Greenbelt plans for Disney park drawn up

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 October, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 October, 2000, 12:00am

Officials have drawn up measures to redevelop the area around Penny's Bay to make it compatible with the Disney development.

The plans, on which the Government will have the final say, were submitted to Disney bosses in the United States this week for their consideration. Civil Engineering Department chiefs want to build a nine-metre-high landscaped embankment and create a green belt surrounding the theme park on Lantau.

Colourful road signs bearing Mickey Mouse logos would be erected outside the theme park to direct tourists, especially those from the mainland.

But environmentalists have accused officials of pandering to the entertainment giant and said the plans would be an eyesore.

Director of Civil Engineering Lau Ching-kwong said traffic laws might need to be amended if the department was to seek exemptions allowing them to put up different designs of road signs.

The proposals also provide a solution to the three unsightly chimney stacks of the Lamma power station.

CLP Power has talked to Disney and government officials about the possibility of reducing the height of the 50-metre chimneys.

Mr Lau said officials would be accompanied by their Disney counterparts on a visit to the mainland next month to select what plants to use for the landscaping.

Other proposals include building a lighthouse at the pier and a display detailing Hong Kong's history leading up to the entrance of the theme park.

But Mr Lau admitted the US company was against erecting Chinese or Oriental-style attractions in the area. 'We will look into their comments. We want the designs of our facilities to be coherent with the theme park,' he said. 'We want the scene around the theme park to coincide with the atmosphere inside. We want to surround the park with trees so visitors will not see anything inconsistent.

'We are also considering putting up special road signs along the driveways to the theme park or even at the border to assist mainland tourists. US Disney pays a lot of attention to the designs of road signs which can help tourists find the theme park.'

But the proposals have drawn scathing comments from Friends of the Earth assistant director Plato Yip Kwong-to, who criticised the plan as giving 'special favours' to Disney.

'Why do the road signs have to be specially designed to bear the Disney trademark? This special treatment is not enjoyed by any other business sectors.'

The theme park is due to open in 2005.