• Fri
  • Sep 19, 2014
  • Updated: 3:10am
NewsHong Kong

Idea of building flats in parks likened to ‘cancer cell’ by former observatory chief

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 September, 2013, 4:15pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 September, 2013, 5:11am

Former Hong Kong observatory director Lam Chiu-ying has likened the idea of building flats in country parks to a cancer cell, something that should never be encouraged.

Lam was responding to the idea floated by Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po in his blog on Sunday that has stirred heated debate in the city, despite the Development Bureau’s clarification that the view did not represent the government’s stance.

Lam said after attending at a radio programme on Tuesday that once Hong Kong started turning even a small piece of land in country parks into land for flats, it would not be easy to stop.

If you give away 100 square feet now, later you will ask for 100 sq ft more
Lam Chiu-ying

“If you give away 100 square feet now, later you will ask for 100 sq ft more,” he said. “Ultimately, it will destroy the original aim of having country parks, which is to enable the public to enjoy nature.”

“Turning country parks into residential flats is something one cannot even think about,” Lam said. “It is a cancer cell of an idea.”

During Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's election campaign last year, Lam was a Leung supporter and even advised him on environmental policy.

The idea floated by the development secretary in his blog contradicts a pledge made by Leung during his election campaign when he said country parks “should be protected from development as far as possible”.


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

There's only 'a couple of words' that I want to hear from Paul Chan: "I resign"
Over his dead body methinks
You know what's the real cancer cell, Mr. Paul Chan, say a couple of words up to "test an idea" and then all hell breaks loose.
Sadly, methinks that CY enjoys a cancerous Hong Kong, because at least it keeps the attention off the terrific job he is doing.
Hmmm. I love the Country Parks too. But let's not be overly sentimental about them either please.

Contrary to Mr Lam's assertion, many Country Parks were not established to 'enable the public to enjoy nature.' Quite a number of them were established to solve the severe droughts Hong Kong experienced in the 1950s and 1960s. The reservoirs we see in many Country Parks, and which a number (Tai Tam, Tai Lam Chung, Shing Mun, Plover Cove etc) of them are named after, were the whole point of many Country Parks. The mainland could not be trusted in those times (60~70s), and Hong Kong needed a secure source of freshwater.

Quite a lot of Country Park area was simply established around the reservoirs to minimise the risk of polluting them, and to allow for land-scaping the surrounding countryside for maximum water collection. You can see this in all the catchwaters and 'slope management' going on constantly in our 'nature.'

These days however, we get over 70% of our water supply from the mainland, and it can be relied upon. Or at least, the 30% we do generate ourselves won't save us anymore if ever the mainland can't be relied upon again in the future.

So... the Country Parks. Yes, let's not touch them if at all possible (and it is possible, see Tom Holland's column today). But let's also not treat them as if they are some holy treasure that we may not even contemplate about perhaps -here and there- making better use of.
Paul Chan himself is like cancer to HK..............get rid of it............


SCMP.com Account