THE $500 million public golf centre in construction at Kau Sai Chau will be scrapped if an objection raised by Friends of the Earth is upheld by the Executive Council. The Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club, which is funding the government scheme, confirmed that if the environmental group's objection was sustained the golf centre would no longer be viable. Friends of the Earth claim that the building of a dam, needed to provide a fresh water reservoir to irrigate the centre's two courses, would be damaging to an area of mangroves. The group is objecting under the Sea Beds and Foreshore Ordinance. The regulations mean that any works planned for sea fronts have to be gazetted allowing for affected parties to register objections. The group's objection has already meant a delay of two months in the essential irrigation section of the golf centre, as the work cannot start until the Executive Council rules on the objection. Exco is yet to fix a date for a ruling. The Friends of the Earth's stand could see the project cancelled. 'Golf courses need irrigation and government policy states that mains water cannot be used. This means a reservoir has to be built,' said Vic Farrington the associate director of Axis Environmental Control, the company which carried out a year-long Environmental Impact Assessment on the project. 'The site chosen is really the only viable one. Another site was looked at on the south of the island but that would have caused disruption to an area of dense woodland,' Mr Farrington said. 'Friends of the Earth seem to be using the technicalities of this legislation to register their objections and they have already caused a significant delay to the project. 'The intent of this legislation was not to allow third party appeals against proposals, but this is what has happened. It may be that the appeal provisions should be tightened.' At the Kau Sai Chau site yesterday, the project manager for the contractors Philip Boothroyd, of Franki Contractors Ltd, confirmed that no work could be done on the dam until an Exco decision. Friends of the Earth maintain that it does not want to see the project scrapped, but the group said that without a written assurance on future environmental issues it would not withdraw the objection. Work on the rest of the centre is continuing with 100 workers on the island moving one million cubic metres of earth.