Progress need not erode Lantau
Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen has enthusiastically proposed another theme park and a series of tourist development projects on Lantau Island.
While I do understand that there is great tourism potential on Lantau Island, I do not agree with the suggested developments.
It is a dilemma which pits economic progress against environmental protection. The two notions always seem to be in conflict.
The government - which has displayed a greater environmental consciousness as of late - should undertake projects worthy of compliment.
Revitalising Lantau's Tai O fishing village, for example, would not only protect our cultural heritage, but also develop Tai O as a tourist spot.
This would benefit the economy while at the same time preserving the environment.
By comparison, the recently proposed theme park, which is intended to complement Disneyland, seems rather redundant.
In my opinion, Ocean Park has sufficient rides and entertainment for thrill-seekers.
If more large-scale parks are built in the near future, I fear that Ocean Park won't be able to compete with them. Closure would lead to unemployment.
Even if Lantau development is a must, we should construct something that would symbolise the unique culture of the island.
Hong Kong should avoid recreating what already exists elsewhere. The Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui, for example, is a short corridor compared with the one in Malaysia. Disneyland will not be as grand as its sister theme parks in America.
The government should organise competitions or conduct public consultations in the form of online forums in order to gather from citizens creative ideas on ways to develop unique tourist spots on Lantau.
It's important, after all to convince taxpayers that their money has gone to a good cause.
Pulcheria is a regular SYP columnist