25 March 2009 at 7:02 am #7180
Email just in; the visit on 28 Mar is open to all who are interested – help needed in stopping a potentially destructive project
Wong wai king of Tai O workshop would like to invite you to have a look of Tai O environment on 28th March,2009(sat).As I sincerely hope that you or your association will come and share our views after this fieldtrip to Tai O in order to avoid a possible destruction of Tai O environment in the near future.Please see the attached document.If you have any inquiry,Pls feel free to phone Wong Wai King directly.
Wong Wai King of Tai O Cultural Workshop
Please Consider the Impact of the Tai O Development Project on the Ecology
Invitation to Green Groups for a Site Visit
25 March 2009
To all the green groups in Hong Kong
We note that the Civil Engineering and Development Department will hold a briefing and consultation session on the Tai O Development Scheme for all green groups on 30 March. As the Government scheme will cause significant changes to Tai O, we hope that before they express their views, the green groups will make a site visit to Pak Shan for an understanding of Tai O’s actual circumstances and the impact the project will have on the ecology.
Under the government scheme, the focus is on constructing tourist facilities in Tai O. There is no plan for strengthening the infrastructure. In the area of stilt houses, there is no sewerage system at all. The domestic sewage directly discharges into the stream course. On top of that silt has built up over time in the streams, resulting in the health conditions being far from satisfactory. It has long been the aspiration of Tai O residents for better health conditions but that has not been properly addressed. The landslide in June and the flooding caused by Typhoon Hagupit in September last year have paralyzed the life of Tai O residents. In addition, residents’ lives and business were exposed to immediate threat. Environmental hygiene and safety is of personal concern. It is vital for safeguarding residents’ continuous living in the district and is the basic requirement for development in Tai O. We hope that all the green groups will take this aspect into account.
There are three aspects in the government’s Tai O project that would have impact on the ecology. They are:
Adding boardwalks to the wetland
The government proposes to build boardwalks through the mangrove area along Pak Shan, Leung Uk, the bus terminus and the pier, with an aim of providing an enhanced experience for the visitors over the mangrove. We consider that unnecessary because there is an existing access to the mangrove in the two areas. For a visitor to have a taste of the beauty of the mangrove, he only needs to watch quietly from a little distance. If visitors are allowed to penetrate into the mangrove, their activity and noise will disturb the living things inside the mangrove.
Regarding the government’s proposal to set up bird-watching hide in Pak Shan, we consider that unnecessary as well. Bird-watchers can enjoy a clear view of the birds in the mangrove from the trail outside it or on the top of Pak Shan. The number of locations for bird-watching is quite adequate. The bird-watching hide will only be a facility for the visitors at most rather than a necessary one for bird-watching.
Restoring the salt pans in Pak Shan
Pak Shan, a relic of salt pans, is now a mangrove area. The government proposes to allocate a considerable proportion of Pak Shan for restoring salt pans. We consider restoring salt pans will destroy a sizable portion of mangrove, apart from having no actual demonstrative use. Moreover, following the completion of this tourist attraction, the increased flow of visitors will cause disturbance to the local living things and the residents nearby.
We expect that the government’s development scheme should follow the principle of sustainable development, including
Improving the community infrastructure and residents’ living conditions so that the Tai O community will remain in existence for generations
Protecting the ecological environment and keeping human disturbance to a minimum
Preserving the place in its original form as far as possible. Artificial enhancement will merely distort and destroy the rustic simplicity of Tai O
The sheltered boat anchorage built in 2005 is a scheme supported by green groups at that time. The outcome is not only the beautiful sea landscape of Tai O has been damaged, but also no fishing boat has ever come to use its service since the completion of the anchorage. Beautiful sunsets are no longer seen in Tai O. The seabed and water flow have changed, adversely affecting the structure of stilted houses along the shore. We hope that green groups will take a serious look at the effects that the project will have on the environment, ecology and landscape when they consider the Tai O development scheme, bearing in mind the residents’ actual needs. Please express views that are really in the interest of Tai O.
We would like to invite all green groups to Tai O on 28 March. A guided visit to the proposed site of development will be given and our comments will be explained in detail. Please gather at Tai O Bus Terminus for the visit at 11 a.m.. For enquiries, please call 9626 9671 (Ms Wong Wai King).
Tai O Culture Workshop
2009年3月25日27 March 2009 at 8:13 am #8339
Just sent this in email re above:
I’m a birdwatcher; made several visits to Tai O over the years.
The mangroves presently support rather few birds.
As I recall, there was more open water in the past, just inland of the big new mangrove lagoon (with the boardwalk): now more overgrown with reeds and mangroves.
So, for birds and wildlife, I believe the best thing is habitat improvements: more open water, maybe some exposed mud that’s rich in small life so attracts birds, and so on.
No real need for boardwalks, hide at present; might add some signage re birds to be seen.
Recreating salt pans has always seemed an odd idea to me.
Could be better for birds: salt pans can be excellent for birds such as waders (sandpipers and similar birds).
BUT surely salt pans are hard to maintain; real tough work, including in hot sun. I’ve never really understood idea that anyone would really want to do this work, unless good money.
So, I’d wonder if these are ideas from idiots!
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