All posts by

香港鄉郊基金就部份荔枝窩村村民對「客家生活體驗村」項目的誤解作出以下說明 (2018-4-24)︰

  1. 項目性質 – 此項目旨在保育荔枝窩村客家文化,內容包括復修村屋及提供體驗式學習活動,絕非「地產發展」項目。
  2. 財務 – 項目的運作先由鄉郊基金墊支,然後向賽馬會慈善信託基金申請發還,不存在坐擁巨款的情況。
  3. 程序 – 鄉郊基金嚴格遵守廉政公署的指引和建議,所有財務程序均經多重核實和審批,並由專業會計師獨立核數。
  4. 利益  – 荔枝窩村村長沒有從鄉郊基金或「客家生活體驗村」項目取得任何金錢利益,鄉郊基金絕不容忍本項目的運作出現任何違法行為。
  5. 溝通 – 鄉郊基金於項目展開前已派人到英國與海外村民溝通,過去半年又透過會面和書信,持續與不同組群的荔枝窩村民對話交流,坦誠洽商。
  6. 鄉郊基金明白村民尤其是旅居海外的村民愛鄉情切,表達對項目的關注理所當然,相信指稱「鄉郊基金操控荔枝窩村」及「諮詢費」之說源於誤解及以訛傳訛,鄉郊基金將繼續耐心與村民溝通釋除疑慮。
  7. 項目進度 – 項目計劃復修25間村屋,第一期已簽署了16間村屋的租約﹔第二期村屋招募已經展開,於4月30日截止,直到今天收到了28間村屋表示參與項目的意向書。
    建築顧問團隊已於2017 年12 月就任,負責土地勘察及設計工作。現正展開前期地盤清理及勘探,修屋工程即將開始。
  8. 「客家生活體驗村」項目:

概述

此乃「香港賽馬會慈善信託基金資助的行政長官社會計劃」項目,復修及保育25間荔枝窩村屋,組成「客家生活體驗村」,提供體驗式學習活動,及為參加者提供住宿。 將來的營運如有盈餘,用作有關村屋的維修費用。

長遠目標

通過體驗學習活動及保育鄉村建築特色,保育和推廣客家鄉村文化,促成建立一個立足本村的非牟利社會企業,長遠營運「客家生活體驗村」。

土地規劃

配合計劃的開展,首批16間村屋復修作「酒店(度假屋)用途」之申請已獲城市規劃委員會批准。

財務安排

復修村屋的費用,香港賽馬會將按建築師批核承建商單據直接向承建商支付。其他經常性開支、項目職員薪資及顧問費用,均由香港鄉郊基金墊支,再由香港賽馬會慈善信託基金於檢查單據後付還。在此項目中,香港鄉郊基金、所有董事會成員及委員會成員,全部為公益事業義務工作,絕無金錢利益。鄉郊基金運作這項目的現金周轉,全頼熱心公益人士提供免息貸款運作。

 

香港鄉郊基金

2018年4月24日

通訊處︰九龍彌敦道480號鴻寶商業大廈14樓

電郵 : david.au@hkcountryside.org

電話︰2698 0043

網址︰    http://www.hkcountryside.org/
 https://www.lcw-hakka-life.org/

2017-12-07 Why Hong Kong country parks are a poor choice for public housing

By Roger Nissim,  Adjunct Professor, Real Estate & Construction Dept, HKU and current adviser of the Hong Kong Countryside Foundation 

(original text published on SCMP 2017-12-07)

As a member of the Citizens Task Force on Land Supply I was encouraged to see members of the Country and Marine Parks Board question the Housing Societies criteria for choosing the fringes of Tai Lam and Ma on Shan Country Parks for potential housing.

Actually Government chose them before passing them to the Housing Society to evaluate thereby attempting to subvert the whole statutory planning process. Government should have done the evaluation first following the normal planning procedures to ascertain the suitability of the sites for development. But before they start they need to be ensure that, legally, they can excise any part of any Country Park for development when under the Country & Marine Parks Ordinance there is a basic presumption against any development until they have exhausted  ALL the other possible options for creating development land.

These options would include the implementation of the New Development Areas such as Hung Shui Kiu and Kwu Tung North, a review of all Brownfield sites, including the 105 vacant school sites, negotiating with the developers who have hundreds of hectares of redundant agricultural land waiting to be developed and placing such suitable identified land into properly planned layouts so implementation, by resumption if necessary, can take place.

Country Park land is remote usually with poor access and invariably lacking in basic services. So before any such land can be considered for development there should be traffic, drainage/sewage, environmental and visual impact assessments. The maximum plot ratio in these remote locations would be 1, nothing like the normal 5 plot ratio associated with public housing and what is needed to have a real impact on housing supply. Any rational cost benefit analysis would show that these sites represent a very poor choice.

Last month the Planning Department published the new Draft Kam Tin South OZP, Plan No. S/YL-KTS/14 which after a proper three year planning process has zoned sites for private residential development, public housing and the usual supporting facilities but has completely excluded the immediately adjacent parcel of Tai Lam Country Park which has been suggested the Housing Society consider. Clearly the planners have concluded that this land is not suitable for development and should remain as part of the country park so the Housing Society will be simply wasting its time to consider it any further. Governments attempt to subvert the proper planning process has clearly failed.

香港鄉郊基金 – 新聞稿及土地規劃政策立場 (2017-8-22) HKCF Press Release and Position Paper on the use of country park land for building development

香港鄉郊基金

新聞發佈

2017822

[English version further down]

  1. 近來多了向郊野公園(包括船灣淡水湖)要地用作房屋用途的言論,香港鄉郊基金強調郊野公園是供香港廣大市民享用的公共資源,有極為重要的康樂、旅遊、自然保育及歷史文化保育功能,不可隨意侵蝕
  2. 就香港政府有關找尋土地供廉租公營房屋及非牟利老人院等用途的政策目標,香港鄉郊基金已向香港政府遞交了一份立場書。
  3. 香港鄉郊基金認為在達致此目標的過程中,政府必須遵循現有政策、最優做法及以原則為本的施政方式,找尋土地的過程應該基於一個土地等級制度,郊野公園及根據郊野公園條例指定的特殊地區應為最後和逼於無奈的選擇
  4. 政府有幾個不需要製造新土地的選項:
    a. 檢視香港現有房屋的使用

             b.檢視現有政府土地儲備及填海土地的計劃用途

                 計劃用途應與廉租公營房屋及非牟利老人院比較,擴建廸土尼樂園顯然不能視                   為比廉租公營房屋更應在已填海得到的相關土地上建設。

            c. 工業區及工業樓宇重訂用途

  1. 在香港找尋土地興建廉租公營房屋及非牟利老人院,優先次序應該基於一個土地等級制度,郊野公園及根據郊野公園條例指定的特殊地區應為最後和逼於無奈的選擇。以下段落列出相關的土地等級,排在前面的等級應優先考慮:

            a.新發展地區、新市鎮擴展項目、統合發展區

            b. 棕地

                  棕地面積有估計超過1,000公頃,雖然沒有官方定義,不過視乎破壞程度,棕                       地包含以下幾類:

                  i. 類近工業土地、露天貨倉、未獲授權用途

                ii. 政府及私人土地,例如空置學校、潛在可以建築平台的基建項目、道路、鐵                        路及路邊空地

                iii.     已破壞或閒置的政府土地,如工地、舊學校、臨時停車場等

           c. 只有在以上各個等級都考慮淨盡後才應依次考慮以下等級:

                 i. 已受破壞、低生態價值、極低可能恢復生產的農地

                    約850公頃這樣的農地位於道路和鐵路附近,或在現有城鎮周邊,有以較低成                      本和較短時間內進行房屋開發的潛質。

                ii. 沒有受到法律保護的鄉郊地區

                iii. 正在耕作或高質素的農地

               iv. 各種受到保育規劃保護的土地,包括綠化帶、自然保育地區、具特殊科學價                      值地點、2004年新自然保育政策指定的優先保育地點、郊野公園不包括土                             地、水塘及引水區、郊野公園及特殊地區

  1. 香港鄉郊基金向政府遞交的文件全文(暫時只有英文本)附加於後。
  2. 如有查詢,請電郵chairman@hkcountryside.org 或致電林超英先生9109-1202。

 


Hong Kong Countryside Foundation

Press Release

22 August 2017

  1. Recently there are noises about using country park land (including the Plover Cove Reservoir) for housing purpose. The Hong Kong Countryside Foundation (HKCF) strongly stated that country parks are a public resource for public enjoyment by the Hong Kong  It has important functions in recreation, tourism, nature conservation and the conservation of cultural and historical heritage.  Haphazard attempts to take country park land away are not permissible.
  2. HKCF has submitted a position paper to the Government regarding its stated policy objective of searching for suitable land for public low-cost housing and elderly accommodation.
  3. HKCF advocates that the Government’s approach to achieving this objective must follow existing policies, best practice and principled governance. The approach to selecting land for such purposes in Hong Kong should be based on a hierarchy of land categories in which Country Parks (“CP”) and Special Areas designated under the Country Parks Ordinance should be the option of last resort.
  4. A number of options exist for Government without creating new land, including:
  • Review the current utilization of Hong Kong’s existing housing stock. Review of planned uses of existing Government land banks and reclamations.
  • Planned uses should be re-assessed vis-a-vis low-cost housing and elderly accommodation. Notably, the expansion of Disneyland cannot reasonably claim higher priority than low-cost housing on the existing designated reclamation land.
  • Re-purposed industrial areas and buildings.
  1. The priority for selecting land for public low cost housing and elderly accommodation in Hong Kong should be based on a hierarchy of categories of land in which Country Parks and Special Areas designated under the Country Parks Ordinance should only be the option of last resort. The following paragraphs set out the hierarchy in descending order of priority.
  • New Development Areas, New Town Extension Projects and Comprehensive Development Areas
  • Brownfield Sites.  The area of brownfield sites has been estimated to be more than 1,000 hectares.  While there is no official definition of brownfield site, however, in order of degradation we suggest it includes the following categories:

            i. Quasi-industrial land, open storage, and unauthorised existing uses

          ii. Govt Land and Private Land such as empty schools and potential podiums above                      infrastructure, highways, railways, and roadside area.

        iii. Degraded or idle Government Land, such as worksites, old schools, temporary                     carparks and others.

  1. Only when the above categories have been considered and exhausted should the following categories be considered, in descending order of priority.
  • Degraded farmland of low ecological value and with poor potential for restoration to productive agriculture. Some 850 hectares of such farmland is located in the proximity of roads or railways and/or on the periphery of existing towns and so have potential for housing development at relatively lower costs and in shorter time-scale.
  • Unprotected Countryside
  • Active or good quality Farmland
  • Conservation zonings of various types including GB, CA, SSSI; Priority Sites under the 2004 New Nature Conservation Policy and CP Enclaves; Reservoirs and catchments and Country Parks and Special Areas.
  1. The full text of HKCF’s submission to the Government (English only) is available appended below.
  2. For further enquiries, please contact Mr Roger Nissim by email rabnissim@gmail.com or telephone on 9385-5820.

 


 

The Hong Kong Countryside Foundation

On land for public low cost housing and elderly accommodation

For Policy Address

SUMMARY

The Hong Kong Countryside Foundation (HKCF) recognizes the Policy Objective to find suitable land for public low-cost housing and elderly accommodation.  The Government’s approach to achieving this objective must follow existing policies, best practice and principled governance.  The approach to selecting land for such purposes in Hong Kong should be based on a hierarchy of land categories in which Country Parks (“CP”) and Special Areas designated under the Country Parks Ordinance should be the option of last resort.

INTRODUCTION

  • Sensible and established process. The Government should conduct its search for land for housing development in a holistic manner, keeping in view the full range of society needs, using established procedures and professionals in the Planning Department and with the participation of the NGO community (Area 4 of the Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2016) and Government’s Multi-Pronged approach to finding land resources (paras 117 and 121of the 2017 Policy Address).

PRINCIPLES

  • The processes to be followed should be transparent, professional, consultative, statutory and fair. To use Hong Kong Housing Society, a quasi-Government property agency, to develop housing projects on a pre-determined site circumvents established processes, deviates from principled governance and thus is wrong in principle.  It would be seen by the public as collusion driven by vested interests for a land grab by a body conflicted by its own interest in a pro-development outcome because of having interests and objectives for building development.
  • The Government has committed to “Maintain and enhance Protected Areas” (Action 1 of the BSAP). CP is Protected Area (PA).  Logical and normal planning principles and existing policies require Protected Areas of various sorts to be considered for building development only after all other alternatives have been assessed and exhausted.  The Government, or indeed any developer, should be required to demonstrate an overriding public need before CP and PA types of land is to be excised.
  • Sensible and principled governance requires prior examination of better land options or other alternative solutions for low cost housing and elderly accommodation. All those land categories of less value to the public should be examined first before any CP land is stripped of protection for building   It is neither good planning nor principled governance to only look at using CP land when objectively this is the worst option.
  • Good planning is best achieved by following existing Government Policies for planning, conservation and land use including inter alia: –
    1. HK’s Nature Conservation Policy, the Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (which implements the Convention on Biological Diversity and other international standards and principles, and which contributes to China’s National BSAP; see BSAP 2016 4.2).
    2. the Sustainable Development Policy, which in this application means the Sustainable use of Natural Resources again based on international best practice, and
    3. Planning Department’s own principles and criteria as set out in the HK Planning Standards and Guidelines and Town Planning Ordinance.

PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS

  • Land suitable for public housing requires convenient access to mass transport such as MTR, facilities to manage high volumes of sewage and waste disposal, and other infrastructure support for urban life. CP landscapes are typically hilly. Site formation and stabilization in hilly areas increases the site footprint, development costs, time and environmental impacts.  Road access to areas hitherto protected by their remoteness would lead to degradation and trashing.  When such abuses arise, resources will be needed to ensure effective enforcement actions by relevant departments.  This will add to the costs of unsuitable places being selected.  Pursuing the CP option is no quick fix.
  • Sites suitable for the elderly require nearby medical facilities, hospitals, social services and an enhanced need for emergency vehicular access, which are not typical characteristics of CP land. Improperly selecting sites in CP land would add to the isolation and the risk to a particularly vulnerable sector of the community.

PROCESSES

  • The EIA process must be used to ensure a professional, transparent, independent, and unbiased assessment is made in the public interest. The assessment must include the impacts of the project, the cumulative impacts, and consider alternative development options other than the developer’s preferred option to avoid and reduce impacts.  This assessment must also consider other sites (e.g. brownfield sites) as alternatives to avoid the impacts.  ACE must participate in evaluating development proposals against objective criteria.  ACE and AFCD have important roles in implementing BSAP which is Hong Kong’s duty to the Nation.
  • The Country and Marine Parks Board must assess and rigorously perform its duties to protect the CP according to the objectives of the Country Parks Ordinance. It should assess and require corresponding compensation via extensions of CP to offset the losses of area and ecological and recreational functions caused by individual developments impacting CPs and their periphery.
  • The assessment must, in all cases, go through the Town Planning Board with the Board following principles, policies, and factual and expert evidence. The Board should be neutral and unbiased in its decision making process.

HIERARCHY FOR SELECTING LAND

  • A number of options exist for Government without creating new land, including:
    1. Review the current utilization of Hong Kong’s existing housing stock.
    2. Review of planned uses of existing Government land banks and reclamations. Planned uses should be re-assessed vis-a-vis low-cost housing and elderly accommodation.  Notably, land sold to developers for private luxury housing does not yield low-cost housing while the expansion of Disneyland cannot reasonably claim higher priority than low-cost housing on the existing designated reclamation land.
    3. Re-purposed industrial areas and buildings. Experience has shown that old factory buildings can be repurposed for a variety of uses reflecting the city’s changing needs.  Alternatively, clusters of such buildings could be re-developed through holistic planning to serve the specific needs of our ageing population, with retirement villages, hospitals, day care centres and recreational facilities.
  • The priority for selecting land for public low cost housing and elderly accommodation in Hong Kong should be based on a hierarchy of categories of land in which Country Parks and Special Areas designated under the Country Parks Ordinance should only be the option of last resort. The following paragraphs set out the hierarchy in descending order of priority.
    1. New Development Areas, New Town Extension Projects and Comprehensive Development Areas The 2017 Policy Address paras 117 and 121 state that the priority is to develop areas concentrated with brownfield sites. The developments in Hung Shui Kiu, Yuen Long South and Kwu Tung North/Fanling NDA’s currently underway cover 380 hectares of brownfield sites.  We support this as a part of the strategy.
    2. Brownfield The area of brownfield sites has been estimated to be more than 1,000 hectares by a civil society team.  The results of Planning Department’s 2017 Brownfield Site Survey should be made available to the public and assist in the release of brownfield land for low-cost housing and elderly accommodation as a priority. While there is no official definition of brownfield site, however, in order of degradation/ownership we suggest it includes the following categories, which could overlap: –
      • Quasi-industrial land, open storage, and unauthorised existing uses, also on urban fringes. Most of the land is highly degraded, and mostly private land.
      • Govt Land and Private Land such as empty schools and potential podiums above infrastructure, utilities, highways, railways, and roadside areas.
      • Degraded or idle Government Land, such as worksites, old schools, temporary carparks and others.
    3. Only when the above categories have been considered and exhausted should the following categories be considered, in descending order of priority.
      • Degraded farmland of low ecological value and with poor potential for restoration to productive agriculture. About 850 hectares exist for assessment. Some 850 hectares of such farmland is located in the proximity of roads or railways and/or on the periphery of existing towns and so have potential for housing development at relatively lower costs and in shorter time-scale.
      • Unprotected Countryside, mostly Govt Land, a high percentage of Hong Kong.
      • Active or good quality Farmland.
      • Conservation zonings of various types including GB, CA, SSSI; Priority Sites under the 2004 New Nature Conservation Policy and CP Enclaves; Reservoirs and catchments and Country Parks and Special Areas.
  • Whenever land with recreation, ecological or heritage values are considered for housing development due process should be followed in assessing the impacts and corresponding compensation measures. Recognizing the public’s growing concern and effectiveness in blocking or delaying development projects in areas of high recreation, ecological and heritage values, all assessments should follow global best practice and principles including the following:
    1. Ratcliffe Criteria, 1977, originally for SSSI and partly used in EIAO TM, as refined for Hong Kong by Barretto and Kendrick 2007. (summary extract below)
    2. EIAO TM Criteria at Annex 8 Criteria for Evaluating Ecological Impact, Annex 16 Guidelines for Ecological Assessment, which requires Avoidance, Minimizing and Compensation for impacts.
    3. Principles applicable to Hong Kong, as confirmed in relevant court cases, include inter alia “holistic conservation” which requires protecting a watershed or landscape as a whole and cumulative impact assessment. Such criteria assist in replacing vague terms like “relatively low ecological and public enjoyment value” in Policy Address para 117.
    4. Compensation, with No net loss of Country Park or ecological function. For every piecemeal loss caused by each specific development project, especially at the periphery of CP and other ecologically significant areas, there must be immediate and correspondingly compensation, enhancement and restoration.  Compensation for loss at the periphery of CP is part of the Government Policy Address 2017 para 117.  Compensation should be made for losses of ecologically and recreationally valuable countryside outside CP also because loss of buffer (especially Green Belt) can cause major ecological damage in the long term.
    5. Public Enjoyment of Country Parks is the paramount reason against CP delivers Quality of Life through the provision of essential recreation for Hong Kong’s hard-working population, such as relaxation, hiking, picnic, physical exercise, enjoying the natural scenery and fresh air, nature photography, observations of trees, birds and wildlife, , see BSAP 2016 generally.  These benefits and values are enjoyed by at least 11.4 million visitors a year (AFCD figures for Country Parks 2014), and innumerable morning exercise practitioners all over Hong Kong.  Studies show our aging population increasingly rely on good environment for maintaining their quality of life.
    6. Other ecosystem services from the Countryside to be valued include inter alia:
      1. Water Resources (particularly water catchment areas),
      2. Reducing urban heat island effects,
  • Health protection and Traditional Chinese Medicine sources,

(See BSAP 2016 pages 4-7 and BSAP Action 17 Identify Ecosystem services.)

  • The Countryside now at risk is about half of the Hong Kong 80% of Hong Kong used to be green or Countryside.  Half of this is protected as CP (40% of HK land area), but the other half of the Countryside is NOT.  The Unprotected Countryside which is now being lost every day by piecemeal developments and abusive uses.  Thus the 80% green is declining to between 75-80%.  The actual losses of Countryside, being planned or on-going, must be assessed and the public informed.
  • Taking a National perspective Hong Kong’s protected areas network (PAN) is a de facto National Park in southern China. It represents a significant contribution to the fulfilment of the Central Government’s Plan for the Development of the Bay Area of the Pearl River Estuary (Plan) as a “green and healthy living environment”.  Having building developments in such areas would undermine the capacity of our PAN to fulfil this function.  Hong Kong must not appear to be reaping the benefits of the Plan, while at the same time undermining its intentions.

CONCLUSIONS

  • HKCF proposes that Government can achieve the Policy Objective to find land for public low-cost housing and elderly accommodation by following existing policies, best practice and principled governance and adhering to processes which are transparent, professional, statutory, fair and therefore welcomed by the public, so as to achieve sustainable use of natural resources, in particular our precious Countryside.
  • The approach to selecting land for such purposes in Hong Kong should be based on a hierarchy of categories in which Country Parks and Special Areas designated under the Country Parks Ordinance should be the option of last resort. HKCF proposes this approach to be adopted in Hong Kong for selecting land for development in future.  This would mainstream sustainability and conservation principles into planning and land use (which is a key part of the BSAP policy, Action 9).  Good governance based on these policy solutions helps value and protect our countryside, with sensible choices for the future based on sound principles.

The Hong Kong Countryside Foundation

1 August 2017

 


Abbreviations

BSAP               Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, December 2016

CA                   Conservation Area

CP                    Country Park and Special Area

EIAO TM         ,Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance Technical Memorandum

GB                   Green Belt

SSSI                 Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Notes

The parts of the Ratcliffe Criteria (1977) essential to considering encroachments into Country Parks include the loss of buffer functions, the green corridor or ecological function and connectivity values of any periphery being considered for housing.  Fragmentation impact will be accelerated. Landscapes are easily lost.  All the criteria are relevant and were updated for use in Hong Kong, and extracted from Barretto and Kendrick 2007, Proceedings of the First South East Asian Lepidoptera Symposium 2006, page 93, as follows:

  1. Size
  2. Diversity, including wildlife Abundance/richness, species Assemblages, regional Comparison
  3. Rarity, including Uniqueness and endemicity
  4. Recorded history, including Age and Recreatability
  5. Fragility, including Recreatability, Nursery/Breeding ground
  6. Typicalness
  7. Naturalness
  8. Position in Ecological Unit, including Fragmentation and Ecological Linkage, (See BSAP Action 4 Maintain habitat connectivity for wildlife).
  9. Intrinsic Appeal, including Natural Landscape Beauty
  10. Potential value

 

1 Aug 2017
The Foundation submitted to the Chief Executive, the Chief Secretary for Administration, Financial Secretary, the Secretary for Development, the Secretary for Transport & Housing and the Secretary for Environment, its position paper on country parks in the context of land search for public housing and elderly accommodation.

(Full paper available for download: 20170801 HKCF’s Position Paper on Country Parks )

2017年8月1日
基金就有關找尋土地供廉租公營房屋及非牟利老人院等用途的政策目標,向特首、政務司司長、財政司、發展局局長、運輸及房屋局局長及環境局局長遞交一份立場書。

(全文只有英文版本,見上連結附件)

27 Jul 2017                                                              Two agriculture experts, Dr Anthony Tse and Mr Yip Tsz Lam, paid a technical visit to Lai Chi Wo, to appreciate the ongoing agricultural effort.  They also offered advice on farming practice and related infrastructure issues.

(From left to right) Dr. Anthony Tse, HKCF Chairman Lam Chiu Ying & Director Ng Cho Nam and Mr. Yip Tsz Lam.                   (左至右)謝天佑博士、鄉郊基金主席林超英先生、董事吳祖南博士,及葉子林先生。
2017年7月27日                                                        謝天佑博士及葉子林先生兩位農業專家,到荔枝窩展開了技術訪問,了解進行中的農業活動,以及為荔枝窩的農耕工作和相關配套提供了寶貴意見。

29 Apr 2017
Transplanting of paddy seedlings took place in Lai Chi Wo.

Volunteers getting first-hand experience in seedling transplant with bare feet.                 義工們親身體驗赤足蒔田。
2017年4月29日                                                         荔枝窩進行插秧。

4 Feb 2017
HKCF board members and staff joined the spring banquet of Hing Chun Yeuk at Lai Chi Wo to celebrate Chinese New Year.

HKCF board directors, village representatives of Lai Chi Wo and senior villagers of Hing Chun Yeuk in front of the temple.                                                                    鄉郊基金董事會成員、荔枝窩村長與慶春約耆英在協天宮前合照。
2017年2月4日
鄉郊基金同人出席慶春約在荔枝窩舉辦的春茗,共慶新春。

15 Jan 2017 
The first farmers’ market in Lai Chi Wo under the HSBC-supported village project “Sustainable Lai Chi Wo” took place in Lai Chi Wo to promote local produce.
The villagers, farmers and project staff jointly operated the farmers’ market at Lai Chi Wo.                                                                          村民、農夫與項目同事們一起運作荔枝窩農墟。

 

2017年1月15日            
匯豐銀行支持的「永續荔枝窩」計劃首次舉辦農墟,推廣荔枝窩在地出產農作物。

Sustainable Lai Chi Wo

永續荔枝窩

The Hong Kong Countryside Foundation has been working closely with the villagers of Lai Chi Wo Village since 2011, jointly exploring ways to revitalise this beautiful and culturally rich village.  In 2011, the village was mostly deserted and the fields had been fallow for decades and were generally overgrown with shrubs.  Many village houses with traditional tiled roof were slowly crumbling.  Actions were urgently needed to re-populate the village and to bring back meaningful employment for its residents.  Otherwise the village might become yet another abandoned village in the New Territories, and would be forgotten within a decade or so.

香港鄉郊基金自2011 年開始與荔枝窩村民緊密接觸,積極探求方法, 希望恢復這條文化豐盈和風景優美的鄉村。2011年的時候,村裏人去樓空,田地荒廢了幾十年,長滿野草雜木,不少村屋的傳統金字瓦頂逐漸崩塌,有逼切需要重新建立常住人口,並把有意義的工作機會帶回本村,否則新界又會增添一條荒村,十年八載以後,荔枝窩會被世人遺忘。

In 2013, with the assistance of villagers keen for bringing life back to the village, the Foundation managed to rent some 40,000 sq metres of farm land from the villagers.  On this basis, the Foundation partnered with the Policy for Sustainability Lab (then known as Kadoorie Institute) of the University of Hong Kong, Produce Green Foundation and Conservancy Association in a multi-year, multi-disciplinary, village re-vitalisation project supported by HSBC viz. “Living Water and Community Revitalisation: An Agriculture-led Action, Engagement and Incubation Programme at Lai Chi Wo” <http://www.socsc.hku.hk/psl/laichiwo/>This project, known as “Sustainable Lai Chi Wo” for short, has turned out to be tremendously successful, much beyond expectation.

鄉郊基金於2013年獲得衷心復村的村民協助,向村民承租了約4萬平方米的農地。有了這個基礎,鄉郊基金與香港大學策動永續發展坊(前身為嘉道理研究所)、綠田園基金及長春社等伙伴,並得到香港上海匯豐銀行支持,共同進行跨學科的鄉村活化計劃,全稱為「永續荔枝窩 – 農業復耕及鄉村社區營造計劃」http://www.socsc.hku.hk/psl/laichiwo/,簡稱「永續荔枝窩」,幾年間成績遠超預期,令人振奮。

Under the project, the fields and associated irrigation channels were rehabilitated step by step.  The first crop of rice in 2014 was an emotional event, bringing back the fond memories of many indigenous villagers and re-connecting them to the soil of their home village.  Since then, the area under active cultivation has steadily grown.  Traditional crops such as maize, turnip, taro, ginger, papaya (non-GM), etc., have been re-introduced alongside other innovative species.

本計劃開始時,先逐步修復耕地和灌溉用的圳溝,2014年收穫第一造米是令人感動的時刻,勾起村民許多兒時村裏的美好回憶,也將他們重新與鄉土連繋起來。接著幾年,陸續擴大恆常耕作的土地,同時重新引進傳統作物如粟米、蘿蔔、芋、薑、木瓜(非基因改造)等,以及其他新品種。

The resumption of farming and the organisation of training and education activities under the project brought an unprecedented number of volunteers and visitors to Lai Chi Wo, giving the village a new breath of life.  The first residents, associated with the project, settled down in the village in 2014.  They were later joined by returning villagers who provide services to visitors.  Increasingly, villagers are returning for short stays or for winter.  Some have even opted for part-time farming at Lai Chi Wo, their home village.

恢復農耕加上計劃裏的訓練和教育活動,為荔枝窩帶來義工和訪客,人流量多年未見,村裏重現活力和生氣。隨著計劃展開,第一批新居民2014年到來定居,接著有原居民回流村裏為訪客提供服務,回鄉小住的村民漸多,也有僑居海外的村民回鄉渡冬,部份甚至變身休閑農夫,在家鄉種起田來。

The opening up of the fields has led to the restoration of the beautiful, traditional rural landscape typical of villages in Hong Kong in the past.  Together with careful management of “visual corridors”, Lai Chi Wo now proves to be very attractive to local tourists from the city.  It has even caught the attention of foreign visitors, such that Lai Chi Wo is now featured by Lonely Planet as a top destination in Hong Kong.

荔枝窩村開田之後,重新展現昔日的優美傳統鄉郊風貌,配合悉心管理的「景觀走廊」,十分吸引本地遊客前來造訪,連海外遊客也加以垂青,以致成為世界著名旅遊出版社「Lonely Planet」推薦的香港首選旅遊目的地。

The project is conscious of the importance of maintaining balance and harmony between nature and culture based on agriculture.  It therefore requires that farming be conducted in an ecologically friendly manner.  Monitoring by HKU partners have confirmed that the resumption of traditional farming practice has a positive effect on biodiversity, in terms of butterflies, dragonflies, reptiles, amphibians etc.

「永續荔枝窩」計劃深明自然與農耕文化之間必須保持平衡與和諧,因此要求耕作以對生態友善的方式進行。合作伙伴香港大學的團隊對荔枝窩的蝴蝶、蜻蝏、爬蟲和兩棲類進行了長期監察,數據確認恢復傳統農耕對「生物多樣性」起了正面提升作用。

The project is also firmly committed to the idea of sustainable development.  Steps are taken to develop village-based economic activities for the village’s long-term well-being.  In 2017, HKU partners started running farmer markets at Lai Chi Wo, to promote local farm outputs.  In 2017,  ginger and turmeric were processed in situ at Lai Chi Wo, as an effort to generate economic value locally.

本計劃也認真實踐「永續發展」的概念,為著本村的長遠福祉,籌謀發展鄉村經濟模式。2017年初,香港大學及伙伴們開始在荔枝窩擧辦農墟,推銷本地農產品,是年收成的肉薑和黃薑也在村裏就地加工,務求把經濟增值留在本地。

This project is scheduled to end in late 2017.

本計劃將會在2017年底完結。

Photo credit: Eric Ng

 

May 2017 Lai Chi Wo: Hong Kong’s Hidden Gem (Hong Kong Lawyer)

Despite its fall into obscurity, Lai Chi Wo is once again attracting attention and inspiring hope as the site of an experimental revitalisation project, which was launched in 2013. It is managed by the Policy for Sustainability Lab of the University of Hong Kong, partnered with the Hong Kong Countryside Foundation, Produce Green Foundation and Conservancy Association with funds from HSBC. With the help of this project, some local villagers have moved back to farm and receive visitors.

http://www.hk-lawyer.org/tc/node/11478