Lantau has a wealth of natural and cultural resources. The Government has been promoting the sustainable development of Lantau following the principle of “Development in the North; Conservation for the South”. In the 2018 Policy Address, the Chief Executive announced the establishment of a $1 billion Lantau Conservation Fund (LCF) to promote and support Lantau conservation. Assessment results of the first-round applications have been announced earlier, with 18 projects approved. This time, I have invited the Head of the Sustainable Lantau Office (SLO) of the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD), Mr FONG Hok-shing, Michael, and the Chairperson of the LCF Advisory Committee, Prof. LEUNG Mei-yee, Kenneth, to introduce the fund. Also, representatives of an approved project will talk about its details.
Promoting and supporting Lantau conservation
The $1 billion LCF consists of two parts: $500 million will be spent by the Government on minor local improvement works to support conservation measures and enhance Lantau’s environment; the other $500 million are dedicated to providing financial support for eligible organisations and post-secondary education institutions to conduct research or carry out conservation and related projects in collaboration with local communities.
Covering nature and cultural conservation
Mr Michael FONG says the LCF was established last year and opened for first-round applications, with enthusiastic response. There are three streams under the fund, namely conservation management agreement, research, as well as education and engagement. After deliberation, the LCF Advisory Committee approved a total of 18 first-round applications, covering various aspects of nature and cultural conservation, with projects related to different natural habitats and living things, village revitalisation, village traditions, history and culture, environmental education, etc. to be implemented in a number of locations in North and South Lantau.
Assessing projects using four major criteria
Prof. Kenneth LEUNG explains that applications were considered by the committee based on four major criteria, including the benefits to Lantau conservation, the quality of proposals, the Application Organisation’s capability of execution, and whether the budget was reasonable. Certainly, factors such as originality of the projects were also considered. He hopes that the approved outstanding projects can set examples for more organisations and local communities to take part in promoting Lantau conservation.
Accepting a new round of applications by year end
I wish to take this opportunity to thank the LCF Advisory Committee for providing their precious time and professional expertise in assessing applications. The fund will open for a new round of applications in late-December. Any institutions or organisations wishing to know more about the fund, its application procedure and guidelines are welcome to visit the fund’s website at lcf.gov.hk.
Regenerating Shui Hau
“Regenerating Shui Hau: Developing sustainable village revitalisation in Lantau South through heritage restoration, cultural conservation and village co-operatives” is one of the 18 approved projects. The person in charge of the project, Professor CHUNG Wang-leung, Thomas of the School of Architecture of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), says that they learnt from the Guide to Application issued by the fund that the scope of support for projects within the stream of “Conservation Management Agreement” covers the management and conservation of private land or buildings of conservation value. Since villagers of Shui Hau are interested in conserving and revitalising their village, they submitted an application and are delighted to be granted financial support.
Restoration of old buildings
Project “Regenerating Shui Hau” consists of three parts, namely restoration of historic buildings, cultural conservation, and establishment of a cooperative society led by villagers. According to Professor CHUNG, one of the old buildings they plan to restore is a pitched-roof stone house, which is a Grade 3 historic building. After restoration, the villagers will use it as a cultural centre. Another building to be restored is a very small structure called Wo Liu that was used by villagers for the storage of farm tools and straw. After restoration, Wo Liu will become an agricultural cooperative society that can be used to tell the story about Shui Hau and introduce to visitors the concept of agricultural land rehabilitation. It can also be made into one of the tourist attractions to showcase agricultural activities in Shui Hau in the past.
More in-depth study on Shui Hau Village’s history and culture
After restoration, the buildings will become venues for activities and guided tours to pass on the legacy of Shui Hau’s rural life and agricultural culture. In addition, the project will further study the culture and history of Shui Hau Village. Dr Chloe LAI, a member of the project team, says that the project team visited Shui Hau Village about four years ago to interview villagers for their stories. The team also produced a documentary featuring three old ladies singing folk songs in Wai Tau dialect. With the financial support for the project, they will conduct a more in-depth study on Shui Hau Village – a village of over 300 years of history. Since the historical stories and folk songs are passed on by word-of-mouth, she says that there is a need to record them expeditiously.
The LCF provides financial support to various organisations and institutions to carry out conservation and related projects. I hope the gradual implementation of the approved projects can further enhance the environmental capacity of Lantau, facilitate the conservation of the culture and rural characteristics of Lantau, and promote the sustainable development of Lantau. Next week, I will share with you other projects that have been granted financial support under the LCF.
Legislative Council General Election
On another front, the Legislative Council (LegCo) General Election will be held on the 19th this month. It will be the first LegCo election under the improved electoral system. All three functional constituencies related to the DEVB, namely the functional constituencies of architectural, surveying, planning and landscape; engineering; and real estate and construction, have more than one candidate contesting in the election. It is a competitive election. The LegCo is an important authority of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s political system. The improved electoral system will ensure broader representation and balanced participation in the Council, which is consistent with the overall interests of our society. The Government will spare no effort in making the election a great success. I would like to call on all voters to actively participate in the election and cast an important vote to elect patriotic LegCo members who will do real work.
5 December, 2021Back