Hong Kong officials defend artificial beach plan as 'win-win' amid criticism
The government on Thursday staged a high-profile defence against environmentalists who oppose the construction of an artificial beach on an ecologically rich shoreline in Tai Po.
At a press conference chaired by Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing and Undersecretary for the Environment Christine Loh Kung-wai, the government vowed to create a “win-win” package – both a new beach and complete conservation of the surrounding environment.
“Development and conservation can co-exist,” said Tsang, the key proponent for the recreational project. “There can be a win-win situation.”
He said the 200-metre-long beach – which occupies less than a tenth of the 3km Ting Kok shoreline – could serve some 1.25 million people living in Tai Po and neighbouring Sha Tin and the North districts, when it opens for use in 2015.
Tsang pointed out that the plan has gone through necessary consultation procedures, including the approval of grants from the finance subcommittee in the Legislative Council, in July.
Loh brought out a six-point conservation plan covering the waters of Plover Cove, transport planning away from the areas of high ecological importance, and close monitoring of the area’s water quality.
Environmentalists last week slammed the government’s assessment reports of the site, after they discovered it is a breeding ground for seahorses, a protected species. The government reports omitted that information.
On Wednesday, they lodged a complaint with the Ombudsman criticising certain government departments.
Some popular artificial beaches in the world:
Sentosa Resort, Singapore
The popular man-made island resort in Singapore attracts five million visitors a year. The 2 kilometre long sheltered beach is divided into three portions: Palawan Beach, Siloso Beach, and Tanjong Beach. These beaches are built from sand brought from Indonesia and Malaysia.
Seagaia Ocean Dome , Japan
The Seagaia Ocean Dome was the world’s largest indoor waterpark, located in Miyazaki, Japan. It includes the world’s largest indoor beach, fake lava-erupting volcano, and the world’s largest retractable roof. Seagaia Ocean Dome was closed in 2007 for renovation.
Sun City, South Africa
The Sun City Resort near Johannesburg offers a small artificial beach and wave pool besides a variety of gambling amenities.
Palm Islands , Dubai
The Artificial Palm Islands and World Islands in Dubai are among the world’s largest man-made beaches. Tons of sand from the lower Persian Gulf were used to create it.
Beach On The Seine River, Paris
On the banks of the River Seine, the beach is complete with palm trees, outdoor showers and hammocks.
Larvotto Beach, Monaco
Larvotto beach is the only public beach in Monaco and is child-friendly. It’s a popular choice for locals as well as visitors.