamed of notion of someone having real nice, revamped village house to stay in, and having meals/coffee etc on "patio", admiring the greenery, the peace [birdsong, not much else to be heard]. Could maybe have something akin to folk village in part of area; great if could rework rice fields, with working buffalo – attract some day-trippers. (Yeah, may disturb the overnight stayers, but not necessarily by much; and evenings should be peaceful.) For redoing houses, can draw on experience in places like Pak Sha O; for business aspects: can find info on agri-tourism in Europe and elsewhere – including Taiwan. Huge plus for the area: real close to the city, easily reached from Ma Liu Shui pier, or SHK pier just across Three Fathoms Cove.


      Hi Martin, These are great ideas but….sadly….I can’t see SHK forfeiting cashcow for cultural interests unless their is some other major (bottom line) incentive to do so.

      There needs to be both a bottom up and top down approach to rural development that centres on the overall and long-term needs of the community (and HK as a whole) – not the short term monetary gratification of a few individuals and big companies.

      Wouldn’t it be nice if companies were incentivized (is that a word?) to consider the overall impact and long term sustainability of each of their projects BEFORE they were hatched from the drawing board. If they would be upfront and transparent about their potential plans, discuss them with all stakeholders, and modify them according to what is best for the community as well as their bottom line? Perhaps I’m dreaming but…. I’d like to somehow work towards that ideal situation. Now… do we take a small step forward….???????



        [Post forwarded from Sai Kung Association mailing list with permission of the author; if you wish to help, please contact [email protected]]

        From: ilmauping [mailto:[email protected]]
        Sent: April 22, 2004 10:18 PM
        To: [email protected]
        Subject: [SKAssoc] Survey at Shum Chung

        John & all members,

        May I just share with you all the progress of the survey for Shum

        With the support by the Hong Kong Nature( a popular wesite posting
        beautiful photos of HK wildlife), we have so far recruited around
        100 postgraduated students from HKU, CUHK, HKUST and etc to collect
        ecological data in Shum Chung. All of them will be divided into 4 to
        5 teams according to their expertises including stream, wetland,
        bird, dragonfly, butterfly, fish…..A night diving will also be
        held with 10 voluntary divers in 100 meters near the pier. If
        possible, we would like to launch the whole operation in mid May and
        it might last for two months or longer.

        Besides, a working group of Hong Kong Professioal Teachers’ Union
        might join us later.

        Stanley and I will assist to coordinate the work of different teams
        and to seek funding from other green groups.

        If everthing going smooth as planned, a comperhensive ecological
        report with hunreds of photos will be submitted to government
        hopefull before Septemer.

        Of cause, we do hope SKA could play an active role for that. So we
        will keep you all informed of any progress. If possible, we might
        invite some of our working partners to the meeting of SKA soon.

        Any comment?




        Good to learn of such a grand eco-survey; so much enthusiasm generated.

        Too bad there was no such grand survey before the abandoned rice fields were trashed; David Dudgeon rated the area of old fields/streams as (I believe) the second best freshwater wetland in Hong Kong. Sadly, pretty close to zero birding here that I know of, before the fields were destroyed.

        I’ve done some birding there; found the “golf course” thing almost sterile bird-wise. A smattering of wetland birds, inc Pied Kingfisher. Some woodland birds in surrounding woods (would you believe?) – my best being a Ferruginous Flycatcher.

        mid-May is late to start on bird work; tho I did a day or so in mid-summer I think.

        Who knows with SHK: might be hard to come up with scheme to make loads of money from Sham Chung, so maybe something that promises at least some return, coupled with (let’s be hopeful here!) plaudits from greenies might be of interest.

        What of the pier?
        After SCM Post reported on villages getting water supplies costing millions of dollars, yet no one connecting to the supplies, and hardly anyone living in these villages anyway, may be more scope for trying to stop the new pier project on basis of it being a big, silly waste of money.
        Instead, could use the cash to buy fancy city apartments for the two or three residents of Sham Chung (can’t be many more, if that). Or, would be way better if could just buy some of the land, for improvement and safeguarding.

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