ENVIRONMENT

Lung Mei beach

Environmentalists decry civil servants' support for man-made beach

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 November, 2012, 3:25am

A civil service union has been accused of abandoning its political neutrality after it supported plans to build an artificial beach near Tai Po.

The Hong Kong Civil Servants General Union on Tuesday night urged the government to carry out the project in Lung Mei, located along Tolo Harbour, as quickly as possible.

The union said the development plan had gone through statutory procedures, district council consultations and environmental impact assessments. It had also received Legco's approval for funding of HK$200 million. Therefore, no grounds remained to scrap the plan at this stage.

Chung Kwok-sing, chairman of the organisation which represents more than 30 member unions, later added that the public needed to respect the established processes or it would stall many public projects.

"If these processes are legally challenged all the time, it will create a loss-loss situation," he said.

A loosely formed coalition of at least 16 green groups to save Lung Mei said yesterday that they regretted the union's statement.

The coalition said Chung's comment would exert pressure on the Environmental Protection Department, which it was asking to review the project.

It also wanted the civil service to uphold political neutrality and professionalism, in particular when the government erred in planning and governance.

"What we are asking is sensible, reasonable and in line with the law," coalition spokesman Angus Ho Hon-wai said.

Legislator Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, who is also an executive councillor and honorary president of the union, said there was no question of political neutrality in this case.

The tender process is under way and the winning bid is expected to be announced early next year.