Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing (centre), Under Secretary for the Environment Christine Loh (right) and Director of Leisure & Cultural Services Betty Fung brief the media on the Ting Kok Coastal Conservation Plan and the Lung Mei Beach project in Tai Po.
The Government is vetting the tender for the Tai Po Lung Mei Beach works project, and expects the beach to be in service by the 2015 swimming season.
Lung Mei Beach set to open by 2015
October 25, 2012
Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing says the Government is now vetting the tender for the Tai Po Lung Mei Beach works project, and expects the beach will be in service by the 2015 swimming season.
Speaking at a press conference today, Mr Tsang noted that the Government will formulate a comprehensive conservation plan to minimise the impact on marine ecology while carrying out the project, saying the Environment Bureau will work out a plan with green groups.
He said green groups had put forward different opinions when the project’s tendering started, and said the Government understood these views were expressed out of care for Hong Kong’s environment as well as a love for nature and biological diversity.
Government departments concerned have studied and discussed the views expressed, including ecological impact, water quality and local demand. He believes development and conservation can co-exist to achieve a ‘win-win’ situation by implementing conservation work at Ting Kok while constructing the beach.
Mr Tsang pointed out that since 2005, the project has gone through all the necessary consultations and procedures, relevant environmental impact assessments and Legislative Council panels, and got LegCo's funding nod in July this year.
Under Secretary for the Environment Christine Loh told the media the recent public attention over Lung Mei has stimulated the Government to enhance ecological protection at the Sites of Special Scientific Interests at Ting Kok East and Ting Kok.
Ms Loh said the Government is announcing a new Ting Kok Coastal Conservation Plan - Ting Kok Plus - which represents a new plan to protect the area's ecology for the long term.
The Environment Bureau will lead an inter-bureaux and departmental process to work out implementation details, and engage interested people and groups who can share their views and expertise. This process will begin immediately, she added.
Ms Loh said the aim is to create an improved ecological protection plan for the Sites of Special Scientific Interests and Ting Kok area in Shuen Wan Hoi; to better plan public accessibility to coastal areas for both public enjoyment and conservation; to devise a plan to clean up the coastal area's degraded and damaged parts to enhance public enjoyment; and to closely monitor and report on Shuen Wan Hoi's water quality to ensure the new sewerage system will effectively improve it.
The bureau will organise a meeting with interested parties to work on the improved ecological protection plan within this year, she added.
Director of Leisure & Cultural Services Betty Fung said there has been great demand for beach facilities in Hong Kong, noting there were a total of 11 million of beach goers for the 41 gazetted beaches in 2011, compared to 950,000 public swimming pool users.
About 1.25 million people live in Tai Po, Sha Tin and North District, where there are no nearby beach facilities. The Tai Po District Council formally put forward the proposal in 2000.