Activists step up battle against WWF
Environmental activists have warned again that they may mount a campaign against a leading conservation group if it continues to co-operate with billionaire Li Ka-shing in a development project on wetland at Yuen Long.
They spoke out as about 30 people, bearing banners and placards, mounted a protest against the plan by Cheung Kong (Holdings) subsidiary Mutual Luck to redevelop the Fung Lok Wai fish ponds with the help of WWF (Hong Kong).
The Town Planning Board will discuss the planning application for the project tomorrow in one of the few major hurdles left before construction of 19 residential towers and a nature reserve can begin.
WWF says it will work with the developer in designing the reserve, which will occupy 90 per cent of the 80-hectare site.
But activist Chan Kim-ching, who organised yesterday's field visit to the fish ponds, said WWF should stop participating in what he termed a public-relations gesture.
'The longer it works with the developer, the more patrons it will antagonise. If the project is endorsed ... we will not rule out launching a campaign asking its donors to stop supporting the organisation,' Chan said.
WWF says it believes the development is a 'viable solution' to conserve and manage critical Deep Bay wetlands, and that environmental degradation of the area will worsen if no action is taken.
The developer has had its environmental impact assessment report conditionally approved by the director of environmental protection, though it has yet to apply for an environmental permit, which would require a satisfactory habitat creation and management plan.
The 19 towers will provide about 2,000 flats.
Chan said that while the towers would occupy only 5 per cent of the site, the development footprint would be big enough to destroy the rest as the buildings would create unacceptable light pollution. Opponents also point to the discovery nearby of a firefly not previously seen in Hong Kong, saying such species were not taken into account in the impact assessment study.
The year in which half of the 80-hectare site was designated as a wetland area of international importance