Lack of support may scuttle recovery plan
A preservation and recovery plan for Sai Wan proposed by a charity foundation has failed to secure public support and might be put on hold indefinitely.
'The real problem now is not the landowner but the public,' said Wong Ka-chai, chief executive of the Wong T. Lap Foundation, which had planned to spend up to HK$1million for the plan. 'Without a public consensus and a mandate for us, it is difficult to ... lobby support from the landowner. Without that, the local villagers will not support us.'
Wong said Simon Lo Lin-shing, a listed-company chairman who owns most of the private land at Sai Wan, also seemed to favour farming the site rather than adopting other innovative conservation models.
The idea, which was first publicised in February, was hailed as a solution to resolve conflicts between development and conservation at the scenic site defaced by massive excavation work last year.
The plan was for dormitory-like accommodation, without air conditioning, that could allow up to 200 people to stay overnight.
The foundation said its plan would help revitalise the area by providing employment opportunities to local people but some groups saw the use as incompatible with a scenic site known for its wilderness.
The foundation invited award-winning Taiwanese architect Chi Ti-nan to design the plan.
'Chi actually stopped over in Hong Kong after a visit to Shanghai in March and spent a whole night trying to convince the groups. But it proved to be futile,' Wong said.