Ideas and Recommendations from Independent Sustainability Review Report and BoL’s Responses to Them

BoL engaged Messrs Eden Ventures, Waters Consulting Ltd (WCL), Urban Design & Planning Consultants Ltd (UDP International) and Bright Green Solutions (BGS) to undertake an Independent Sustainability Review of the proposal. Objectives of the study are: 
  1. Conduct an Independent Sustainability Review of the BOL proposed project on southern Lamma, in consideration of relevant policy drivers and stakeholder comments sent to the Town Planning Board (TPB) in 2011
  2. Consider a “Do Nothing Scenario” and identify gaps and assess the project viability in the widest context; i.e. does the project make sense from a sustainability perspective?
  3. Generate new ideas for the Conservation Corridor (CC), as well as other environmental and community focused ideas to move the project forward
The report included a number of valuable observations and recommendations, which are taken into account in the further development of the proposal, which is outlined below:

1.       Planet 2050
Suggestions: The Vision of “Planet 2050” is to create an exciting futuristic destination that brings a new meaning to the term “sustainable living” and how we in Asia can contribute to a cleaner, greener future. In contrast to traditional planetariums or museums, visitors at “Planet 2050” will be encouraged to celebrate and explore exhibits in an interactive way, both indoors and outdoors and thus experience a feeling of being part of nature and its solutions.
Objectives are: 
  1. To create an iconic destination that celebrates the environment and inspires us to respond to environmental problems
  2. To show case the art of the eco-possible and green tech and what sustainability means in Asia
  3. A destination where green groups can meet, and where musicians and artists can perform on environmental issues
  4. Exhibits and films on environmental wonders, as well as problems of today and future
  5. Interactive art and sculpture displays
  6. Examples of latest green technologies in action or exhibited  
BoL’s response
This is a great idea and is in line with the overall eco-theme of the whole development. The proposed Conservation Corridor in northern part of the site is mainly natural secondary woodland, tall shrub land, wetland, agricultural land and natural streams suitable for exploration and interactive exhibition; while the southern part has more space for group activities, performance, workshops, and etc. As a matter of fact, there is scope to extend the activities to the intertidal zones along the coastal area and to the artificial reef formed by the breakwater. All in all, the whole development is designed as a low-carbon community adopting the latest in green technologies and concepts. (please visit our “Green Community” and Historical and Cultural Preservation” sections.)
2.       Extend the Conservation Corridor (CC) to the South Lamma SSSI  

Suggestion: To form a continuous and extended conservation link for protection of natural habitats and biodiversity enhancement
BoL’s response
This is logical. The proposed extension of the Conservation Corridor (CC) can be regarded as phase I. Once the management of the CC is established and running, it can explore long-term options with Government and the community. As a matter of fact, we propose that the management of the CC should take up the management of the Sham Wan SSSI so that there is full time and proper management of the SSSI by a dedicated team working on the active approaches for the green turtles’ return as well as enhancement of marine ecology around southern Lamma.

3.       Enhance the overall ecological value of the site 

  • Planting of local native species
  • Plant trees in areas of hard landscape
  • Habitat creation and restoration of open-spaces and wetlands
  • Incorporation of ponds and other wetland features and re-opening and clearing of streams and watercourses
  • Provide roosting and nesting opportunities for bats and birds
  • Create a Biodiversity Management Plan
BoL’s response
These must fall within scope of the management of the CC. The development portion will definitely cooperate.
4.       Preserve the Cultural Heritage by Creating a Rural Culture Museum

Suggestions: BoL have already proposed to preserve and restore some of the old village houses and turn them into a Visitors’ Centre and education outposts within and at diverse habitats alongside the proposed Conservation Corridor. This idea takes the Visitors’ Centre one step further by proposing that in addition to preserving some of the old village houses that a Rural Cultural Museum is part of the proposal.

BoL’s response
As a matter of fact, our latest proposal is to restore the whole Yung Shue Ha old village complex including the Fung Shui Forest at the back, stream on the side and the farmland at the front. It would be a perfect setting for a Rural Cultural Museum to display history of Lamma, traditional ways of farming and tools used as well as the then social and cultural traditions. While re-creating an old village compound of about 150 to 200 years old, we are also thinking of designing the buildings at the marina in the architectural style of about the same period, thus re-creating the old Hong Kong harbour front albeit for modern ships. Not only does this reflect Hong Kong’s historical role as a port but the colonial style buildings are also good examples of passive building design adapted to local climate thus reducing carbon footprint.


5.      Create a Community Conservation Trust

Suggestions: Turn the Conservation Corridor (CC) into a Community Trust to secure it in perpetuity for the local community, so as to preserve the natural and environmental integrity of the CC.
BoL’s response
We are definitely looking into creating a Community Conservation Trust for the Conservation Corridor, among the alternatives. We have been talking to people with knowledge and experience of Community Trust and will formulate more detailed plan after the principles for the proposal has been established through the S12A process.
6.      Create A Sense of Place and Community Place

Suggestions: A sustainable and place making approach….in the planning and design of the proposed development …to ensure the creation of a unique, distinctive and a memorable place…. Sensitive place making planning and design should take into account the local context, heritage, community, cultural and ecological considerations….it is of paramount importance to retain the natural landscape and visual character of South Lamma, while at the same time fostering a sense of place and encourage public enjoyment.
(for the Marina) ….to enhance the community benefits, the following are suggested:
  • A proportion of the berths at the yacht club are dedicated as a public marina for the community to use its berthing facilities, in line with public affordability.
  • Public facilities can be further enhanced by incorporating waterfront plazas, promenades and a public boardwalk flanked with retail, restaurants and boat rentals, as well as an observation deck for viewing the natural coastline and protected areas such as reefs and other ecologically sensitive areas.
  • The public realm can be further enriched through public art installations, playgrounds, bike and hiking trails with amenities such as shared areas, benches, public restrooms and bike racks etc.
  • The marina should also provide employment opportunities for local people from Lamma and Hong Kong with adequate facilities for training sessions and programs incorporated within the development.

Integration of public spaces within the marina, hotel, residential and Conservation Corridor should be maximized to benefit the community by creating a network of public open spaces and landscaped areas that include a diversity of outlets for recreational tourism, ecological, educational and commercial uses……The Conservation Corridor will be an important community hub where members of the public can enjoy nature’s splendor through exploring pathways, exhibits and displays, but care must be taken to protect the areas of high ecological importance.
Considerations should be given to the sensitive design of the hotel and residential villas, that responds to the terrain of South Lamma, resulting in the form of low rise villas and blocks nestled in nature…..the restaurants, lounges and retail flanking the hotel should be accessible to the public…..In some cases, function rooms may also be rented out to non-patrons and for appropriate community events. Outdoor amenities, ranging from landscaped gardens to swimming pools can further enhance the public’s enjoyment of the proposed BoL development and ensure community benefit, a win-win situation for all.

BoL’s response
We have taken on board most of the above recommendations. Our vision for the development is that of a low carbon eco-destination in the form of an open seaside township that is accessible to the general public. Connections to existing footpaths are retained and there will be a public pier that other private ferry operators or private boats can use. We are preserving the existing villages and achieving zero displacement, thus villagers and their families can stay and enjoy the economic revival. Cultural heritage will be preserved and so is the local biological diversity and natural landscape. 
The marina is purposely designed to receive visiting yachts/boats from other parts of Hong Kong as well as from overseas. The waterfront plaza will be the “town centre” that everybody can visit and spend the day in a way that suits his/her budget. There are direct connections to the Conservation Corridors and its facilities on land, along the shoreline as well as within and around the breakwater which will be unique facilities for underwater exploration. The coastal area is largely devoted to public and a viewing gallery at the highest knoll will provide panoramic view of the whole Tung O Bay. 

The hillside residence as well as the spa hotel will blend naturally into the existing landscape with the stepped terrain approach and prominent rock features are preserved. The spa hotel is planned for high standard of privacy and services but some of its facilities will be accessible to the public.

7.      Farming showcase

Create organic farming experimental stations throughout the Conservation Corridor, create a Farming School where farming skills can be enhanced, highlight the different agricultural practices across Hong Kong, and hire displaced NENT farmers to revitalize abandoned AGR areas in southern Lamma.
BoL’s response
The concept for the Conservation Corridor includes re-farming on abandoned agricultural lands in southern Lamma that have not yet developed into Secondary Woodland. This includes small patches along the Conservation Corridor on the northern portion and relatively extensive area next to Tung O village. In addition, the proposal for the restoration of the Yung Shue Ha old village includes rehabilitation of the existing farmland in front of the village to showcase traditional farming practices. Local villagers will be given priorities for hiring where possible and required. Exactly how the existing farmland will be used shall be subject of consideration by the future management of the Conservation Corridor. 

Abandoned farmland at Tung O

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