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Lamma Forums • View topic - Yung Shue Long Valley Development
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Does anyone know any of the current crop of SCMP reporters - perhaps there's a viable story in this. The SCMP is usually quite amenable to doing stories on illegal development in the New Territories, and publicity often results in government departments getting dragged in, however reluctant they may be.

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The problem is that it's not illegal according to the govt. Lands, Drainage, and they all just desperately want to look the other way.

It's not a matter of lack of knowledge, it's all happening in the open, it's lack of will. If the govt at a higher level could be embarrassed, perhaps it could be changed. But we had Albert Chan, LegCo member, involved, he couldn't do anything. The loopholes in the law need to be closed, but the rural interests have enough influence to prevent that.


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Even so, I think the government would find it embarrassing - and would feel obliged to react - if a well written and researched article in any of the main newspapers presents the case that development is taking place on a significant scale without any official oversight. It might achieve nothing, but then again ...

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You remember the epic struggle for the Lily Pond? All the major media attention, the photo opps, the site visits by several Govt. departments, the written, phone and in person communications with SIX departments over several months, resulting in... nothing.

This is just the first step in building another top-prized suburb so close to the ferry pier. On the left side of the road, after the bridge, all the way to the Waterworks, there are (mostly unapproved) plans for up to 14 Village Houses, according to several local sources. Remember the single house advertised for months in Yung Shue Long Old Village for $52K/month? It's occupid now.

The centre of Yung Shue Long valley will take a lot longer to be built over because of agricultural leases and the stream, but it would be most difficult to stop it for more than a few years, IMHO.
In the meantime, house building in the newly founded Tai Wan Nam village, just off Power Station Beach, will go ahead this year, with up to 100 new flats over the next number of years....

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If anyone needs further proof that the EPD is totally useless, here is their latest reply. I had asked if anything could be done about the dumping of construction waste.

"Under the Construction Waste Disposal Charging Scheme, construction waste can be disposed of at government waste disposal facilities, such as landfills, outlying islands transfer facilities, sorting facilities and public fill reception facilities. Construction waste producers, e.g. construction contractors, renovation contractors, waste haulers, or premises owners, prior to using these waste disposal facilities, need to open a billing account with the Environmental Protection Department. Construction waste disposal charge will need to be paid via this billing account. Please note that the use of government waste disposal facilities is not compulsory and even if a billing account is opened, it does not restrict the construction waste from being recycled, re-used or disposed of by other lawful means. In this particular case of Yung Shue Long New Village (lot no. 40), the disposal site is not a government waste disposal facility and it has been confirmed that the construction materials were deposited in the private land lot with consent of the landowner; therefore, enforcement action has not been taken against the Contractor.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to clarify the issue and your concern about the environment of Hong Kong."

Regards,

W. K. CHAN
for the Director of Environmental Protection


Last edited by foreign body on Tue May 07, 2013 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Last edited by Alan on Tue May 07, 2013 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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I had the same sort of back and forth recently because of the (admittedly) more minor dumping behind the basketball court. Since my complaint they have been dumping more and more stuff there including old window frames with large shards of broken glass all over the place. Really dangerous given the close proximity to an urban council sports facility that many kids (and adults) use.

Their response was that the `land owner' was in China and hard to contact so they cant check if the dumper has permission or not. I gave them the number of the VV driver as I saw him doing it. I also know which house the old rusty and glass strewn window frames have come from as they have brand spanking new frames now and I looked at the flat myself when it was vacant. No doubt the new owner of the flat paid for proper removal and disposal of the rubbish and it ends up dumped next to one of the few public facilities we have in YSW.

They came and inspected the site and said yes there is rubbish there but we can't prove it's illegal. Useless.


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Just got an update from a regular customer of the Yung Shue Long Valley Farmer, Katherine Forestier:

"I put some pictures on my Facebook of the farm in the Yung Shue Long valley yesterday (see below). Did you know that the old couple has finally retired? The gate is shut. These watering cans, the farm and the very elderly couple who tended it have finally been retired. We've been told that they rented that land and that the lease has now run out. What will happen to this land, the fish and the frogs?

I didn't realise there was a frog posing there until I saw it! They stopped farming within the last month. The poor old boy certainly looked ready to stop working that land. His son (who delivers Shell gas) was helping him out, first time I'd seen family there.

I fear the bulldozers will soon move in and it will be subjected to horrible development extending from the old lily pond.

Really, the end of an era."


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That's it then. If the farmers gone its all up for grabs.

We've been living in the valley for the last 5 years and are now leaving to go overseas.

I'm really happy to be leaving because it's soul destroying to watch the vandalism taking place everyday in this beautiful little corner of Lamma.

From what I can figure this problem is only going to be fundamentally solved by greater democracy and the elimination of the functional constituencies in Hong Kong. At present the Beijing loyalist coalition needs to keep the support of the indigenous villagers through the Heung Yee Kuk and their vote in the legislature. Until then the Government doesn't want to rock the boat.

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Terrible news!
I have always enjoyed saying 'hello' to the farmers and following the progression of different crops through the seasons. That land has probably been farmed for hundreds of years and now they will crown the faithful old soil with cracked toilet bowls and all other manner of rubbish.

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Isn't this agricultural land? Doesn't that give any protection?


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We can see what happened in the past with the Lily Pond etc. And if you read back through this thread you will see how the discussion developed. Basically, owners of agricultural land are allowed to fill it in to a maximum depth of 1.2 metres. It seemed that there was no requirement that the infill be composed of soil suitable for cultivation. The impression is that would-be developers cover the soil with rubble and in time apply for the zoning of the land to be changed arguing its unsuitability for farming and then go ahead to build.

Another consideration, that I still don't clearly understand, is that this area somehow falls through the cracks of normal land administration and enforcement due to some sort of planning zone setup (ask Living Lamma to explain) such that no government department seems able or willing to actually follow through with legal enforcement of Hong Kong's development regulations.

I have found one thing, though: there does seem to be some legal expectation that infill of agricultural land be composed of cultivable soil. See the following 'Town Planning Board' report Agenda Item 3.3.C.iii
Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation (DAFC)
advised that the materials used for filling of land for agricultural purpose as
claimed by the applicant had to be suitable for crop cultivation.


It seems fairly likely to me that unless some group with deep pockets and a lot of time and dedication rises to fight it - the whole valley will slowly fill up with village housing. It has already begun.

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