The Town Planning Board has rejected an application from Pui O’s controversial ‘brick wall’ wetland plot to convert the site into agricultural use.
The site owner, Ms Au-Yeung Kam Ping, had asked to convert the 411 sq metre site into a farmland plot covered with landfill 1.2m high.
But in a ruling Friday the TPB said Au-Yeung failed to provide sufficient information about the material used for landfill, could not justify the need for the 1.2m high landfill and was unable to demonstrate “no adverse impact on surrounding areas” (see full decision below).
The board said approval “would set an undesirable precedent” for similar applications within the Coastal Protection Area.
While this is a victory for local residents and environmental activists who have campaigned against the destruction of this wetland site, the TPB decision relates only to the application to turn the land-use into farmland. The board does not rule on environmental harm or on the legality of the landfill.
The owner, Au-Yeung, has courted local notoriety by building a brick wall around the site.
Additionally, Environmental Protection Department surveillance cameras caught trucks dumping landfill on the plot before the department had given permission to fill.
It is not clear who was responsible for the dumping, but activists are furious that the EPD still gave the go-ahead for the landfilling despite knowing that fly-tipping – a criminal offence – had taken place.
And despite the video evidence in its possession the EPD has been unwilling to use its powers to pursue and arrest the fly-tippers or to order a stop to the landfilling.
A Judicial Review decision on the EPD’s handling of these wetland landfill cases is pending, based on a similar case on a nearby Pui O site three years ago.