Sand being used to restore beach is just like mud, says councillor

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 May, 2007, 12:00am

A government contractor has been accused of using poor quality sand to restore a popular beach.

District councillor Shek Kwok-keung compared the sand being used at Deep Water Bay to mud and said he was worried about the effect it would have on water quality.

'The government wants to restore sand at Deep Water Bay, as a lot has been lost due to erosion,' Mr Shek said. 'It is very dangerous for swimmers and children for rocks that used to be covered by sand to come to the surface.'

He has received five complaints in the past two weeks.

A pile of the sand could been seen at the bay yesterday near a project site set up by China Harbour Engineering. Workers were removing rocks from sand with a machine.

The project, which the Civil Engineering and Development Department outsourced, began on April 18 and is scheduled to be completed at the end of the month.

'Just by looking at the colours of the sand used to replenish the natural sand, it is clear that they are totally different,' Mr Shek said. 'When I throw natural sand into water, it falls to the sea bed. But if I throw the sand used by the contractor, the water turns yellowish. I really doubt if this mud-like material should be used.'

He said if heavy rains washed the sand used for restoration into the sea, the water quality of the beach might be seriously affected.

'I called the contractor and asked them where they got the sand, and they told me it was from somewhere in Chek Lap Kok. Shouldn't the government have tight control over the sand quality used?'

A Mr Mok, from China Harbour Engineering, said: 'We are carrying out the project according to instructions given by the Civil Engineering Development Department.'

A spokeswoman for the department and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, which manages the beach, said the contractor was obligated to provide sand that matched existing sand at the beach.

Another spokeswoman said the Civil Engineering and Development Department would step up water quality monitoring.