A new plan by the developer of the Baroque on Lamma residential project to create a 'conservation corridor' on low-value agricultural land while pressing ahead with its villas on eco-sensitive areas has been labelled unrealistic by a green group.
The marina and luxury residential project proposed for Tung O Wan - which was turned down by government officials last year - has been resurrected, with the latest proposal submitted to the Environmental Protection Department and the Town Planning Board.
The project is controversial because a large part of the site is zoned as conservation area. It is close to a restricted breach at Sham Wan, a nesting ground for the endangered green turtle. The woodland is the habitat of an endangered tree frog, and nearby waters are home to the Chinese white dolphin and finless porpoise.
According to information released by the Environmental Protection Department yesterday, a consultant for the developer said a construction method that did not use dredging would be used for a 1,200-metre breakwater at the marina to reduce disturbance to marine life.
The consultant proposed two conservation corridors, one near Sham Wan beach and another along a wooded agricultural zone, to protect the animals and plants. But the key elements of the development - 156 villas and a spa hotel - would be on sites zoned as 'coastal protection area' and 'conservation area'.
Conservancy Association campaign manager Peter Li Siu-man said the project was fundamentally unsuitable for Lamma, and the existing zonings were intended to protect the island's environment.
'Like many projects, this may just be the developer's first try,' Li said. 'The first few schemes are always the most ambitious. It could scale down the development in future and give the impression that it has compromised and then ask for support.'
The consultant said vegetation and material would be cleared from hillsides for site formation.
The project is a joint venture between Agile Property Holdings, a Hong Kong-listed company focusing on mainland real estate, and local company King Wong Development.
The initial proposal last year was rejected by the Development Opportunities Office, which facilitates private proposals deemed worthwhile. The office said the residential density was too high and expressed concern about the project's ecological impact. The new proposal has lowered the building height to four storeys.