With its unique environment, Lantau has a wealth of natural and cultural resources. The Government promulgated the Sustainable Lantau Blueprint in 2017 with “Development in the North; Conservation for the South” as the principle to promote sustainable development of Lantau. This time, I have invited colleagues from the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) to talk about the planning and promotion of green living in Lantau. The Chairperson of the Lantau Conservation Fund (LCF) Advisory Committee, Prof. LEUNG Mei-yee, Kenneth, will also talk about the support provided under the LCF for promoting conservation and minor local improvement works in the hope of raising awareness of conservation of Lantau and encouraging participation from more people, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the local communities.
Green city with sustainable development
Conservation should be taken into account during development. Engineer of the Sustainable Lantau Office (SLO) of the CEDD, Ms WONG Tsz-wai, Kristy, says that in order to implement the vision of a green city with sustainable development in Lantau, the SLO is proactively carrying out work in various aspects. Taking the Tung Chung East Extension area as an example, land will be reserved for constructing an approximately 4.9-kilometre-long waterfront promenade and eco-shorelines will also be adopted to enhance biodiversity by providing a suitable habitat for marine species. In future, a river park will be built at the Tung Chung Stream to improve the local environment, and promote water-friendly culture and ecological education, with a view to fostering a quality living environment.
The Lantau Conservation and Recreation Masterplan
In addition, under the principle of “Development in the North; Conservation for the South” and according to the characteristics of different areas of Lantau, the SLO has formulated the Lantau Conservation and Recreation Masterplan (the Masterplan) to provide a guiding framework for our conservation and recreation initiatives. For example, there used to be a cluster of old villages in Northwest Lantau. To preserve the cultural setting of the area, we are commissioning studies by phases to understand the cultural and historical elements of the rural villages in Lantau. Besides, the South Lantau coast, with abundant green and blue assets such as the Pui O wetland, Shui Hau sandflat and beaches along the coastline, its eco-recreation potential can be further enhanced. In accordance with the Masterplan, various attractions, activities and event bases will be linked up by hiking trails, bike trail network as well as water and road transport.
The 100 kilometre Round-the-Lantau Route
According to Mr LAM Kwun-wang, Henry, Engineer of the SLO, the SLO hopes to develop Lantau into a place that offers a good variety of eco-recreation outlets, so that it will become a getaway popular with the public. For example, the expansion of the network of mountain bike trails (MBTs) in Mui Wo, the construction of a practice ground in Mui Wo, and the expansion of the network of MBTs in Chi Ma Wan have been substantially completed, with a view to enhancing the existing South Lantau MBTs. Meanwhile, the SLO has commenced a study on improvement of Lantau’s hiking trails and trail network, with the aim of integrating the existing and to-be-built hiking trails in Lantau into a Round-the-Lantau Route with a total length of about 100 kilometres.
Lantau Conservation Fund
The Government announced in the 2018 Policy Address that it would set up a $1 billion LCF to support projects that would contribute to the overall conservation of Lantau. The Chairperson of the LCF Advisory Committee, Prof. Kenneth LEUNG, tells us that the LCF consists of two parts: $500 million for minor local improvement works, and $500 million for conservation and related projects. The former will be spent on various minor local improvement works to be carried out by the Government on government land in Lantau, with a view to conserving or enhancing the Lantau environment, such as enhancing the accessibility to rural areas, and enhancement and rehabilitation of the natural environment, habitats and buildings. The first batch of minor local improvement works will be carried out in the first half of this year at the earliest.
Funding for conservation and related projects
Conservation and related projects cover the natural environment, ecology, culture, history, rural character, landscape, geomorphology and other relevant elements. Prof. Kenneth LEUNG says that quite a lot of land of ecological significance in Lantau is privately owned. In order to enhance the effectiveness of conservation, the LCF encourages collaboration among NGOs, the community and landowners to carry out projects in areas such as nature conservation, cultural conservation or village revitalisation; undertake conservation-related scientific research, or culture and local history research; and implement conservation-related activities for community involvement, education and promotion.
Application for the first round of conservation and related projects began in December 2020. Vetting results are expected to be announced by the third quarter of this year. Institutions or organisations interested in applying for funding can visit the LCF’s website.
Lantau has a wealth of green and blue natural resources. While pressing ahead with development projects, the Government is also committed to promoting the conservation of Lantau. I believe that, the progressive implementation of the LCF can help enhance environmental capacity and conserve cultural and rural character, thereby achieving sustainability in Lantau.
21 February, 2021Back