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Hong Kong: Save the Ha Pak Nai Wetland

Categories: East Asia, Hong Kong (China), Development, Digital Activism, Environment, Photography

According to a mainstream media report( quoted from inmediahk.net [1]), a major developer in Hong Kong is planning to develop one of the most beautiful piece of wetland called Ha Pak Nai (下白泥)in Yuen Long. The plan is to build 122 country houses, 56 village style hotels, a golf court around the 5 million square meters wetland and a tiny insect museum, which means the whole wetland area will be privatized in term of spatial arrangement.

People's blog [2] urges people to submit form against [3] the town planning application. The deadline is Sept 26. The blogger also posts a map showing the details of the development plan.

Ha Pak Nai development plan

Chan Siu Ming creates a facebook group calling for an alliance [4] against the development plan. More than 460 people have joined the group. Here are some of the discussions in the group:

Judy To: can we do something like protest… signing activites to voices out our disagreement????

Felix Chan:

122個豪宅單位同56個低密度酒店單位,哥爾夫球場…起完呢堆野仲有q昆虫咩,個昆虫館用黎昆d人捉虫用啊…?

122 luxurious houses and 56 low density hotels, and a golf court… after building all these, can the insects still survive? what's the function of the insect museum? to preserve the dead insects for cheating us?

Kan Cheng plans for further action in the group:

to Loy, we can write a letter to EPD about this after 26 September, but it must be pro, about the environmental concern of golf course to the surrounding ecology. I can do it later because the EPD may not even know about this project right now, and we need time to make a detailed objection.

To Him, that is why we need to raise concern in the public, but it must be simple, because people in Hong Kong are some how pro-development. But if we can raise concern in certain concern groups in the society about the ecology, fairness issue or whatever, then the Government may not take the risk to support this.

To Felix, this is a kind of give and take -> the “planning gain” of approving their plan… so we need to point out that those open space and insert place can hardly be used by the public due to transportation issue, we can revoke this application.

Loy Ho gives some more political background about the so-called environmental friendly development plan:

Eco-architecture has not yet happen in Hong Kong. It got passed in the pass only because environment science knowledge is not functioning on Land and Law level. Our Environmental Conservation Department is a very small department inside the government, they don't have no power to stop to developer, even though they failed environment protection. If company is rich enough to do good PR strategy, they can buy the district opposite voice down. That was how they get pass most of the time. Taking Fung Yuen Butterfly garden or CLP LNG project for example. Fung Yuen project is so obvious another screen effect development. What developer did was to 50meter buffer zone from the butterfly garden as their protection for the garden.

So how does the Ha Pak Nai wetland look like? (All photos are from the facebook group.)

Maybe now you will also consider to submit the opposition letter to town planning board [3] or write some comments to the Hong Kong Tourism Board [5] before September 26.