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North Lantau development
Hei Ling Chau:
Shorelines: Hong Kong’s Hidden Heritage
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Hong Kong’s shorelines form a critical part of our social, cultural and economic heritage but neglect and misuse are putting our shorelines in jeopardy. We need a single, coherent and comprehensive policy to optimise shoreline use and a Shoreline Authority to manage and apply the policy.
Hong Kong’s shoreline waterscape is at the core of the community’s culture and heritage. The shorescape is critical to the community’s psychological wellbeing. There is no coherent government strategy, nor cross-bureau coordination on shoreline use. Piecemeal development has inflicted significant damage. Environmentally insensitive development has inflicted damage. Reclamation policies have alienated many shorelines from the community. However, no “one size fits all” approachcan work
The Price of Neglect. In the past there has been insensitive development: scale is inappropriate; materials are inappropriate. Reclamation has separated communities from the water. Low value and sub-optimal waterfront use is widespread – motor repair workshops, Public Cargo Working areas, etc.. Sensitive areas have been polluted. Natural coastlines have been damaged. Dynamic community uses of the shoreline have been lost. Hong Kong’s marine environment has beendegraded
Access is key. It is not just damage and pollution that has caused harm: the shoreline has been “sterilised”. Access to and access along the shoreline is needed. We need nodes, pathways, and water-taxis. We must stimulate vitality by commercial as well as recreational access. E.g. A Sunset Coast: a continuous pedestrian route from Aberdeen to Central
The nature of shoreline use. Scale must be appropriate. Needs to be “people-friendly” where possible. Should combine activity and tranquility
A Shoreline Authority? At present, no coordination or consistency – and no single point of responsibility. We need comprehensive policy guidelines. It is not just a matter of Victoria harbour. Policy should apply to inter-tidal and marine shore. Community input and consultation is essential. Only an empowered Shoreline Authority could achieve this: Sydney; Baltimore; Boston; Singapore; Zhuhai all have lovely, well managed shorelines.
Shorelines are a key part of our social, cultural and economic heritage. But neglect and misuse are putting our shorelines in jeopardy. We need a single, coherent and comprehensive policy to optimise shoreline use. And a Shoreline Authority to manage and apply the policy. Shorelines are intrinsically local – local communities need to feel they own their shoreline.