Support Po Toi Country Park

Po Toi is the southern-most island of Hong Kong. The special geographical location together with the natural environment makes the island a crucial refueling stop for migratory birds. More than 300 species - 60% of the Hong Kong Total - have been recorded from the island. The famous rock formations such as the Coffin Rock, Palm Cliff and Tortoise Climbing up the Mountain attract many hikers. Meanwhile, it is a natural habitat of the endemic Romer's Tree Frog which is internationally endangered. 

In early 2012, extensive trashing of the important bird habitat and landscape on Po Toi - with the intention of facilitating unauthorised columbarium development - led to the designation of the Development Permission Area Plan by the Planning Department to regulate the unauthorized developments. In the same year, HKBWS initiated "Support Po Toi Country Park" compaign. We wrote a proposal for a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Support for Country Park Designation on Po Toi Island (Po Toi Country Park Proposal), which was submitted to the Town Planning Board in May 2012 as our comment on the Po Toi Islands Development Permission Area Plan. This proposal is a detailed ecological report documenting the conservation value of Po Toi, important species and habitats and in particular the importance of Po Toi to migratory birds. It also request the government to designate Po Toi as Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Country Park. In fact, the Planning Department has suggested in 2001 that Po Toi Islands should be designated as Country Park but this has not happened.
 
During the plan-making process of the Po Toi Islands in 2015 to 2016, two developers have also submitted proposals for columbarium development with a total of 7,850 niches. We revised the Po Toi Country Park Proposal and submitted to the Chief Executive, Secretary for Environment and AFCD. Meanwhile, we, together with The Conservancy Association, Designing Hong Kong, Green Power and WWF - Hong Kong, urge the government to designate Po Toi Islands as Country Park to provide long-term protection. This proposal was widely supported by local Po Toi villagers and over 7,000 members of the public. The Town Planning Board eventually decided to reduce the area of the "Residential (Group D)" zone and reject the columbarium development.
 
Although Po Toi Islands Outline Zoning Plan has been gazetted in 2016 and about 72% of the islands are zoned as Coastal Protection Area or Conservation Area, development pressure still exists. We think that by designating Country Park for Po Toi, its landscape, ecological, cultural and recreational values can be well-protected against destruction.
 
 
 HKBWS's Proposal for a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Support for Country Park Designation on Po Toi Island

*Special thanks to Geoff Welch who birded at Po Toi for years and compile all the records of birds at Po Toi and participated in the writing of this report, photographers who provided photos for the report, and MaoMorning who designed the logo for the Po Toi Campaign.

 

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