Early settlement spot could be developed for tourism

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 September, 2008, 12:00am

The government wants to develop Lau Fau Shan, the site of some of Hong Kong's earliest settlements, into a tourism and recreation spot.

The Planning Department yesterday commissioned an 18-month consultancy study, after which the public will be asked for its view on the direction development of the spot in the northwestern New Territories should take.

The department stressed that any changes should be compatible with the natural and cultural environments.

Famed for its seafood restaurants, Lau Fau Shan is recognised as an important part of Hong Kong's heritage because it is where some of the earliest settlers lived.

The landscape is defined by rocky outcrops, interspersed with villages and agricultural plots, and is connected with Tsim Bei Tsui, noted for its natural coastline.

The study brief prepared by the department covers 565 hectares and is divided into four areas: wetlands, seafood restaurants, the Deep Bay coast and large fish ponds.

The wetlands are mainly mature mangroves in Tsim Bei Tsui, providing an attractive habitat for birds. To promote eco-tourism, the study will explore the possibility of developing cycle tracks and walking trails around the wetland areas so that people can appreciate the natural scenery of the wetlands, recognised as of importance under the international Ramsar Convention.

The infrastructure could also be improved to avoid traffic congestion during weekends and public holidays, encouraging more people to dine at the hub of seafood restaurants, the department said.

Lau Fau Shan was famous for oyster farming before pollution by industrial activities in neighbouring Shenzhen.

A viewpoint with parking space and a widened road are also recommended for enjoying the Deep Bay coastline, seen as a distinctive natural asset for the area.

The consultancy will also study the possibility of opening up a few large fish ponds and neighbouring areas.