The battle for country parks is not yet won
Afforestation was an urgent task after the war. The Colony was almost entirely deforested. As vegetation became denser the need to arrest fires and litter grew. So also did the voices for nature conservation, public education and recreation in the forests.
The call to establish a ‘national parks’ scheme was answered by colonial governor Murray MacLehose in 1974, with one newspaper reporting the installation of ‘150 tables for picnickers, 135 benches, 110 barbecue pits and 600 litter bins.’ The Country Parks Ordinance was enacted in 1976 and the Country Parks Regulations in 1977. MacLehose was in a hurry: ‘In four years’ time, there will be about 20 parks covering all the open countryside.’
To expedite the designation, some 77 enclaves of private land inside the parks were excluded from the legislation. Most elderly continued subsistence farming in these small and remote villages for some years while their offspring left for factories in Kwun Tong and Tsuen Wan or went overseas.
Access was mostly on foot or by sampan. The few accessible villages close to Sai Kung developed with small houses under the 1972 policy. They became a popular choice for expats including retirees and pilots (before Kai Tak closed). Fast forward, in 1992 the Sha Lo Tung judicial review stopped a golf course development in this enclave famous for butterfly colonies. A six-year long campaign started in 2000 to hold off the creation of a zone for 370 houses at the Tai Long Wan beach enclave.
Sporadic unauthorised development at enclaves culminated in condemnation when the government failed to act on extensive land clearing behind the beach of Tai Long Sai Wan in the summer of 2010. The public demanded protection of the country parks and strengthening of development control. Recognising the enclaves as part of the country parks would put development under the strict Country Park Regulations Ordinance. Land owners, egged on by the Heung Yee Kuk, objected aggressively.
In 2014, the Government excluded their own advisors, the Country and Marine Parks Board, from its decision not to incorporate the village enclaves Hoi Ha, Pak Lap, So Lo Pun, To Kwa Peng, Pak Tam Au and Tin Fu Tsai into Country Parks.
Government did not go further than zoning the enclaves under the Town Planning Ordinance. This offers minimal protection. It does not provide for management or adequate enforcement powers.
On 12 October this year, the Court of Final Appeal ruled otherwise – the Save Our Country Parks Alliance won. The Government is ordered to go back to the Country and Marine Parks Board. Question is now – will they stop the rot and take control over the enclaves? The battle to protect our country parks has yet to be won.
(Based on ‘The battle for country parks is not yet won’ by Paul Zimmerman published in Southside Magazine, 1 November 2020)
1974 年，時任港督麥理浩回應訴求，設立類似「國家公園」的規劃大綱，同期亦有報章報導在郊野公園為行山客安裝 150 張枱、135 長櫈、110 個燒烤爐及 600 個垃圾桶的消息。郊野公園條例及郊野公園規例分別在 1976 年及 1977 年通過立法，而麥對此顯然感到不足，並指出在四年內將會有約20個郊野公園遍布郊區。
為加快立法進度，約 77 個位於郊野公園範圍內，屬私人擁有的「不包括土地」獲得豁免。這些土地擁有者中多為長者，他們把這些土地發展成村落並繼續耕作，其子嗣則選擇到城市的工廠尋找工作機會，或到海外發展。這些村落大多只能步行前往，或以舢舨進入。其中小數如西貢等則因 1972 年的政策發展成丁屋群，在啟德停用前，它們是外籍退休人士及機師的熱門居住地方。
1992 年的沙螺洞司法覆核案阻止在這個蝴蝶棲息地興建高爾夫球場，在 2000 年開展的長達六年的抗爭亦成功否決在大浪灣沙灘周邊的「不包括土地」興建 370 間房屋的計劃。然而，2010 年夏天，政府對大浪西灣沙灘後方的土地清理行為視而不見，零星的違例發展達至高峰。社會大眾要求保護郊野公園，並進一步管制發展開發行為，其一方向就是藉把「不包括土地」納入郊野公園範圍，實施嚴格的發展要求限制。作為地主之一，視鄉郊土地為金蛋的鄉議局，想當然作出強烈反對。
今年 10 月 12 日，終審法院判決保衛郊野公園大聯盟勝訴，政府需回到郊野公園及海岸公園委員會重新審視決定。問題是，政府會否下定決心奪回「不包括土地」的掌控權？保護郊野公園的抗爭尚未成功，同志們仍須努力。
First Joint Motion Passed in 4 DC: Hong Kong Island Coastal Trail
Four district council representatives, Paul Zimmerman, Michael Pang Cheuk-kei ( Southern District Council), Cherry Wong Kin-ching, Sam YIP Kam-lung (Central and Western District Council), Clarisse Yeung Suet-ying, Cathy Yau Man-shan (Wanchai District Council) and Kelly Chan Po-king, Andrew Chiu Ka-yin, Cheung tat-hung and Wei Siu-lik (Eastern District Council) gathered at the Aldrich Bay Promenade today (7 Nov) to urge for collaboration between District Councils, NGOs and Government to implement the “Hong Kong Island Coastal Trail”.
Hong Kong Island Coastal Trail – 65km trail with over 70 points of interest
The joint motion adopted unanimously in the four district councils of Hong Kong Island urges government to link existing promenades, footpaths and trails into a 65-kilometre long Hong Kong Island Coastal Trail.
The route covers over seventy points of interest including historic and tourist sites, beaches and waterfronts, urban and nature trails. The trail offers easy access for residents and visitors of all ages and abilities. Many will be attracted to explore sections, while others may try to complete the route in one day. Hong Kong Island Coastal Trail will encourage more people to walk improving public health and enjoyment of the city. For more details see: www.coastaltrail.hk
First ever joint motion by District Councils
The greater length of the route is in place. However, some missing links and improvements are needed.
Some of the improvements overlap district boundaries. This first ever joint motion gained support across all councils, and across all political backgrounds. With coordination by the Home Affairs Bureau of the relevant departments the trail can be completed and enhanced with coherent signage, seats, water-fountains and a pet-friendly policy.
The trail is a bottom-up policy initiative and responds to proposals from members of the public. A recent online survey shows that 80% of 1,200 respondents support the improvements proposed to create a coherent trail around the island as close as possible to the waterfront. Many respondents offered valuable suggestions to enhance the appeal of the route for residents and visitors.
The District Councils will work to encourage government to provide the resources, funding and coordination required to implement the Hong Kong Island Coastal Trail. In the meantime, we welcome suggestions, proposals, photos and stories from the community for the different sections. In the long term, we will work on a route for cyclists, and develop concepts for other trails to be enhanced for public enjoyment. We will also help other district councils with development of trails in other areas including a Tsing Yi Coastal Trail, a Kowloon Victoria Harbour Route and a North District Ecological Trail.
Need your support
To support our research and advocacy work, please make donations.
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Ms Cindy Li ([email protected] )
四區區議會代表，包括司馬文、 彭卓棋 （南區區議會代表）、黃健菁、 葉錦龍 （中西區區議會代表）、 楊雪盈 、邱汶珊 （灣仔區議會代表）和陳寶琼、 趙家賢 、 鄭達鴻 、韋少力 （東區區議會代表）於今日11月7日在愛秩序灣海濱（近東區法院大樓）倡議更多跨區議會、跨政府部門及與不同民間機構的合作機會，改善社區，完善港島環島徑。
你亦可以參與更多！告訴我們你對港島環島徑的意見，我們樂意聽取你分享沿途的風光和故事。如有任何相關的相片，請電郵至 [email protected]
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李穎妍小姐 ([email protected])
The shortfall of public seating is obvious at bus stops where people place their own plastic chairs. People having their meal while sitting on the ground during the Covid-19 dining-in ban was another stark reminder. More public seats will make our city friendlier, more sustainable and healthier. Especially elderly will be able to walk further and forego a vehicular trip if they know there is a place to rest.
In 2015, Designing Hong Kong (DHK) campaigned for more seating . Of the 3,000 covered bus stops only 200 had seats. Most of the uncovered bus and minibus stops have no seats at all. In response, Government earmarked $88.27 million in the 2016 Policy Address for bus companies to install seats at about 2,600 covered bus stops and real-time bus arrival information display panels at about 1,300 bus stops.
However, the progress is slow. You will notice the orange seats only at a few bus stops. The program should have been completed by 2019 . The amount disbursed so far to bus companies is about $10.4 million. Currently, seats have been installed only at 1,670 covered stops and display panels at 430 due to site, geographical and electricity supply constraints. Location details can be found here (Scroll to 2017).
It is time to review the subsidy scheme: How do we get more seats? Should we relax the requirements? Should we rethink the designs? We propose that District Councils urge Government to enhance, expand and speed up the program for the installation of seats.
Where do you want / need more seats?
Where do you want / need seats to be added in your constituency? Which bus stops and transport interchanges? Which harbourfronts? Which streets? Which public venues? Let us know: [email protected] We will create a “Missing Seats Report” and push government for funding more public seats.
Southern District Uses District Minor Works for more seats
In the Southern District, we are now pursuing the installation of moveable benches. Seats with a cover require an underground foundation. Moving underground utilities can cause long delays.
For further input and ideas, please contact us at [email protected]
2015年，創建香港倡議增設公共座椅。全港有8,000多個巴士站，有蓋巴士站佔有3,000 個， 當中僅200個有座椅。大部份露天巴士站和小巴站均沒有座椅。為此，政府在2016年《施政报告》中預留了8,827萬港元，讓巴士公司在約2,600個有蓋巴士站安裝座椅，並在約1,300個巴士站安裝實時到站資訊顯示屏。
其他的意見和建議，請聯絡 [email protected]
With jobless numbers rapidly rising, there is an urgent need for Hong Kong’s district councillors to focus on the economies of their constituencies.
地區經濟：18區機構數目及就業人數 Jobs and Establishments in 19 Districts (2019年數據 Data in 2019 )
Published Date 出版日期: 30/10/2020
Pages 頁數: 60
This video briefly explains the booklet and how the information can be used to identify new growth opportunities, taking Southern District as an example.
Paul Zimmerman: ‘… recycling materials are not high value but they are high cost once they get into the waste system. The landfills are full. Do we need new landfill? If yes, then where is the land? Is it going to be country parks? People don’t realize waste charging has lots of implications …’
Support waste charging and improve municipal solid waste management
Please join our Petition: https://www.supporthk.org/?petition=lets-improve-our-municipal-solid-waste-management&lang=en
We urge the Government to consider the suggested key actions in 2020 Policy Address with the aims of improving and support the municipal solid waste management and recycling in Hong Kong.
Please sign our petition so we can reduce the volume of daily disposal of garbage.
1. 應用策略於每種香港都市固體廢物 (立法會資料研究組，2019年): 廚餘 (34％)、廢紙 (24％)、塑膠垃圾 (20％) 和其他垃圾 (23％)；
2. 應用「污者自付」、「源頭分類」 和 「生產者責任計劃」三大政策工具及理念，以解決都市固體廢物問題；
3. 每年撥款約8 至10 億元支持本地回收業，推動不同的減廢及回收措施；
Let’s approve municipal solid waste charging
Waste Levy, Source Separation, Recycling – 3 elements, not one less
DC/LC member petition: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdfolxAs44alWP0_dRCEAg_HS9gLB5s9MJA_sMXHDLqYr0LkA/viewform
In 2013, the government set the goal of ‘reducing the volume of daily disposal of garbage per capita to 0.8 kg in 2022’. Yet, per capita daily disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW) continues to increase every year. A record high of 1.53kg was reached in 2018. Under the current programs, recycling fails to improve. For example the export recycling rate of PET bottles fell from 8.5% (2016) to 0.23% (2018). Our three strategic landfills are under pressure and are about to saturate this decade. If nothing more is done to reduce MSW, we may have to explore new sites for incinerators or landfills. This would likely impact our country parks. Once the landfills are full, it will be politically difficult to stop this from happening.
The MSW Bill enabling charging is the linchpin in government’s waste policy and projects. Waste levies are important in promoting source separation of domestic waste and the successful expansion of our recycling capacity. Without waste charging, the separation and reduction of waste and the recovery of useful materials for recycling will fail. Hong Kong’s waste reduction management is already lagging behind other jurisdictions. Many policy initiatives have turned into broken promises. The delay of the waste charging bill will make it ever more difficult to achieve high levels of recycling. If the Bill is not dealt with within this term of government, the Bill will be delayed by 3-5 years. This unacceptable.
Improving Hong Kong’s municipal solid waste management requires key actions in the Policy Address:
- Strategies to address all types of municipal solid waste in Hong Kong (LegCo research paper, 2019): food waste (34%), paper waste (24%), plastic waste (20%) and others (23%);
- Reconfirm the principles: Polluters Pay, Source Separation of Waste, and Producers’ Responsibility;
- Allocate HKD 800-1000 million for waste reduction and recycling; and
- Apply the funds generated from waste charging in support of the recycling industry.
Implement legislation, regulations and infrastructure in support of recycling and waste management:
- Extend the collection network of food waste collection across 18 districts, to all FEHD Refuse Collection Point and public housing estates;
- Allocate resources and financial incentives for maintenance and contractor staff training for food waste collection in all private housing estates;
- Invest in food waste technology and create more jobs in recycling industry, e.g. logistic and technical support for food waste collection services;
- Educate the public on waste reduction and separation of food waste.
Plastic waste recycling
- Extend the pilot schemes of plastic collection to all 18 districts to provide convenience to the public;
- Implement the producer responsibility system for beverage (disposable) containers;
- Retrofit and expand public water dispensers for hygienic and COVID-proof bottle refilling;
- Regulate disposable tableware;
- Regulation of excessive packaging of food products;
- Ban the use of styrofoam and microplastic in personal care products
We conducted a public opinion survey between September 28th to October 6th regarding the captioned application. 143 people submitted their responses.
The majority of the respondents objected expressing concerns over the relaxation of building height restrictions, deteriorating air ventilation, urban heat island effect, daylight access and visual intrusion.
By Friday Oct 9, please submit your comments to Town Planning Board at https://www.info.gov.hk/tpb/tc/plan_application/A_K20_133.html
擬議辦公室、商業及零售發展並放寬建築物高度限制 (申請編號: A/K20/133)
- 62.94% of the respondents objected to the reflective exterior glass surface as it creates a glare which impairs the enjoyment of neighboring residents including particularly The Waterfront and The Austin. The glare may also impact nearby traffic. Solar reflections also raise temperatures and may impact vegetation nearby. Concerns were expressed over energy consumption for air-conditioning. The design is deemed does not match with the surrounding buildings.
- 71.33% of respondents are concerned over traffic impacts along Nga Cheung Road, Jordan Road and Canton Road. The proposed scheme proposed no less than 550 parking spaces for private cars. With the increase in parking spaces here and the car park at To Wah Road together with other developments in the area as well as new road connections such as the Central Kowloon Route, it is unclear whether the traffic burden exceeds capacity. Traffic congestion (and associated blaring of car horns) is experienced often in the area including along Jordan Road.
- 70.63% of respondents are concerned over the relaxation of building heights and the close distance between The Waterfront and XRL topside development. Such building structure would disturb daylight access, visual quality and air ventilation to inner area in Jordan.
- 76.22% of people object to relaxing height limit as this will set a bad precedent for nearby sites including future buildings at the WKCD. This application will set a precedent for others to change height restrictions. Respondents wonder if there is any justification of relaxing height limit after developers won bids for a site. Moreover, there is no compensation for the losses suffered by nearby residents. The gain would be simply for the developer at the cost of the neighbours.
- Although it is claimed that the proposed design has better air ventilation than the original scheme, 71.33% of respondents are concerned over the impact of having less fresh air and that pollutants residue in the community. It must be noted that the developer has failed to meet and consult the neighbours on the proposed plans.
- 49.65% of the respondents are worried over food and beverage related noise control at site, and the absence of clear operating guidelines on the use of facilities and time control of activities at the catering and commercial facilities (64.34%).
- 81.82% of the respondents are concerning over delivery of the promised public space. The promised public spaces are absent from the land lease conditions and may not be delivered. As seen throughout Hong Kong, what is promised in terms of public gains including public space, accessibility, public recreation, alfresco dining, etc, fails to be delivered. What controls will be applied by the Town Planning Board to ensure promised made are delivered?
- 86.71% of the respondents are upset with the lack of consultation and the failure to present and discuss the plans with nearby residents. Residents received insufficient information regarding the revised plans. Public consultation should have been conducted to provide clear information and to gain a better understanding. Moreover, the developer should introduce and discuss the proposal with the District Council before the deadline for comments under the Town Planning Ordinance for the captioned application.
- In the survey conducted, there is a demand for assessment of sustainability performance in terms of creating a ‘public realm’ which delivers a holistic and positive impact for occupants and neighbours. Reference is made to HKGBC BEAM Plus Neighborhood. More than 70% of respondents suggest civic spaces to be used by non-profit organizations for community activities (76.92%), promoting gender equality by introducing ‘Gender Mainstreaming checklist’ into the design and construction of the development (70.63%), and by adopting pet-friendly (78.32%) and bicycle-friendly measures (77.62%) for the site as well as the connections with the West Kowloon Cultural District to Jordan, Yau Ma Tei and Tai Kwok Tsui.
- 93.01% of respondents support environmental protection initiatives, such as energy saving, water use and reuse, using recyclable building materials, installing waste management and treatment facilities, etc. To implement initiatives to improve energy efficiency, environmental performance and achieving Government’s energy saving plan by 2025, all new development should have set goal to achieve HKGBC Beam Plus.
Designing Hong Kong and a few Yau Tsim Mong District Council members would like to collect your views on the topside development on XRL.
Sun Hung Kai Properties submitted a re-application of building’s design and structure (Application No. A/K20/133) under section 12 (a) of the Town Planning Ordinance. If you have any concerns, please take this chance to comment to the Town Planning Board by Oct 9th. Your views may improve the final design of the development.
Click here for the submission to Town Planning Board (deadline on Oct 09)
Click here for Designing Hong Kong public consultation
Click here for Proposed Topside Development by Masterplan Limited
Click here for Paper of the proposed Topside Development
For enquiry, please contact us at [email protected]
新鴻基地產根據《城市規劃條例》第12（a）條提交了建築物的設計和結構的申請（申請編號A / K20 / 133）。請在10月9日之前向城市規劃委員會發表意見，或加入條件限制。你的意見可能會影響最終建築設計，從而改善社區發展。
Thank you those who participated in our online survey!
A public opinion survey was conducted from 18-20 September 2020. More than 70% of the 813 respondents objected to steel railings and preferred a simple concrete bridge. 103 local Shek O residents voted, with 70 objecting to steel railings. Overall, only 21.3% of the respondents supported steel railing designs (option #2 or #3). However, 138 people offered suggestions explaining that they preferred:
- A design which blends in better with the natural environment by using a granite stone finishing or softening the blue colour;
- Widen the bridge and approach paths, and add space for safe gathering, photo taking;
- Enable any water to run off quickly and ensure a non-slippery bridge deck;
- Soft solar lights/ LED lights to ignite during nights;
- Improved signage about the bridge could be considered.
- Enable people to put ‘lover locks’
- Heart shape openings in the structure
- Photo spots / observation areas (bridge is too narrow for photo taking)
- Seating, shade and washroom in the vicinity
- LED lighting to make it photogenic at night
- Dim solar lights along the bridge and path
- Railings to assist elderly to walk to and from the bridge
- Graffiti wall
- Signage with information about the history of ‘Shek O lovers’ bridge
- A coin operated telescope
Other proposed options:
4. 選擇柔和的太陽能燈/ LED燈在夜間點亮；