Save Pak Sha O! A call to arms by two long-term residents

Letter to the Editor by Lauralynn and Tom Goetz

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Photo: David Newbery

Dear BUZZ,
A neighbour of ours took a drone photo of Pak Sha O village on Boxing Day 2017 and we wish to publish it on SAI KUNG BUZZ with the following explanation.
The photo is courtesy of Captain David Newbery, Hoi Ha Village. The Newberys and our family have known each other for over 21 years. We first rented our current domicile in 1995 as a weekend house — we were living on HK Island as part of an expat package. We came to Pak Sha O (PSO) every weekend/holiday/summer recess. This small community of expats and local Chinese families has comprised both weekenders and full-time residents since then.
We took a few years sabbatical and returned to PSO in March 2014 to discover that almost all the PSO original Hakka families had sold or were selling their “Ding” rights to a Mainland Chinese developer. The developer intends to build up to 40 Spanish-style houses in this secluded valley. (There is no road access and one must walk almost 10 minutes on a narrow path to gain access to the village.) Whether it’s the week’s groceries or that “dead” refrigerator, everything must be brought down or hauled up to the road.
If you choose to visit PSO, we ask you to consider as you transverse the narrow concrete path, HOW will the developer construct a two-lane carriageway from Hoi Ha Road into PSO? The current path crosses both Government and private land.
Will anyone purchase a Spanish-style house in a remote valley without a carpark for at least two vehicles? Would you purchase a three-story house (two or three lavatories?) knowing that your waste outlet (a primitive septic tank) will flood at least once a year, releasing bacteria and waste into your garden?
In terms of danger to the Sai Kung Country Park water catchment area and the Hoi Ha Marine Park’s dependency upon clean water run-off from the surrounding valleys , the developer’s scheme to drain the original rice paddy has already created a massive threat to the Hoi Ha Marine Park.
(“ YOU CANNOT BUILD ON A PADDY/WETLAND”) BUT it is legal to drain a wetland to create “DRY FARM LAND (?)”  as we discovered at two hearings about the future of PSO at the Town Planning Board. The WWF has already documented a 20% of destruction to one of the last remaining refuges of our native coral species.
When you visit this secluded village on Hoi Ha Road, please give a thought about helping save not only PSO, but the entire Hoi Ha valley and it’s ecosystem!
Thanks for caring,
PSO Villagers LNT Goetz

BUZZ has reported a number of times on the threat to PSO, https://saikungbuzz.hk/2017/03/18/developers-300-environmentalists-pak-sha-o-to-be-developed-official/
https://saikungbuzz.hk/2017/02/14/town-planning-board-considers-amendments-to-draft-outline-zoning-plan-for-pak-sha-o/
https://saikungbuzz.hk/2015/10/04/new-book-on-pak-sha-o-reveals-family-histories-in-hakka-village/.
 
 

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