Beach slapped

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 December, 2011, 12:00am


Bali has Ku De Ta, Ibiza has Cafe del Mar and Hong Kong has the South Bay Beach Club. For the past few years, beach-goers have been able to lounge about on comfy sofas sipping cocktails while the sun sets over one of Hong Kong Island's most secluded beaches and a DJ plays chill-out music in the background.

But the party appears to be over. Those leisurely types at the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, responding to a rise in the number of noise complaints from four last year to a grand total of 12 so far this year, say the South Bay venue (and other beachside 'kiosks') will have to close by 7pm - before the summer sunset of about 7.30pm.

Say goodbye to the beach club's chic umbrellas and outdoor furniture, too. The venue is to be fitted out with the department's standardised metal chairs and tables bolted to the floor. Yes, the same butt-numbing 'furniture' that has killed the atmosphere at the Big Wave Bay beachside restaurant.

The South Bay Beach Club has won plaudits in Time magazine and in the trendy Luxe guides, and its likely demise is another example of our government's failure to capitalise on the potential of our natural resources (see Victoria Harbour).

First-time visitors to Hong Kong are often amazed to find themselves standing barefoot in the sand just minutes after leaving the city. And the South Bay Beach Club showed we could be just as sophisticated with our beachside entertainment as the Spaniards and Balinese.

We've already got enough fishball stalls at our beaches. Don't let the South Bay Beach Club go from Cafe del SAR to Cafe de Coral.