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Advisory Council on the Environment

SOUTH LANTAU AND MUI WO DEVELOPMENT - FEASIBILITY STUDY

(ACE Paper 45/2001)
For discussion

PURPOSE

This paper is to consult Members on the objective and scope of the South Lantau and Mui Wo Development - Feasibility Study (the Study) and the stages of public consultation prior to finalization of the Study Brief and employment of consultants to undertake the Study.

STUDY BACKGROUND

Mui Wo is the largest rural township in Lantau, serving as a district centre for local residents as well as a gateway to South Lantau. At present, the population in Mui Wo is about 5,100. With improved accessibility brought by the transport infrastructure in North Lantau, widening of Tung Chung Road and upgrading of transport facilities, in particular ferry service, there may be scope for some further growth in this area, particularly recreation/tourism and residential developments. On the other hand, the improvement in accessibility is also likely to increase pressure for development in the area.

The natural landscape and scenic spots in South Lantau are the main tourist attractions in Lantau. Conservation has long been and will remain as the main planning theme for the area. Since this area has wide appeal to urban dwellers in Hong Kong, suitable locations along South Lantau Road may be considered for recreation uses that are environmentally sustainable and congruent with the existing village and rural setting.

Soko Islands comprise a group of islands off South Lantau amongst which Tai A Chau and Siu A Chau are the largest. These islands are predominantly covered by natural vegetation, except an abandoned detention centre on Tai A Chau. While there have been initiatives for developing Tai A Chau for recreation purposes, the inshore waters of Soko Islands are also recognized as possessing conservation value.

Taking into account the above planning context, the Government completed in July 2001 the South West New Territories (SWNT) Development Strategy Review and formulated a Recommended Development Strategy (RDS) for this sub-region. Prior to the adoption of the RDS, Members were consulted on the draft Development Strategy and the Consultation Report was released to Members in July 2001.

The RDS identifies Mui Wo and South Lantau as a priority Action Area for an integrated planning and engineering feasibility study in order to investigate the appropriate scale of development and to formulate up-to-date land use proposals for the said area. The Study will be jointly commissioned by Planning Department and Territory Development Department for commencement in mid 2002.

STUDY AREA

The Study Area (Appendix A), comprising Mui Wo, South Lantau, Soko Islands and their surrounding inshore waters, is located at the southern and southeastern part of Lantau Island. It is surrounded by sea in the south up to Soko Islands and defined by the Lantau South and Lantau North Country Parks in the north. The total land area of the Study Area is about 3,100 hectares.

OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The objective of the Study is to formulate a preferred land use scheme for Mui Wo and South Lantau in both planning and engineering terms, with particular emphasis on exploring the tourism/recreation potential, while conserving its natural environment to tie in with the RDS's vision statement of balancing development and conservation needs in accordance with the principle of sustainable development. The specific objectives of the Study are set out as follows:
 

      (a) define the roles for Mui Wo and South Lantau in the development of Lantau;
 
  (b) establish a tourism/recreation development framework, identify potential attractions, and recommend new proposals and facilities in the Study Area;
 
  (c) examine the appropriate scope for population growth including tourists and visitors in the Study Area, having regard to the environment, transport and infrastructure capacities;
 
  (d) formulate and evaluate alternative land use options, and recommend a preferred land use option for the Study Area;
 
  (e) formulate a Recommended Outline Development Plan (RODP) together with a Master Landscape Plan and a Master Urban Design Plan for the Study Area, and prepare Layout Plans for 3 priority Action Areas, one of which shall be within Mui Wo area; and
 
  (f) confirm the engineering feasibility and sustainability of the proposals in the priority Action Areas by assessing its transport, environment, ecological, landscape, visual, drainage, sewerage, water supply, utilities, and cultural heritage impacts.

THE STUDY TASKS

9. To achieve the objectives, the Study will cover the following main tasks:
 

      (a) Investigate the development issues, constraints and opportunities, with particular reference to the rural character of the Study Area;
 
  (b) Explore new opportunities to promote tourism/recreation developments;
 
  (c) Prepare at least 3 initial land use options for the Study Area, representing different land use concepts and levels of development, then evaluate these options and recommend a preferred land use option;
 
  (d) Undertake preliminary evaluation including ecological, environmental and heritage aspects on the preferred option and formulate a RODP containing details of land uses relating to residential, tourism, recreation, leisure, commercial, retail, urban design, landscape and infrastructure facilities, and also recommend priority Action Areas;
 
  (e) Prepare Preliminary Layout Plans (PLPs) for 3 priority Action Areas to show detailed site planning, one of which shall be within Mui Wo area;
 
  (f) Carry out engineering feasibility studies and impact assessments for the PLPs;
 
  (g) Prepare a master development programme for the proposed developments covering an outline of major environmental improvement and infrastructural works with an indication of broad order of costs and potential revenues for land disposals for each priority Action Area, implementation agent(s), and ways to encourage private participation; and
 
  (h) Identify the requirements for preliminary project feasibility studies for the proposed developments.

PUBLIC CONSULTATION

10. In addition to the current round of consultation on the scope of study, a 2-staged public consultation exercise will be conducted to solicit views from relevant parties in the course of the Study, namely:
 

      (a) 1st Public Consultation on initial findings including the development issues, constraints, opportunities and alternative land use options; and
 
  (b) 2nd Public Consultation on major findings and recommendations including the RODP and implementation/programming aspects.

DURATION OF STUDY

11. Expression of Interest for the Study will be invited in around mid November 2001 and submission of Technical Proposal is targeted at February 2002. The Study is anticipated to commence in June 2002. The study period is about 20 months.

ADVICE SOUGHT

12. Members are invited to comment on the objective and scope of the Study, and the stages of public consultation as stated in paragraphs 8 to 10 above.

ATTACHEMENT

Appendix A : Study Area Plan

Planning Department
November 2001

 

 

 

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