Anyone walking along Sai Kung’s magnificent promenade or gazing out over the harbour from a nearby hill top will have noticed a green island 500m from the tip of the Sai Kung Public Pier.
They might also have noticed its lush vegetation and a lovely beach and possibly a dilapidated pier and a couple of abandoned buildings near the shore. They might even have canoed there…
They will almost certainly have noticed the Black Kites which nest in large numbers there together with the rarer White-Bellied Sea Eagles.
The island is approximately 50 hectares in size, is entirely government land and only subject to one or two long disused government agricultural land leases. It has been uninhabited for decades.
There is an ongoing environmental danger, however, that the island will once again be invaded by war-gamers (BB-gunners and paint-ballers) as in 2011 or that someone will try to turn the disused leases into their elitist country retreat (as happened in 2011 in Ma On Shan Country Park above Po Lo Che Road).
So, how to prevent this happening and how to turn this beautiful asset into an area which can be reasonably enjoyed by Sai Kung residents and visitors?
Back in 2011, a Tourism Study commissioned by the District Council suggested that Yeung Chau could be connected to the promenade by a floating boardwalk and that paths around and across the island be constructed to create nature walks and beach access.
Nothing has happened at all in respect of this HK Polytechnic University study and the Friends of Sai Kung do not support the boardwalk proposal as it would interfere with dragon-boating and the free passage of pleasure vessels and boats.
I would now like to propose the following for the future of the island, in descending order of priority and difficulty:
- Make the whole of Yeung Chau a Country Park
- Cancel the agricultural leases
- Reconstruct the pier, construct a path linking the pier (on the south-west tip) to the beach and restore the buildings (on the west coast) for park warden use.
- Gazette the northern beach and provide life guards
- Construct a Nature Walk around the northern part of the island designed not to disturb any existing wildlife e.g black kites and sea eagles
I will in the meantime add Yeung Chau to my own path clearing plans for the next winter season.; volunteers, as usual, are most welcome.
Friends of Sai Kung