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Cheung Kong

WWF can ensure that property project does not damage sensitive wetlands

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 October, 2011, 12:00am

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The decision by WWF-Hong Kong to back the planned residential project of a subsidiary of Cheung Kong (Holdings) at Fung Lok Wai, has proved to be controversial. Some sections of the public are against the project going ahead at the wetland site.

Those expressing their opposition say that there is a clear contradiction between preserving an ecologically sensitive area and developing that area for economic reasons.

However, I would raise doubts about the logic of such an argument in this case.

Some green activists have expressed anger at WWF-Hong Kong's decision to give a favourable opinion of a property developer's planned project. They question whether the organisation is acting in a responsible manner as a green group that enjoys public funding.

However, given that the group has an impressive track record when it comes to environmental protection, I think we should have faith in its decision. Its efforts in supporting green causes are recognised worldwide.

Clearly it has good reasons for backing Cheung Kong's proposed development.

It must believe that economic development does not necessarily lead to conservation work being hampered.

There should be no conflict between the two objectives as long as the appropriate mitigation measures are in place.

WWF should be in a position to scrutinise what the developer is doing and ensuring that it carries out agreed measures to minimise any adverse effect on the flight paths of birds in the area. After the project is completed it can undertake follow-up inspections.

The developer is unlikely to give in to those green activists who take a confrontational stand.

It is better to work with Cheung Kong and still achieve the necessary eco-friendly objectives.

WWF-Hong Kong is going to use its influence to get the best possible outcome, something that will help the economy and conservation efforts in Mai Po.

Instead of accusing WWF of caving in to a property giant we should show our support for its efforts.

As I said, as long as the right balance is struck we can have successful conservation work and economic growth in the city. It is better to seek co-operation than trade insults.

Nancy Leung, Tai Wai