Planning contest to be launched for Tai O
A planning-design competition will be held as early as next year to provide inspiration for Tai O's facelift, following much criticism of an official plan.
Raymond Young Lap-moon, permanent secretary for development, said yesterday consortiums taking part should also propose a development plan for the Lantau village and a revitalisation plan for its old police station.
The winner would run the historic station, he said, adding that consortiums were expected to comprise developers, professionals and non-profit-making organisations.
'If eco-tourism is the best direction for Tai O, how should we go for it?' he asked.
Mr Young added that, for example, under-occupied public estates could be turned into tourist hostels to encourage eco-tourism.
He said the government was open to all creative and environmentally friendly proposals.
'If there are strong public views for demolishing the sea dyke, so be it,' he said, referring to the typhoon shelter built by the government about five years ago.
The shelter has been criticised for blocking the view of the sunset. Mr Young said few boats had used it.
Two months ago, the Civil Engineering and Development Department announced a HK$620 million proposal for Tai O. It featured a themed plaza, a cycle park and a renovated promenade, and drew widespread opposition from residents and from overseas.
About 1,000 people signed an online petition against the proposal.
'The plan is not finalised yet,' Mr Young said, adding that the competition would be held when the second stage of the public consultation started early next year.
But he said some construction work, such as a river wall to prevent flooding of stilt houses, must go ahead to ensure residents' safety.
Wong Wai-king, of the Tai O Cultural Workshop, is worried the natural landscape of Tai O will be destroyed by development plans proposed by outsiders.
She said the winning proposal should preserve the unique characteristics of Tai O, including its culture, environment and ecology.
Betty Ho Siu-fong, chairwoman of the Conservancy Association, said the competition was a good opportunity to look at how Tai O could be planned and beautified.