WWF - Hong Kong will upgrade some infrastructure within the Mai Po Nature Reserve (MPNR), which include refurbishment of the Mai Po Education Centre (MPEC), widening of the existing footpath between the entrance of MPNR to MPEC, expansion of the existing tower hide at pond #8, construction of new tower hides at pond #8 and #19, and construction of a new circular route footpath.
Today, the EIA Project Profile* of the upgrade works is displayed for public inspection. The Society will study the document carefully and will share if there are any significant concerns.
*According to section 2.1 of the Technical Memorandum on EIA Process, the purpose of an EIA project profile is to “enable the Director to determine: (a) the scope of the environmental issues associated with a designated project which shall be addressed in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) study, together with the technical and procedural requirements that the EIA Study shall meet; or (b) whether the applicant can proceed directly to apply for an environmental permit.”
Image Attachment: components of the project.JPG (14/07/2017 17:36, 112.53 KB) / Download count 109 http://www.hkbws.org.hk/BBS/attachment.php?aid=30460
Author: ajohn Time: 18/07/2017 17:25
I would encourage HKBWS members to look seriously into this EIA proposal, because it clearly affects those who visit Mai Po for birding, and is the largest development proposal ever inside the Ramsar Site, so is important for wetland conservation in Hong Kong.
For me, the most important issue in this development project is actually hidden away. In Section 2.3.1 of the proposal it mentions another project "Demolition and Re-construction of the Peter Scott Field Studies Centre (PSFSC) near MPNR". I believe that this is a major project causing major disruption to those using the reserve, and with potentially important conservation implications. However, it is impossible to judge the impacts because at the moment WWF have not revealed any details of the proposal publicly; they have not yet applied to the Town Planning Board for planning permission, but it is stated in the EIA application they expect to start work in April 2018 (less than a year from now).
Personally I believe that this project on its own should require an EIA, yet WWF have removed it from their EIA application. WWF actually treat this as a part of the same project (http://www.hkbws.org.hk/BBS/viewthread.php?tid=26456&extra=page%3D1), an the exclusion from this proposal appears to be an attempt to exploit a legal loophole (based on land zoning) to avoid this EIA requirement. I find this shameful approach to be absolutely disgraceful for an environmental organisation with the credentials of WWF.
It is within the rights of the Director of EPD to request that an EIA should be carried out on this project, and I recommend that HKBWS members with an interest should send in comments on the current proposal asking EPD to enforce the wetland protection of Deep Bay by requesting WWF to carry out an EIA on this PSFSC project. Author: HKBWS Chuan Time: 21/07/2017 19:58