Area of outstanding natural beauty will be lost if Lamma project goes ahead

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2011, 12:00am

I refer to the report ('Project 'threatens' Lamma marine life', November 14).

In south Lamma a small developer, King Wong, bought cheap agricultural land, then joined forces with a developer, Agile Property Holdings ('that usually focuses on mainland real estate'), to seek a land-use rezoning that would enable them to build a luxury development ridiculously named 'The Baroque on Lamma'. It comprises 850 residential units, commercial facilities, a resort hotel, a car park for 135 private cars, trucks, 16 taxis and 20 coaches (on an island where there are no roads for cars) and a 500-berth marina for super-yachts.

Living Lamma urges the Town Planning Board to reject this application as incompatible with the statutory land use planning framework for south Lamma, where two sites of special scientific interest are home to endangered species.

Hong Kong should treasure and protect a rich and yet fragile ecosystem, instead of falling for yet another developer's sleight of hand.

The Baroque developers claim to be fulfilling Hong Kong's shortage of berthing facilities, but if that is indeed the case, there are more suitable locations to build a marina without destroying marine life. The Baroque developers are waxing lyrical about building a 'new town' in harmony with the environment and propose a 'conservation corridor'.

Nature cannot be channeled into a narrow corridor and no amount of green-washing will change this inconvenient truth. Hong Kong will be poorer due to the loss of an area of outstanding natural beauty and ecological value, enjoyed by Hong Kong citizens and visitors alike, regardless of their income.

Furthermore, there is no guarantee that Agile Holdings will deliver the Sardinian heaven it conjured up with its PowerPoint presentation.

The report ('Hard times ahead as cooling efforts kick in', October 26) stated that Agile Property had 'reached only 64.1 per cent of its full-year target of 37 billion yuan (HK$45 billion)'. It also has heavy exposure in Guangzhou and Shanghai, property markets that are struggling after the central government introduced cooling measures.

This means Agile Holdings is currently under pressure and a change of land status means it will be free to sell development rights to the highest bidder and rake in a nice profit.

Laura Ruggeri, vice-chairperson, Living Lamma


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