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  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 10:05am
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ENVIRONMENT

Hundreds hike at Tai Tam Country Park to oppose development

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 September, 2013, 4:53am

About 1,000 people joined a protest hike in Tai Tam Country Park yesterday to oppose developing country parks into housing sites after the government floated the idea earlier this month.

Former Observatory director Lam Chiu-ying was among the hikers at the walk organised by Save Our Country Parks, an alliance of 20 green groups.

Lam warned that if country park land were used to build flats, Hongkongers would face a lack of drinking water.

"Country parks are basically an extension of the reservoirs' water catchment areas," he said. "The water catchment areas are so big because they provide Hongkongers with drinking water … If these areas are used to build houses instead, then Hongkongers can all drink seawater."

Lam's remarks yesterday were a sharp rebuke to Real Estate Developers Association vice-president Gordon Wu Ying-sheung, who on Saturday said maintaining the current ratio of country park land was "impractical and stupid".

"I think Wu has forgotten that humans have to drink water," he said, reiterating that alternatives such as using damaged rural land and the fringes of new towns should be exhausted before considering developing country parks to meet housing demand.

Country parks account for 40 per cent of Hong Kong's land. Property tycoons, including Henderson Land's Lee Shau-kee, have voiced support for using part of that land to satisfy residential needs after development chief Paul Chan Mo-po raised the issue on his blog on September 8.

But the controversial idea drew criticism from many Hongkongers. "There is no valid reason behind the discussion. If the decision to develop country park land is made, it will exploit the rights of our next generations to visit country parks," said hiker Miranda Yip. A South China Morning Post reporter at the march estimated 1,000 people attended.

A Development Bureau spokeswoman did not comment on the event.

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This article is now closed to comments

johnyuan
Calling people stupid is an unrefined behavior but Wu thinks it is imperative to do so. He probably couldn’t understand why people wouldn’t love money which can be made from eliminating the country parks. He most likely still holding on a refugee culture struggling to prove to everyone his survival skill by making money anyway he can. But Wu, by training he is a civil engineer and I expect him to be capable to understanding why those people have marched.
SpeakFreely
My question simply how Singapore did that ( use some of its parks) but with cleaner air, more golf courses and double the living space of avg HK people, and apparently no drinking water problem.
SpeakFreely
Only 5% of Singapore land was set aside as nature reserve: "Singapore consists of 63 islands, including the main island, widely known as Singapore Island but also as Pulau Ujong.[41] There are two man-made connections to Johor, Malaysia: the Johor–Singapore Causeway in the north, and the Tuas Second Link in the west. Jurong Island, Pulau Tekong, Pulau Ubin and Sentosa are the largest of Singapore's smaller islands. The highest natural point is Bukit Timah Hill at 166 m (545 ft).[42]
There are ongoing land reclamation projects, which have increased Singapore's land area from 581.5 km2 (224.5 sq mi) in the 1960s to 704 km2 (272 sq mi) today; it may grow by another 100 km2 (40 sq mi) by 2030.[43] Some projects involve merging smaller islands through land reclamation to form larger, more functional islands, as with Jurong Island.[44] 5% of Singapore's land is set aside as nature reserves.[45] Urbanisation has eliminated most primary rainforest on the main island, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve being the only significant remaining forest.[44] There are only about 250 acres of farmland remaining in Singapore.[46]"
caractacus
It isn't a refugee culture, the real enemies of our Country Parks are GREED and CORRUPTION.

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