Application for development on Pui O wetland open for public comments (PENDING)

Although the permission is for a “temporary” structure, the widespread and ongoing illegal “filling of land” has  already altered the remarkable biodiversity of one of China’s last remaining intact wetland ecosystems.


UPDATE: 22 July 2023

Submissions Accepted and Exempted from Publication

Application Available for Public Inspection Until (tentative date of meeting): 28/07/2023

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Illegal Glamping on Pui O Wetland
Photos of Commercial Operations
The Enforcement Loophole
Coastal Protection Area
The Role of Buffalo in Conservation
View Planning Application
Read Newspaper Notice
News and Other Articles

News articles about the illegal camps began appearing in August 2020.

Research dating back to 1986 highlights the risk of undesirable developments leading to environmental destruction and the loss of freshwater marshes and other important habitats.

A new academic research project launched this week will gather scientific evidence regarding Lantau Island Biodiversity Conservation.

Discussions about conservation in the absence of any amendment to the legislation loophole will not halt ongoing destruction in the officially zoned South Lantau Coastal Protection Area.

As of Sunday 25 June 2023, the camp is operational — see photos.

Even if the deadline has passed, concerns can be raised and evidence submitted via ”Tell me@1823” where all correspondence is monitored and followed up by relevant departments.

Land filling, illegal dumping and new development projects have escalated since the announcement that the loophole will be closed. New wetland fences have been sprouting with the speed of invasive species in the months following the CE’s 2023 policy address. The decades long process has been to alter the ecosystem illegally or with permissions granted for agricultural  use and then apply for planning permission on the basis that there is no biodiversity to conserve.

Surveyors are now as regular as the birdwatchers on the footpaths.

Pui O is the canary in the coal mine on global diversity. Please share this post far and wide.

NOTE: This post will be updated when a reply has been received from Town Planning requesting permission documents for existing operations.

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Illegal Glamping on Pui O Wetland
Photos of Commercial Operations
The Enforcement Loophole
Coastal Protection Area
The Role of Buffalo in Conservation
View Planning Application
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News and Other Articles

Community concerns

From Martin Williams, HK Outdoors

The comments on application for “Temporary Holiday Camp and Place of Recreation, Sports or Culture (Barbecue Site) for a Period of 3 Years and Filling of Land” at Pui O close on 30 June.

Pui O Wetland Planning Application

Looks like this is for a patch of land just east of main road to the beach.

There has already been some rubble dumping, areas fenced off, a tiny holiday camp attempt here.

Really, need proper backing, including legally, for the “Coastal Protection Area” here, but government so far loathe to implement anything, and the very messy situation continues.

Link here in case you’re interested in seeing more about the plan [“gist”] and the link to comment.

Click here to read more and submit your comment

After I posted re proposed small but damaging development at Pui O, and replied to comment, found this article.

Maybe of some interest …

Many people move to South Lantau for the environment; hope that can also try and advocate for protection too …

South Lantau – Coastal Protection Area

COMMENT: Everywhere in the world natural spaces need advocates. I remember that beautiful beach, among several on Lantau. In Ontario, Canada, our premier is determined to develop the Greenbelt in the southern part of the province—long protected old farms, marshes, and woods much of which is still called “crown land” here. Calling for biologists and other authorities to show the importance of such spaces to wildlife is one way advocates are fighting the development of green land here. I wonder if that approach might help protect that beautiful stretch of beach in Pui O?

REPLY: Yeah, trying that kind of thing, for long time; and it’s the old marshy fields with water buffalo etc that are being damaged.

COMMENT: I love those buffalo. And the egrets that hang out with them. There is so much bird life on Lantau!!

With my living back in Canada for 3 and a half years would it help?

REPLY: Yes, worth a try; these things are a bit like “votes” I believe

In the Policy Address released in October 2017, the Chief executive Carrie Lam remarked on conservation objectives and reinforced the principle of “Conservation for the South” [of Lantau]. However, talking about conservation without making actual legislation amendment to address the legal loopholes has no use in halting the persisting destruction in the Coastal Protection Area in southern Lantau.

https://www.trailwatch.hk/blog/565

COMMENT: Thanks for sharing. That spot has been managed in a hideous way so far so I can’t imagine how they will proceed if they get “permit” to carry on

The Loophole

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Illegal Glamping on Pui O Wetland
Photos of Commercial Operations
The Enforcement Loophole
Coastal Protection Area
The Role of Buffalo in Conservation
View Planning Application
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News and Other Articles

Well known loophole

Closing the loophole was listed as a priority in the current policy address.

Research dating back to 1986 highlights the risk of undesirable developments leading to environmental destruction and the loss of freshwater marshes and other important habitats.

South Lantau Coast Outline Zoning Plan Loophole

South Lantau’s natural environment and biodiversity are at risk … read more

Planning Application

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Illegal Glamping on Pui O Wetland
Photos of Commercial Operations
The Enforcement Loophole
Coastal Protection Area
The Role of Buffalo in Conservation
View Planning Application
Read Newspaper Notice
News and Other Articles

Town Planning Application

Pui O Wetland Planning Application

Pui O Wetland Planning Application

Pui O Wetland Planning Application

Pui O Wetland Planning Application

Pui O Wetland Planning Application

Pui O Wetland Planning Application

Pui O Wetland Planning Application

Pui O Wetland Planning Application

Newspaper Notice

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Illegal Glamping on Pui O Wetland
Photos of Commercial Operations
The Enforcement Loophole
Coastal Protection Area
The Role of Buffalo in Conservation
View Planning Application
Read Newspaper Notice
News and Other Articles

Planning Permission Notice

Pui O Wetland Planning Application

Pui O Wetland Planning Application

Pui O Wetland Planning Application

Pui O Wetland Planning Application

Pui O Wetland Planning Application

Pui O Wetland Planning Application

The Outline Zoning Plan

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Illegal Glamping on Pui O Wetland
Photos of Commercial Operations
The Enforcement Loophole
Coastal Protection Area
The Role of Buffalo in Conservation
View Planning Application
Read Newspaper Notice
News and Other Articles

The PLANS

The  Outline Zoning Plan (OZP) identifies areas rich in biodiversity that must be protected.

South Lantau Coast Outline Zoning Plan

No departments have been granted authorization to enforce the legal protections.

Permissions have been granted for commercial development, taking advantage of the loophole … read more

The Loophole

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Illegal Glamping on Pui O Wetland
Photos of Commercial Operations
The Enforcement Loophole
Coastal Protection Area
The Role of Buffalo in Conservation
View Planning Application
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News and Other Articles

Lack of enforcement authority

Many current planning permissions granted for commercial development on South Lantau take advantage of a well known loophole in the Outline Zoning Plan (OZP).

Research going back to the 80s identifies lack of enforcement as a “major threat to the health of South Lantau”.

No action is required to make the existing use of any land or building conform to this Plan until there is a material change of use or the building is redeveloped.

Read more

News and Other Articles

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Illegal Glamping on Pui O Wetland
Photos of Commercial Operations
The Enforcement Loophole
Coastal Protection Area
The Role of Buffalo in Conservation
View Planning Application
Read Newspaper Notice
News and Other Articles

In the news

South Lantau – Coastal Protection Area (Trailwatch 30 April 2018)

Illegal Glamping in the Pui O wetlands (Around DB 5 October 2020)

New ‘glamping site’ on Hong Kong’s Lantau Island wetlands did not seek approval to set up tents by the sea, authorities say (SCMP 22 August 2020)

An upmarket campsite that sprung up in a Hong Kong conservation area last November was built without approval and ordered torn down in May, officials said, but is still standing months later. The Bull Wave Camp Plus appeared practically overnight along Lantau Island’s scenic southern coast, and opened with four large tents at Pui O beach, in a government-designated Coastal Protection Area well known for its open wetlands and herds of water buffalo. Its website advertises a fully furnished tent with Wi-fi, hot showers, and kitchens, for up to six people at HK$2,880 a night, while a tent for up to eight costs HK$3,200.

Illegal Wetland Development

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Illegal Glamping on Pui O Wetland
Photos of Commercial Operations
The Enforcement Loophole
Coastal Protection Area
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The Illegal Development

Illegal glamping in the Pui O Wetlands

Posted in : Life On Lantau ArticlesNews on 

Pui O’s wetlands made headlines again in August, when some 5,000 residents signed a Save Lantau Alliance petition demanding that an unauthorised campsite near Pui O Beach be removed. Bull Wave Camp Plus was built without approval last November in a government-designated Coastal Protection Area well known for its open wetlands and herds of water buffalo. It remains in place despite an order issued in May by the Lands Department demanding that it be taken down.

The controversy over Bull Wave Camp Plus is only the latest incident to reveal that the Pui O wetlands are under threat. Landowners need to gain Planning Board approval for all plans to build camping grounds or holiday camps within the protected zone, as well as for any landfilling or excavation, but they continue to put up illegal structures and try to introduce new uses for their property.

Photos of Commercial Operations

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Illegal Glamping on Pui O Wetland
Photos of Commercial Operations
The Enforcement Loophole
Coastal Protection Area
The Role of Buffalo in Conservation
View Planning Application
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News and Other Articles

photos taken 25 June 2023

These are the before and after photos everyone seems to like.

Unauthorized glamping on Pui O wetland

This photo was taken at the edge of the wetland 20 paces west of the illegal “land filling” to illustrate the lost biodiversity. Fiddler crabs live(d) here.

Illegal Glamping on Pui O Wetland

This photo taken at the edge of the wetland 20 paces east from the above photo illustrates filling that took place without any planning applications that may have been approved nevertheless in the absence of wetland protection enforcement mechanism.

Illegal Glamping on Pui O Wetland

The development sits behind the municipal facilities next to the Pui O Beach campground.

Illegal Glamping on Pui O Wetland

Illegal Glamping on Pui O Wetland

Illegal Glamping on Pui O Wetland

Illegal Glamping on Pui O Wetland

Illegal Glamping on Pui O Wetland

Illegal Glamping on Pui O Wetland

Illegal Glamping on Pui O Wetland

Illegal Glamping on Pui O Wetland

This photo was taken 4 July 2015

Illegal Glamping on Pui O Wetland

The Role of Buffalo

Submit your comment
Illegal Glamping on Pui O Wetland
Photos of Commercial Operations
The Enforcement Loophole
Coastal Protection Area
The Role of Buffalo in Conservation
View Planning Application
Read Newspaper Notice
News and Other Articles

New research

A new scientific research project was launched on 28 June 2023 to gather evidence regarding The Role of Buffalo in Lantau Island Biodiversity Conservation.

The Loophole
Save the Water Buffaloes
The Role of Buffalo in Lantau Island Biodiversity Conservation
The Last Frog Concert

Submit your comment

Submit your comment
Illegal Glamping on Pui O Wetland
Photos of Commercial Operations
The Enforcement Loophole
Coastal Protection Area
The Role of Buffalo in Conservation
View Planning Application
Read Newspaper Notice
News and Other Articles

Submit your comment

30 June 2023 is the deadline for public comments.

Even if the deadline has passed, concerns can be raised and evidence submitted via ”Tell me@1823” where all correspondence is monitored and followed up by relevant departments.

Land filling, illegal dumping and new development projects have escalated since the announcement that the loophole will be closed. New wetland fences have been sprouting with the speed of invasive species in the months following the CE’s 2023 policy address. The decades long process has been to alter the ecosystem illegally or with permissions granted for agricultural  use and then apply for planning permission on the basis that there is no biodiversity to conserve.

Surveyors are now as regular as the birdwatchers on the footpaths.

Pui O is the canary in the coal mine on global diversity. Please share this post far and wide.

Posted: 24 June 2023

UPDATE: 22 July 2023

Application No. A/SLC/181

Date of Application Received: 02/06/2023

Lot 2406 in D.D. 316L, Pui O, Lantau Island

Proposal Proposed Temporary Holiday Camp and Place of Recreation, Sports or Culture (Barbecue Site) for a Period of 3 Years and Associated Filling of Land

No. of Comments on Application Already Received: 69

Further Information Received on: 07/07/2023

Nature Clarification on the proposed arrangement of sewage discharge, drainage, waste disposal, provision of fire services installation, site access and noise mitigation measures in response to departmental comments without changing the scheme.

Decision Accepted and Exempted from Publication

Application Available for Public Inspection Until (tentative date of meeting): 28/07/2023

[press here]

View current planning applications here

South Lantau Life
Author: South Lantau Life

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