The historic fishing village of Tai O - the oldest of the few remaining in Hong Kong - will receive a face-lift after a funding request by the Housing, Planning and Lands Bureau was approved by legislators yesterday. It is estimated the renovations will cost $287.5 million and create 130 jobs. Construction work will commence next month and be completed in August 2005. It follows a fire in the seaside village in July 2000 that razed a third of its 270 stilt homes. As part of the government's revitalisation strategy for Tai O - the result of four years' consultation by planners - a boat anchorage will be built to provide a sheltered basin for fishing vessels, together with a promenade and steps nearby. The four-hectare area will provide a sheltered basin for about 110 fishing boats. To redress the loss of mangroves due to the construction of Chek Lap Kok airport and other developments in north Lantau, an area of about seven hectares will be set aside for replanting. A small area will be used to build a bus terminus adjacent to Tai O Road. Tai O Rural Committee chairman Lee Chi-fung, who is one of the proponents of the plan, said the area's economy would be greatly improved by the development. 'We hope Tai O can be developed into a true fishing port, and we don't want to continue having a slack economy,' Mr Lee said, adding that tourism would be boosted by an anticipated rise in the flow of people and transport. But not everybody is impressed by the project, with some saying it will destroy the fishing village's tranquility and characteristics. Wong Wai-king, a local resident and vice-chairman of Tai O Culture Workshop - a group that promotes the fishing village to visitors - said she had lobbied the government in vain over the past two years to halt the project. 'Not only Hong Kong's heritage will be lost, its scenery will be changed,' Ms Wong said, adding that the area would become less attractive to tourists who treasured such tranquility. Lister Cheung Lai-ping, deputy chief executive of the Conservancy Association, said many people wrongly backed such projects in the belief that they would boost tourism and revitalise the local economy. 'They have to respect a place's history . . . they should not think that every place should be designed to cater for mass tours. Some tourists demand alternative travelling,' Ms Cheung said. Non-affiliated legislator Ng Leung-sing, deputy chairman of Legco's Finance Committee, said there often were concerns about such projects. 'The most important thing is how to maintain its original attractions when making the designs,' Mr Ng said. The government has estimated an extra 150,000 tourists a year will be lured to Tai O.