Hongkongers robbed of another quiet traditional rural area in Pak Kong

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 July, 2014, 5:17am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 July, 2014, 5:17am

I refer to the report ("Soaring towers raise ire in Sai Kung", June 29).

If the government said in its outline zoning plan for Pak Kong that it would "conserve the intrinsic natural character of the landscape" but its Planning Department says that "the height of the towers and the appearance of the development were not subject to restrictions", then how can it be possible that the first objective can be achieved?

If the government has no control over one of its own departments then it is dysfunctional, as it is unable to carry out its policies. New World has taken full advantage of this and made a mockery of the government. Hong Kong people have been robbed of yet another quiet piece of traditional landscape.

No doubt New World knew from the beginning that its towers would provoke a negative response from the community. It took great pains to conceal its activities by blocking every peephole with high boarding around the site (which is a common New Territories practice when developers do not wish to be observed).

However, what it could not conceal was the endless stream of cement mixers entering and leaving the site daily, accompanied by a road crew to direct traffic and wash down the sludge.

Recently from a plane, I observed that the whole site has been cleared of vegetation, which makes the promise by New World's PR mouthpiece to provide "dense vegetation" and "green building" hollow. Clearly New World has taken a page out of the New Territories developer's handbook - destroy everything first before anyone can see or complain about what you are up to.

What is different this time is the scale and sheer audacity of the destruction and the open invitation it will provide to others with similar intent.

Now that New World has ruined this scenic spot forever and blighted the landscape with enormous towers for a golf driving range (when incidentally a public driving range already exists 20 minutes away off Sai Sha Road), what can be done?

If the towers were ordered removed, does this not just play into a New World strategy to abandon the phony concept of a "golf resort" for its real objective of selling the flats? This could be considered crony capitalism at its best.

Catherine LaJeunesse, Sai Kung