Objection to Developing Country Parks and the Adjustment Mechanism Make Use of Brownfield Sites, Military Camps and Spare Land 【Joint Statement from Green Groups】

(26th January,2017 Press Release) The Chief Executive Mr. CY Leung told the media that he has instructed relevant departments to conduct a study on developing country parks. Green Groups are furious and strongly opposed to this, as the public has already voiced opposition to the development of country parks. However, the government still insists on doing so and, furthermore, devotes more resources to this, deliberately leading to conflict within our community.
In fact, there is still a lot of land available for development in Hong Kong. The housing shortage problem has originated from “Uneven Distribution”. Over the years, the government has avoided reviewing the “Small House Policy” (land designated for New Territories Exempted Houses), unused Military Camps and Brownfield sites. These are the main reasons for the present situation. Moreover, the government has failed to address the problem of vacant housing units and private flats used for investment and speculation purposes, falsely presenting the situation as a “lack of land”. As there are other land resource options, it is totally unacceptable for the government to use the welfare of the elderly as an excuse for developing country parks.
Country Parks are important features and treasures in Hong Kong. Apart from the environmental value of preserving our precious ecology, they are also well-known for eco-tourism, community enjoyment (for public recreation) and even have a role to play in urban planning (for preventing over-expansion of the urban areas). Country parks are also important water catchment areas, which allow rainwater to flow into surrounding reservoirs. Furthermore, trees in country parks can absorb carbon dioxide and offset some of the greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels, which relieves global warming.
Mr. CY Leung pointed out that low ecological parts of country parks can be developed. We totally disagree with his claims. All the plants, flowers and birds in the country parks have their own meaning and value to the natural environment. Ecological value cannot be measured in objective criteria. He further suggested the “Adjustment Mechanism” in Country Parks, which we consider to be “weasel words” designed to mislead the public about conservation. The geographical location, the terrain, environment and the ecology of each existing country park are unique and should not be replaced by any excuses. The exchange of another “new” country park area is totally a mistake.
Mr. CY Leung hasn’t made good use of brownfield sites, military campsites or spare land before advocating the development of country park borders. Hong Kong’s housing problem could also be solved not just by finding land but also by controlling housing demand through a population policy. Once the natural environment is destroyed, it cannot be restored to what it was before. Therefore, the government should not develop our country parks, which are the pride of Hong Kong people.
***Co-sign Parties (Alphabetical Order)***
Ark Eden
Association for Geoconservation, Hong Kong
Clear The Air
Designing Hong Kong
HKU Environmental Life Science Society
Friends of the Earth (HK)
Friends of Hoi Ha
Friends of Tailongwan
Greeners Action
Green Community
Green Lantau Association
Green Peace East Asia
Green Power
The Green Earth
Green Sense
Hong Kong Bird Watching Society
Living Islands Movement – LIM
Range Education Centre
The Conservancy Association
Society of Hong Kong Nature Explorers Kong Nature Explorers