7 January 2010

A new threat to Long Valley in Hong Kong

Long Valley, a rare-and-precious freshwater wetland in Hong Kong, was saved from the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation's intention to split it in half with a viaduct several years ago.

But now, the government, probably under pressure from the usual clique of landowners, has proposed re-zoning the land use of LV from "Agriculture" to something new, unique and dangerous-looking.

Here is a submission we made to the Planning Department of the Hong Kong Government on this issue:


Long Valley is currently zoned for "Agriculture" and, largely because of this cultivation, this freshwater wetland has been known for years to have a high value for wildlife.

Indeed, the ecological value of Long Valley was set out in full during the debate and legal proceedings that followed the stated intention of the KCRC to put a railway line through the middle of the area a decade ago.

WE OBJECT to the rezoning of Long Valley as a "Comprehensive Development Nature Conservation Area" If this goes ahead, there is likely to be a rush to piecemeal commercial developments, each with "Conservation" only a word in the project proposal. Fragmentation and degradation of this unique area would surely follow.

We support the HK Bird Watching Society's counter-proposal that the government should resume Long Valley up to the boundaries defined in AFCD's website.

Over the past twenty years we have shown a lot of birdwatchers (local, mainland Chinese and foreign) around Long Valley. All the visitors have been delighted and surprised at the variety of wildlife in this unique habitat, where nature and human activity co-exist.

Long Valley has outlived the KCRC, but it may NOT survive the attentions of developers if your department's proposed rezoning goes ahead.

The government of any "World City" worth the name should be able and willing to preserve genuine green space for nature and humans alike, now and for the future.

For these reasons, we strongly urge you to rezone Long Valley purely as a Conservation Area, NOT a "Comprehensive Development Nature Conservation Area".

(signed)

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