The destruction of the Plover Cove Country Park approved by the Town Planning Board
The minutes of the Town Planning Board meeting of 9 August 2013 show that it approved the publication of the Outline Zoning Plan for So Lo Pun with an area for 135 small houses. The Country and Marine Parks Authority – the Director of the Agriculture and Fisheries Department – failed to object to small house developments in So Lo Pun, and failed to stop the invasion of small houses in the Plover Cove Country Park.
So Lo Pun is an abandoned village on the outer edge of the Plover Cove Country Park without road access or sewerage, in an area with a sensitive ecology. Find out more about Plover Cove Country Park at the Government’s own website.
There are no outstanding Small House applications for So Lo Pun as land owners have no interest in living there. But keen to profit from development rights villagers rallied together protesting against conservation with banners throughout the Plover Cove Country Park.
They wrote letters to the Town Planning Board claiming they would return to the village in the future. The village representative estimated an entirely unverifiable 10-year forecast demand of 270 small houses, and an even larger v-zone was included.
So Lo Pun is the first of seven new enclaves to be zoned for small house developments in the Plover Cove Country Park. The future spread of the small house cancer can be seen from the locations of the enclaves. Demands for roads to support the developments are already being made. The Outline Zoning Plan allows for such public works and infrastructure. The environmental impact of the cumulative house and infrastructure developments permitted in So Lo Pun and Plover Cove Country Park as a whole has NOT been assessed before granting approvals.
The existing enclave Wu Kau Tang (Marked B in blue on the map) shows how the environment will degrade under the Small House Policy. With the failure of the Planning Department and the AFCD to stand up to the Lands Department and the Heung Yee Kuk, the small house cancer will be allowed to destroy the Plover Cover Country Park.
|The community should reconsider its options. These enclaves of private land can be included in the Country Park, with compensation reflecting the agricultural purpose of the block Government leases. Up-zoning these areas for village house development first will increase the public cost for resumption and compensation. Alternatively, compensation might be considered by means of land exchange to villagers/land owners when their private land is zoned for conservation. Either way, it is not too late for the public to stand up against the small house destruction.