• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 4:32pm
NewsHong Kong

If Hong Kong country parks are built up, go to mainland for leisure, government adviser suggests

Surveyor Kaizer Lau stokes debate by suggesting Hongkongers cross border to escape city life

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 February, 2014, 11:35am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 February, 2014, 4:45pm

The mainland is an alternative to country parks as a place for Hongkongers to relieve the stress of city life, a government adviser said amid debate on developing housing in some parks.

Locals should "never say never" to the idea of using country park land to build homes, said Kaizer Lau Ping-cheung, a member of the new committee advising the government on developing Lantau Island. Fellow committee member Franklin Lam Fan-keung suggested building in Lantau's parks on Sunday.

Discussion continued on an RTHK phone-in show yesterday, involving Lau, a surveyor and former lawmaker, and former Observatory chief Lam Chiu-ying.

When a caller asked Lau where locals could find space to relieve the pressures of city life if country parks were developed, he responded: "Hongkongers are free to travel to the mainland.

"Since the mainland opened up more than 30 years ago, many locals from the middle and lower classes have crossed the border for leisure, to visit relatives, to invest and conduct business or to send their children to school. Therefore, I am not too worried in this regard."

Lam Chiu-ying disagreed, saying country parks should not be built on. Instead, he proposed residential developments of 20 to 30 storeys be built in place of low-rise homes in the New Territories.

The idea of developing country park land has been debated since it was floated by Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po in his blog in September, "in the face of a shortage of land supply and a big housing demand".

Green Sense president Roy Tam Hoi-pong, also convenor of a concern group on population policy, criticised Lau for failing to understand public sentiment.

"He shouldn't impose his own view on all Hongkongers," Tam said. "Locals are already seriously disturbed by the influx of mainland visitors on a daily basis, largely because of cultural differences. I don't think they want to be surrounded by more mainlanders when they want to relax."

He said the city's country parks allowed for convenient one-day visits. "You can enjoy it in the day and return home at the end of the day."

Lau and Franklin Lam were too keen on integrating the city with mainland development despite resistance from Hongkongers, Tam said.



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This article is now closed to comments

So let me get this straight. I need to get on a bus or a train to a border crossing. Queue to get across the border and then find a bus or a train to take me to a "country park" in China? And these country parks would be beyond Shenzhen, Donguan, Foshan and Guangzhou would they? A journey of some 3-4 hours at a guess. I've spent a bit of time Hashing from GZ, and whilst there is some cool countryside to explore, it's not exactly convenient to get to. This dude is a dip***t. I would love to know the last time any of these government officials have been out hiking/picnicking/camping in the countryside here.
Lau Ping-cheung was floating the next step in govt. rationale for the destruction of our country parks to see what the reaction would be. The fact that a person who would express such an outrageous idea is in a position of authority regarding the fate of Lantau, is shocking, utterly shocking.
I think we should certainly say 'never'. And keep saying it. Once it's gone, it's gone forever. These people are out of control and need to be reined in. Where are the voices of reason and conservation in this government?
Lau Ping-cheung is free to resign after making such an absurd comment, and after that be prepared to be slapped on his face!
As if HK hasn't enough concrete jungle as it stands now! I'm all for destroying buildings and adding more parks instead!
Has this guy had his medicine yet?? I fink not~
John Adams
This probably THE most idiotic proposal I have ever heard in over 30 years living in HK.
I am very familiar with the Mainland, having traveled there to work 5 days / week for 25 years, and I know only too well that crossing the border to go anywhere is a pain in the neck and a r s e (not to mention the pocket) , besides taking AGES.
The idea that I take off for a day's hiking or a BBQ with my kids to some place across the border is about as impractical as saying I should go to the moon for the day.
MEANWHILE ... back on Lantau, although I can easily get from Central or Kowloon to Tung Chung on the MTR , can I catch a morning bus to North Lantau ? H e l l NO because of the huge crowds of mainland tourists all going to Tai O. And as to getting back from Tai O to Tung Chung on a weekend afternoon by bus - forget it . The queues are often several hundred long. Quicker to walk along the coastal path to Tung Chung.
Seems this idiot Kaizer Lau is hand in hand with fellow idiot Greg So. They both want to send HK-er's to the Mainland to make space for for Mainland tourists in HK !
Lau Ping-cheung is free to resign after making such an absurd comment. He can retire to the mainland.
In the interest of balance, should there not be a Lantau Protection Advisory Committee?
This sums up the p i s s poor quality of the ignorant, arrogant people appointed by our Chief Executive who has dishonourably broken his election manifesto and policy address promises to protect the Country Parks. He is handing our places of natural beauty over to the property developers and their friends, including the organised crime syndicates of the New Territories, as reward for the dirty political deals they have done to support the Government.
Sign the petition at www.countryparks.hk
It saddens me that government appointed 'advisors' have and express such a narrow point of view. Quality of life consists of more than just housing and property development. People will not consider to go to the mainland for leisure - they will relocate entirely. The resulting exodus of talented people to e.g. Singapore will further impact the economic development of Hong Kong.



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