Battle lines drawn in country park fight

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 April, 2011, 12:00am


The battle lines have been drawn between those who support controls on the use of two country park enclaves in Sai Kung and those who oppose controls, but the sizes of the rival forces look a bit out of balance.

With the three-month public consultation on the proposal for interim land use zonings on the sites at To Kwa Peng and Pak Tam Au ending today, only five supporting submissions, all from green groups, had been received by last night.

By contrast, 201 objections had been filed with the Town Planning Board, most believed to be from indigenous villagers in Sai Kung or Tai Po, alarmed by plans to curb village house developments on the sites.

Acknowledging the sites as important ecologically and facing small house developments, the plans make suggestions on how the sites should be zoned, including turning parts of them into conservation areas.

Most of the objecting villagers say the zonings will infringe their private property rights and hurt the interests of indigenous inhabitants.

Poon Kei-yuen, describing himself as a consultant for Pak Tam Au Village, said in a submission that the board should relax approval for small house applications filed before the imposition of the plan.

Poon also proposed expanding the village boundary to accommodate more houses, especially for at least 59 villagers who were returning from overseas. A proposal to build a five-metre-wide road linking to Pak Tam Chung Road, with the possibility of widening it to 12 metres, has also been sent to the board, according to Poon's submission.

Conservancy Association campaign manager Peter Li Siu-man, who recently visited To Kwa Peng, said the site remained largely unchanged after the previous land excavation and removal of vegetation, although there had been some movement of soil that lowered the level of the site.

'The zoning process has just begun and it is too early to say who will win eventually,' he said.

The board will take up to three years to finalise the detailed zoning plans for the two sites.