1. Home
  2. >
  3. Environment
  4. >
  5. Ecological Hotspots Survey

Uncovering Illegal development at Pak Lap (21 Jun 2011)


Sai Kung is the back garden of Hong Kong. Pak Lap, situated in the south of Sai Kung East Country Park, has a century-old fung shui wood that is home to a variety of flora and fauna. Pak Lak Wan, with fine sand and clear water, is known as "Maldives of Hong Kong". In September last year, after a private developer damaged Tai Long Sai Wan, the government announced the Development Permission Area Plan (DPA) for various rural sites, including Pak Lap, to prevent un-coordinated development in these areas.

At the end of last year, Green Power, together with Friends of Sai Kung and the Eco-education & Resources Centre, carried out surveys in 28 country park enclaves outside the country park areas in Sai Kung, to assess ecological value and developmental threats. After several field surveys, we found that the natural environment of Pak Lap had been damaged. A dam and water pipes were built along a natural stream that runs over government land, completely modifying the original direction of stream flow. An artificial pond was also built.

In addition, many trees had been felled, over an area of 6,800 square metres. In April of this year, surveyors witnessed excavation trucks and works vehicles leaving the site via the country park’s Pak Lap Wan beach. They were loaded onto a large barge anchored in the bay.

Uncovering Illegal development at Pak Lap Sai Kung is the back garden of Hong Kong. Pak Lap, situated in the south of Sai Kung East Country Park, has a century-old fung shui wood that is home to a variety of flora and fauna. Pak Lak Wan, with fine sand and clear water, is known as "Maldives of Hong Kong". In September last year, after a private developer damaged Tai Long Sai Wan, the government announced the Development Permission Area Plan (DPA) for various rural sites, including Pak Lap, to prevent un-coordinated development in these areas. At the end of last year, Green Power, together with Friends of Sai Kung and the Eco-education & Resources Centre, carried out surveys in 28 country park enclaves outside the country park areas in Sai Kung, to assess ecological value and developmental threats. After several field surveys, we found that the natural environment of Pak Lap had been damaged. A dam and water pipes were built along a natural stream that runs over government land, completely modifying the original direction of stream flow. An artificial pond was also built. In addition, many trees had been felled, over an area of 6,800 square metres. In April of this year, surveyors witnessed excavation trucks and works vehicles leaving the site via the country park’s Pak Lap Wan beach. They were loaded onto a large barge anchored in the bay. Comparing the aerial photos of Pak Lap in different years, it was discovered that before the DPA was released, a developer had already felled trees in the wood and dug the pond. As the damage was done before the DPA was released, the government may take the aerial photo in September last year as the basis for "original" landuse. It is ironic that the illegal damage and development would thus be officially considered "original" landuse. The law cannot help restore the landuse before the damage. This exercise of including country park enclaves in the DPA without retroactive effect becomes an accomplice to environmental damage. It provides limited help in conserving ecologically valuable enclaves.

In fact, many village houses have been built in Pak Lap Village in recent years. It is even suspected that a road has been illegally constructed within the country park area to reach those newly built houses. After the damage at Pak Lap was exposed, an application was immediately submitted for building houses at the site. To avoid further damage to the natural environment of Pak Lap, and to stop attempts to "Damage first, Build later", we wrote to Town Planning Board to oppose the building application. We hope to prevent the house building project eventually becoming commercial and recreational development.

Image
Image
Image

Subscribe