NOTICE OF NOMINATIONS for positions for FSK 2016-17
NOTICE OF NOMINATIONS for positions for FSK 2016-17
Chair - John Wright
Vice Chair - Guy Shirra
Secretary - Pat Malone)
Treasurer - Ann-sofie Chakrabarty
Operations - Tom Goetz
Communications - Karina O'Carroll
Membership - Geraldine Kennedy
Activities - Lauralynn Goetz
Co-opted members: Peter Mann, Tim Collard
Thanks and see you all on Friday at 7pm at the Village Restaurant Sai Kung
FSK AGM 2016
Dear FSK Members,
Notice is hereby given the 2016 AGM of Friends of Sai Kung (FSK) will be held at the Village Restaurant, Sai Kung at 7pm on 15 April 2016. One free drink and small snacks will be provided.
Agenda is as follows:
Confirmation of the minutes of last AGM held on 16/4/15
- Chairman’s Report
- Treasurer’s Report
- Election of Office Bearers for 2016
All paid-up members are welcome (2016/17 annual membership fee of $100* may be paid at the door). Those members unable to attend, please send in your membership fee by cheque (Payable to 'Friends of Sai Kung') to...
Friends of Sai Kung (FSK), PO Box 45, Sai Kung Post Office, Hong Kong.
As some of our committee are stepping down, we appeal to members to step forward to help. The committee only meets six times a year and helps FSK to perform valuable environmental work.
*$50 for senior citizens and those under 18 yrs.
Uk Tau A DPA NE TT 74, 75 & 76
Ko Tong, Sai Kung (Application No. A/DPA/NE-TT/64&66)
Dear Sai Kungers,
Some more developments that we need your help with.
Applicants of the two previously rejected applications to build small house in Ko Tong, Sai Kung (Application No. A/DPA/NE-TT/64&66) are seeking review of the Town Planning Board (“TPB”)’s decisions. The applications were refused by the TPB due to their cumulative landscape impact on the surrounding environment. Deadline for making new comments on these two review applications are 11 December 2015 (this Friday).
According to New Territories Small House Policy, a male indigenous villager may apply to the authority for permission to erect for himself during his lifetime a small house on a suitable site within his own village. The main concerns here is the suitability of the application sites.
The application sites are not suitable for building small houses
The sites are located within the Ko Tong secondary woodlands and have a high ecological and conservation value. Protected plants such as Pavetta hongkongensis and Aquilaria sinensis, and vulnerable/endangered species such as Brown Fish Owl, and Burmese Python have been recorded in the area. Proposed constructions will massively damage the surrounding environments and thus the wild habitat.
Example of “destroy first, build later”
The applications are classic notorious examples of “destroy first, build later”. The application sites are currently cleared with vegetation and there is no protected plants on the sites. However, there are evidences showing that trees and vegetation on the application sites were removed deliberately without authorisation by the TPB recently, in the hope that the TPB would give sympathetic consideration to the applications as there would be nothing to protect and conserve. TPB’s decision to reject the applications should be upheld to discourage similar kind of illegal actions in the New Territories.
Lack of suitable access to the sites
There is no suitable pathway to the application sites. The sites can be accessed via an unauthorised track and an unofficial footpath. In further information submitted by the applicants, they promised not to use the unauthorised track during the construction, and will only use the footpath. However, the existing footpath is very narrow to accommodate construction vehicles. Even if smaller construction vehicles make their way to application sites via the footpath, it will also cause imminent danger to the existing footpath users. In addition, the existing footpath is not wide enough to provide Emergency Vehicle Access to the application sites.
Ploy to enlarge the Village Type Development (“V”) zone
The application sites are designated as ‘Unspecified Use’. According to the Tai Tan, Uk Tau, Ko Tong and Ko Tong Ha Yeung Development Permission Areas Plan (“DPA Plan”), land designated as “Unspecified Use” is subject to further detailed analysis and studies to establish the appropriate land uses in the course of the preparation of an Outline Zoning Plan (“OZP”). The OZP is expected to be published by November 2016. Approval of planning application would pre-determine the land use zonings of the OZP. No application should be approved before the publication of OZP unless they are proven to be environmental friendly.
Since the applicants did not provide any new evidence or expert report to support their applications, TPB’s decision to reject applications should be upheld.
Government’s obligation under the Convention on Biological Diversity
Furthermore, the Convention on Biological Diversity (“Convention”) has been extended to Hong Kong in May 2011. The Government and the TPB has an obligation under the Convention to conserve biological diversity for the benefit of present and future generations, in particular to “promote environmentally sound and sustainable development in areas adjacent to protected areas with a view to furthering protection of these areas”. The application sites are surrounded by the Sai Kung East and West Country Parks and therefore is an area adjacent to protected areas. Besides, the applicants did not submit any new evidence or expert report to support that the proposed development would not damage the surrounding environment. TPB’s decision to reject applications should be upheld.
You may also object to the applications online via the following links. You simply need to click the “Make New Comment” link and follow the instruction.
If you know anyone who has time to disseminate this or would also be interested in objecting, that would be great.
Save Our Country Parks - Help Required
Save Our Country Parks is arranging for a head count of folks going into our Country Parks on Sunday 13 December between 8 – 12 midday.
FSK members are invited to pencil the event into their diaries and a) volunteer to join the roster which will man the table at the Pak Tam Chung barrier, and b) remind members to make a point of visiting a Country Park on that day and displaying photos/selfies on their Facebooks. We are hoping that there will be postings by people throughout December on personal and Group Facebook pages.
SOCP will arrange for delivery of a pack – a SOCP flag, sign-up sheets for a head count, and a SOCP foam board and picture frame that visitors can use as a prop for their selfies.
Thanks FSK Committee.
FSK 2016 Calendar Pre Sales
Ladies and Gentlemen! It is that time of year again and after some fantastic entries, FSK has again produced a beautiful 2016 calendar from our community member's photographs. Well done to all the wonderful contributors!
They make wonderful Christmas gifts for loved ones overseas too - show them your town! They also have large squares for writing all the kid's events in and important family bookings, the lunar cycle and also the HK public holidays for 2016. A steal at $120! Reserve yours now.
Calling all photographers for the Friends of Sai Kung (FSK) 2016 Calendar
Friends of Sai Kung is a not-for-profit community organisation that seeks to preserve and improve the quality of life of Sai Kung people and to protect the unique environment of Sai Kung for the benefit of Hong Kong and its visitors. Please support our work by contributing photographs for FSK 2016 Calendar.
Send us your photos NOW (maximum of 15), with full name, location and caption. We'll choose the best (12 large / 12 small) for the 2016 calendar.
Submission Deadline: August 31st
Photo size / resolution - the bigger the better!
2-3 MB for small photos
4-6MB for large photos
Photo contributors MUST be members of FSK. If you have not yet renewed your 2015/2016 membership, or are not a member and would like to join us – to participate in activities or just to be kept informed – check our website (www.friendsofsaikung.org) for the membership form.
Annual Membership fee:
HK$50 for juniors (under 18) and seniors (65 and over)
Join us for a Party!
Dear Members, Former Members and Non Members,
FSK is working hard to keep Sai Kung green! We are involved in two Judicial Reviews (JR), one on inclusion of the village enclaves into the country parks and the other on fraudulent estimates for village houses at Hoi Ha.
We also helped to raise over 27,000 objections to 30 proposed village houses at Uk Tau and Ko Tong.
Your continued support is important! Please renew your membership for 2015/16. $100 ($50 for students and seniors) by cheque to Friends of Sai Kung, PO Box 45, Sai Kung Post Office or by bank transfer to Bank of China a/c 012-617-00023319.
All members are cordially invited to a party organized by Friends of Sai Kung at Victoria Recreation Club (VRC off Tai Mong Tsai Rd) at 6.30pm on 17 July 2015. A selection of Indian curries is provided courtesy of FSK and beer and soft drinks are available.
You may also bring your own wine (corkage $30 per bottle).
Members are welcome to bring guests. Charge is $100 ($50 for students and seniors) including FSK membership. Please come to enjoy and support FSK!
Ko Tong NTEH applications A/DPA/NE-TT/56-57
Subject: Ko Tong NTEH applications A/DPA/NE-TT/56-57.
I write to register strong objections to the above applications.
The village has been subjected to systematic destruction of trees on
Government land and the building of an illegal road since November 2013.
You and all relevant Government Departments are fully aware of this.
1. There is no legal vehicular access to the proposed site. Any
building, as outlined in these two applications, will require a new access
road for building materials along with the further destruction of pristine
forest through GOVERNMENT LAND.
The applications depict foot access over government land. However, there is
no legal footpath, nor would access be suitable without cutting an illegal
road through government land.
The current access road into the village is a narrow one, which is
unsuitable for construction vehicles. A proportion of this road is on
totally private land which is owned by residents who object to these
developments. In short, there is no suitable access to these sites.
2. During the development of these lots, prior to any applications, some
of these areas have already been vandalised, with mature trees & shrubs
being cleared. If these proposed houses are approved, there will be more
wilful destruction of the village flora and fauna surrounding the village.
3. There is a Development Permission Area (DPA) in force which is
intended to protect the enclave pending a final Outline Zoning Plan (OZP)
after a maximum of 3 years. Under a DPA there is a presumption against
development. There should be NO development allowed in the interim until OZP
plans are drawn up. Any approval of house applications during the DPA
defeats the fundamental purpose of the DPA.
4. Applications within the area are coordinated and are an obvious ploy
to start building before the ecological and environmental importance of the
area has been assessed by the Government Departments and TPB as part of the
OZP process. No building should be allowed until the shape and size of the
V-zone is finalised by the TPB in the OZP. Any small house applications
made now are calculated attempts to subvert the intent of the DPA/OZP
5. This area has been subjected to a ‘destroy first, build later’
strategy. Government land in the adjoining areas of both of these two
application lots have been cleared of woodland. This was raised to your
offices, AFCD and police in March 2014. We note that the Town Planning
Board has announced in a Government press release that any “Destroy First,
Build Later” activities will not be tolerated. We hope that the Board
will conduct detailed inquiries and investigate the history of this site
before making any decisions regarding planning applications in the area.
6. We understand that none of the applicants is resident in Ko Tong and
many are resident outside HK. Applicants residing outside HK are not
normally given permission to build.
7. There are no facilities or amenities in Ko Tong to provide for these
additional houses, i.e. no parking, no recreational areas, nor other
necessary, facilities such as Emergency Vehicle Access.
8. There has been no assessment of landscape impact, ecological impact,
sewage / effluent impact (proximity of watercourses etc), impact on wildlife
flora and fauna. There is an Ecologically Important Stream (EIS) in Ko Tong.
Before septic tanks are licensed for these proposed houses, the site should
have been subject to percolation tests to assess the soil’s ability to treat
sewage effluent; there is no evidence that these essential tests have been
9. For any new development, new utility provisions would need to be made,
degrading the surrounding areas, and drainage works would need to be
completed. Foul and grey water could be allowed to seep into areas below
the proposed houses and into the Ecologically Important Stream (EIS).
10. The Government has an obligation under the Convention on
Bio-Diversity Article 8e to:
“Promote environmentally sound and sustainable development in areas adjacent
to protected areas with a view to furthering protection of these areas”
Ko Tong is surrounded by country park, and, therefore, qualifies as an “area
adjacent to protected areas” in the terms of the convention. Therefore,
developments which cannot be proven to be environmentally safe, under the
Precautionary Principle, should not be allowed.
Friends of Sai Kung urges you to reject the applications.
Uk Tau NTEH applications A/DPA/NE-TT/31-55 and 58
Petition Link http://www.designinghongkong.com/forms/view.php?id=33574
Subject: Uk Tau NTEH applications A/DPA/NE-TT/31-55 and 58
Please see attached representations.
Representations and objections to Proposed Houses (New Territories Exempted Houses – Small Houses), Uk Tau, Tai Po District
(A/DPA/NE-TT/31, A/DPA/NE-TT/32, A/DPA/NE-TT/33, A/DPA/NE-TT/34, A/DPA/NE-TT/35, A/DPA/NE-TT/36, A/DPA/NE-TT/37, A/DPA/NE-TT/38, A/DPA/NE-TT/39, A/DPA/NE-TT/40, A/DPA/NE-TT/41, A/DPA/NE-TT/42, A/DPA/NE-TT/43, A/DPA/NE-TT/44, A/DPA/NE-TT/45, A/DPA/NE-TT/46, A/DPA/NE-TT/47, A/DPA/NE-TT/48, A/DPA/NE-TT/49, A/DPA/NE-TT/50, A/DPA/NE-TT/51, A/DPA/NE-TT/52, A/DPA/NE-TT/53, A/DPA/NE-TT/54, A/DPA/NE-TT/55 & A/DPA/NE-TT/58)
We write to make the strongest objections to the above applications A/DPA/NE-TT/31-55 and 58 for the building of NTEHs under the Small House Policy at Uk Tau village in Sai Kung Country Park.
1. Suspicious Land transactions:
The applications are obviously co-ordinated as all of them were prepared by a same surveyor and were submitted in late March 2015 and of the 100 land titles covered by the applications, all are charged to a company called Landspace Finance Limited (“Landspace”). According to the company search on 7 May 2015, HUNG Shing Yin (孔聖賢) (HKID:E532794(A)) is the sole director and shareholder of Landsapce.
The applications of the Proposed Construction cover 100 land titles. The land registry shows that the sites were sold to Hanton Limited for around HK$2million each between 2006 and 2008.
According to the land searches of the lots comprising the Proposed Construction, most of the lots were previously wholly owned by Hanton Limited, according to a company search in May 2015, whose directors are HUNG Shing Yin (孔聖賢) (HKID: E532794(A)) (residential address: Flat A, 18th Floor, Wing On Court, No.24 Ho Man Tin Hill Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong) and YIU Yuen On Paul (姚源安) (HKID: E533841(0)) (residential address: Flat D, 7th Floor, Wing On Court, No.24 Ho Man Tin Hill Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong) and whose shareholders are HUNG Shing Yin (孔聖賢), YIU Yuen On Paul (姚源安) and YUEN Seen Pun (袁善本) (address: Ground floor, 10 Cheung Kan Village, Wu Kai Sha, Ma On Shan, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong).
The lands covered by the applications were sold to the applicants on 21 August 2009 and all of the land titles are charged to Landspace, according to a company search in May 2015, whose director is HUNG Shing Yin (孔聖賢) (HKID: E532794(A)) (residential address: 3rd Floor, On Cheong Building, No.456 Nathan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong) who is also the sole shareholder of Landspace.
It appears that HUNG Shing Yin (孔聖賢) (HKID: E532794(A)) is a director of both Hanton Limited and Landspace. However, the residential addresses stated in the annual return of the companies are not the same (but neither address is in Sai Kung). It is an offence under the Companies Ordnance not to state the correct residential address in the relevant forms filed with the Companies Registry. Both he and HUNG Shing Yin are and have together been involved in other schemes on village and agricultural land, such as columbaria on Lantau and spa resort at Sai Kung. Paul Yiu was previously the Government’s Chief Architect.
The individual lots were ostensibly sold on by the developer to the applicants but only a fraction of the original cost of the land has been paid by the latter, which gives rise to the suspicion that this is only a ruse to allow a commercial development to hijack the small house policy.
Examination of the evidence raises a strong suspicion that this is a commercial development being masked by using indigenous villagers to make individual applications for houses under the Small House Policy when, in fact, the houses will be built and owned by the developers who beneficially own the land and any house subsequently approved – a widespread practice in New Territories villages. The purpose of such development schemes is to unlawfully use Ding rights to enable private development by non indigenous persons and to fraudulently evade payment of Government land premiums.
Information has also come to our attention that a Hong Kong public company in the property development business has a secret controlling interest in this scheme. We shall not name that company here, but the Board must be warned of the consequences of complacency in the face of such information and against such a suspicious background.
How can the Town Planning Board be satisfied that these applications are lawful? Does it intend to ascertain if the applicants (or any of them) are ordinarily resident in Hong Kong?
2. Environmental and Ecological Impacts
Uk Tau is an “enclave”, surrounded by Sai Kung West Country Park, and is presently covered by a Development Permission Area (DPA). The Outline Zoning Plan (OZP) for the enclave has to be drawn up by November 2017 after a thorough investigation by the TPB of the ecological importance of the area, the need for housing at Uk Tau and a consideration of the impact that any developments might have on the surrounding country park. In considering the future of the village of Uk Tau, the TPB must be mindful of its responsibilities under the Convention on Bio-Diversity to which Hong Kong is a recent signatory. The Convention states, in Article 8e, that planning authorities should:
“Promote environmentally sound and sustainable development in areas adjacent to protected areas with a view to furthering protection of these areas”
Uk Tau is surrounded by Country Park, and, therefore, qualifies as an “area adjacent to protected areas” in the terms of the Convention. Therefore, developments which cannot be proven to be environmentally safe for the continued protection of the c ountry park, under the Precautionary Principle, should not be allowed.
The applications are obviously intended to enable building before the ecological importance of the area has been assessed by the relevant Government Departments as part of the OZP process. The area is presently classified as “Unspecified” and there is no guarantee that it will be deemed suitable to be incorporated into the V-zone by the TPB. No building should be allowed until the shape and size of the V-Zone is finalised by the TPB in the OZP.
3. Demand v Need
There are fewer than 20 houses at Uk Tau. The applications increase the footprint of the village enormously considering the number of houses being built – thus, effectively, increasing the size of the V-zone to cover an area which is completely inappropriate to accommodate the genuine need for housing. The applications, when put together, constitute a large, co-ordinated complex and should be treated as such. An independent Environmental Impact Assessment should be conducted to assess the consequences of such a large development in an environmentally sensitive area. In addition, the spacing of the applications mean that there is considerable spare capacity within the effectively enlarged V-zone to accommodate many more houses. The V-zone must be tailored to fit the genuine need for houses at Uk Tau; the area should not be used to fit in as many houses as possible to fulfil an unlimited demand.
The houses will not be used to provide dwellings for Indigenous Villagers, nor, due to the remoteness of the area, will the houses help to solve Hong Kong’s inner-city housing problems. These houses are being built for profit and speculation only.
By submitting the plans for this housing complex as individual applications, the applicants are attempting to circumvent the need to assess the cumulative impact of the development. To consider these applications as separate entities would be a serious abrogation of the TPB’s responsibilities as a planning authority to assess the need for housing against the environmental impact of the building of what is intended to be a large housing complex.
4. Destroy first, develop later
The area where the applications are intended to be built in the village has been subject to a “Trash First; Develop Later” strategy whereby the area was “trashed” in 2013/14 on the pretext of setting up a plant nursery (“Bishi Mizuiki Gardening [nursery]”). This nursery never functioned as such and was merely a pretext to destroy any features of ecological and environmental value and prepare the land for future development. The Town Planning Board has pledged to stop and discourage this sort of activity. To grant planning permission for building in this area after it has been subject to “Trash First: Develop Later” actions would be counter to Government policy and encourage more of this sort of activity in the future.
5. Lack of amenities
There is no centralised or mains sewage system proposed for the complex, despite the fact that this number of houses may produce sewage quantities which will overwhelm the soil’s ability to safely process the sewage. Meanwhile, many of the applications are adjacent to streams which will be diverted and septic tanks are planned within the minimum statutory step-back distances from these streams.
There has been no consideration of the infrastructure necessary to support this large increase in the size of the village which could bring in up to 75 new families – the majority of whom will have private cars. This large increase in the size of the village of Uk Tau will produce problems with parking spaces, public transport, rubbish disposal etc. To allow the building of a complex of this size without consideration of infrastructure capacity would be an abrogation of the TPB’s responsibilities.
6. Lack of supporting assessments
The applications have made no assessments of the following points which are specified on the application forms – it is wholly unsatisfactory to leave these assessments blank:
a. Planning Studies
b. Environmental Impact Assessment
c. Traffic Impact assessment – vehicles/pedestrians
d. Visual Impact Assessment
e. Landscape Impact Assessment
f. Tree Survey
g. Geotechnical Impact Assessment
h. Drainage Impact Assessment
i. Drainage Impact Assessment
j. Sewage Impact Assessment – no Percolation Tests have been carried out to assess the suitability of the soil for the installation of septic tanks (ProPECC 5/93).
k. Risk Assessment
The TPB should not allow these applications but, rather, focus its efforts into assessing the whole Tai Tan, Uk Tau, Ko Tong and Ko Tong Ha Yeung DPA with the aim of producing an OZP which recognises the environmental sensitivity of the area and which provides housing according to need, not demand. Once the OZP has been gazetted, then application for houses can be considered within the overall plan for the area. To approve these applications would be to allow housing demand to override the considerations of the DPA/OZP process and, effectively, “force the hand” of the TPB to hugely increase the size of the Uk Tau V-zone before the desirability of such a large V-zone has been established.
Please reject these applications.