Disney talks stumble over 'ugly' chimneys
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Three eyesore chimneys opposite the proposed Disney theme park site in northeast Lantau are believed to be one of the obstacles to the project.
CLP Power is talking to Disney and government officials about the possibility of reducing the height of the 50-metre power station chimneys at Penny's Bay.
The electricity company acknowledged that both Disney and officials had raised questions about the chimneys, but a company spokeswoman said: 'The chimneys have to meet environmental standards that take into account wind direction, emission and dispersion of exhaust gases.
'Any alteration would require a new environmental assessment and approval.' Environmental regulations say chimney stacks must be 50 metres high.
It is understood Disney officials raised questions about the chimneys after a recent inspection of the power plant facilities.
'The Government and Disney approached us earlier on and we had some preliminary discussions,' CLP said. 'It is too early to comment if and what actions the company will take.' Plato Yip Kwong-to, assistant director of Friends of the Earth, said: 'Dispersing exhaust gases would be very difficult if the height of the three chimneys was reduced.
'If the height was reduced, air quality would deteriorate and the environment of Disney will suffer as well.' Dr Wong King-keung, a member of the Town Planning Board, suggested the diesel plant would have to switch to natural gas if the chimneys were shortened. 'Technically speaking, it is feasible; but the cost of modification would be very high,' he said.
Visual intrusion into the park was a major obstacle hindering progress of the Disney talks, Tourism Commissioner and chief negotiator Mike Rowse admitted on Thursday.
Talks on the theme park have been extended for another four months, although the area has been zoned as a major tourism area.
The power station, which opened in June 1992, cost $1.1 billion. It is a back-up facility to meet short-term demand during the summer.