Monday, June 16, 2008

Lantau Island in 2026

It is not very often you stop and think 20 years into the future and imagine what a place will be like.

Lantau Map 2026 is just that.

It is written by a good friend, Gordon Andreassend.

The comments shown below were prepared in January 2006 in a project where writers gave their views of development in Lantau in 20 years time. Here is what Gordon wrote at that time.

I have known Lantau’s tracks and trails for about 40 years, and as a surveyor and a mapper had almost 30 years to look at Lantau in greater detail on Lands Department aerial photos and maps.

If I may, please let me do some crystal ball gazing, and optimistically give my views as a surveyor, as I open up the January 2026 edition of a brand new map :-


The first thing I notice is the amount of Country Park on the island. Approximately 75% of the total area ! Hong Kong is indeed fortunate that so much of Lantau’s hinterland and scenic coastal areas have been preserved this way.

The network of major roads has been developed, but not extended over the past 20 years. The most prominent route is the Expressway from the Airport and Tung Chung along the NE coast to the Tsing- Ma Bridge. The major route on the southern side of Lantau is the road from Mui Wo to Tai O, now widened to provide 3 lanes for most of its route. The link road to Ngong Ping is two lanes with passing lanes that adequately handle tourist traffic fed by the Cable Car.

The Tung Chung Road to Cheung Sha Beach is a two to three lane road, that is sufficient to handle the tourist and local traffic. All minor roads providing access to village areas are well developed.

Vehicle access on most Lantau roads is still controlled to allow use to permit holders only, and a speed-limit of 50 kph on all roads other than the expressway, has made the roads safer.

Tai O, one of the oldest settlements on the island, has expanded slightly and has been cleaned up to fit in better with its title of “the Venice of the East”. It has a flourishing cultural complex, and its harbour is well served by high-speed ferries from Hong Kong and Tuen Mun.

Mui Wo has been developed to cater for local residents, many of who work in Hong Kong and Kowloon, and as a tourist area - and locals and visitors keep the restaurants and beachfront areas busy. The face-lift given to Mui Wo beach about 10 years ago has improved this asset considerably. Part of the area has been developed with low-rise blocks, so that some areas resemble part of Discovery Bay. The improved ferry services to Central and Tsim Sha Tsui make access easy. The upgraded walking path from Discovery Bay to Mui Wo has proved to be a most popular hiking route.

Discovery Bay reached its full capacity 15 years ago and has concentrated on improvements within its allocated area. The beach area and watersport facilities have been improved to cater for locals and visitors alike. The Central ferry service, and bus routes to Tung Chung and Sunny Bay function well.

Nearby Disneyland has been extended to occupy all the Government land allocated for its use and its Disney Marineland facility is most popular. The road past Disneyland to Pa Tau Kwu gives access to the 36 hole Disney Golf Course, and is popular with local and visiting golfers. The five hotels and resorts managed by Disneyland are operating at almost full capacity.
The Lantau North Country Park and Marine Park to the north of DisneyLand, and adjacent to the golf course is well-used by visitors.

The area adjacent to the Sunny Bay MTR Station has also been developed as a recreational and waters sports area. The old buildings and jetty at Luk Keng in Yam O Wan, have been preserved as part of a heritage area, with other fishing village artifacts also on display. The log pond areas have been removed except for one log-filled display stand near the heritage area. The company hiring boats to visitors wishing to fish in the Cheung Sok area is doing well.

The CLK Airport has been expanded with the opening of the new X-terminal to the west of the old Y-shaped terminal, and the twin runways are probably running at their full capacity. The throughput of passengers has more than doubled in the post 20 years, and the use of the Conference facilities and the nearby CLK Sky City are bringing in a good return. The Heliport facility and the Business Aviation centre are functioning well.

The New Town of Tung Chung, which recently celebrated its 25th birthday, has been developed to capacity, without the reclamation that was proposed 20 years age. Its shopping malls, and its hotels are doing good business and many of the residents are employed at CLK in the airline industry, or at Disneyland. Tung Chung promises to be one of the best of the new town developments, and it is pleasing to note that the additional reclamation mooted in the past has not eventuated. The retention of the waterfront and some buildings near the old Tung Chung wharf, is a fine example of historical preservation.

The Ngong Ping 360 Cableway stands out prominently on the map, and this facility which is to feature its 20 years of existence on a Hong Kong stamp issue this year, has also helped to put Tung Chung on the map. Ngong Ping development also features on the map, and this tourist drawcard is something that Hong Kong can be proud of, while the Big Buddha still sits and smiles benignly at all he sees before him.

Cheung Sha Beach with its adjacent resort development is doing well and is popular as a tourist destination. The other resort built on the site of the former Ma Po Ping and Tong Fuk Prisons is most popular with those seeking access to the higher ground along the Lantau Trail. It is indeed fortunate that the SAR Govt was able to negotiate the repatriation of Mainland prisoners back to the PRC, to serve their prison terms. The reduction in inmate numbers has cut back on expansion, and other prisons may also be phased out soon.

Hei Ling Chau also gained a new lease of life as a resort and windsurfing centre once the prisons there were cleared.

On the northern coast, the Tai Wan Ho basin with its surrounding development of recreational and watersport facilities, has proved to be extremely popular.

The coastal walking trail from Tai O to Tung Chung has been upgraded for its entire length, and is an increasingly popular hiking route.

Following the improvements made to the Lantau Trail and other major tracks, and to the provision of designated trail bike tracks and nature trails, there has been a phenomenal increase in the use of the trails, and this has pushed Lantau ahead of the Sai Kung area as Hong Kong’s most popular recreational area. The Lantau Island Countryside Map is now the best seller of all 5 maps in the Countryside Series.

The walk from Shek Pik via Fan Lau to Tai O is very popular following the construction of the Fan Lau Historical Centre. The development of the Fitness Centre at Yi O, and construction of the fitness trail through Shui Lo Cho up to Man Cheung Po has also made this walk more popular.

I note that the map still shows in the sea above Tai O a dotted proposal for the Zhuhai - Lantau Bridge. It is indeed fortunate that the construction of more northerly connections from the PRC to the N.T., coupled with the considerable opposition from concern groups and the residents of Tung Chung, has put this project almost permanently on hold. Let’s hope that it stays that way.

Gordon Andreassend
January 2006

Thanks Gordon for those thoughts. It is interesting to see what develops in only 2 years!

Grow well
Dr Merrin


Chahya said...

I wonder if you have been to Malaysia.

Dr Merrin Pearse - Asia's #1 Ecopreneur said...

If I was to say yes then what would share next?

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