By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) stressed yesterday “The Action Plan for the Bay Area of the Pearl River Estuary” provides only a conceptual framework, and assured that “a lot more” public consultations concerning the specific plans will be launched independently in Macau in the near future.
The public consultation for the study on the action plan, which began simultaneously on January 14 across Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau, will end tomorrow.
However, the bilingual public consultation digest, in Chinese and English, seem to have gone unnoticed in both SARs until recently when media questioned the lack of publicity of this large-scale regional plan in the general public.
On the DSSOPT website, information of the action plan is not visible and no news regarding the month-long public consultation is announced.
With an objective to enhance livability and emphasis on actions, the study, jointly produced by the authorities in Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen, Dongguan, Guangzhou, Zhuhai and Zhongshan, aims to facilitate development of the Bay Area as the focal point of “quality living area” in the Greater Pearl River Delta region and a “pioneer area” for the transformation of the economic development mode of the region, the public consultation digest says.
Recommended key actions include establishing a cross-border ecological resources network, preserving regional green space, creating a waterway network, setting up cultural precincts, promoting green transport, building low-carbon communities, cooperating in environmental protection, as well as facilitating convenient border crossing.
According to a DSSOPT spokeswoman, the Study Team visited Macau on January 31 where related Government departments, local scholars and experts were invited to express opinions on the proposals outlined in the study.
DSSOPT is the department leading the project on the Macau side.
The spokeswoman told the Macau Daily Times by phone yesterday that the study is only “conceptual and preliminary” that doesn’t give any specific planning but a direction for future development.
She also said that since the plan involves “strong level of professionalism” and the policy orientation of the three Governments, the Study Team thus intended to collect comments from officials and experts first of all.
Although the current public consultation will finish tomorrow, she said members of the general public from Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau will be able to continue to submit their opinions through the website of the study, http://www.prdbay.com/.
The spokeswoman did admit that the bureau understood the public’s concerns, and disclosed that in the future Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau will respectively launch consultations for “a large amount of sub-plans” to support the implementation of the key actions.
“The current public consultation is just the beginning, the process won’t end right after that, there will be a lot more to come,” the spokeswoman told the MDTimes.
She said the bureau will consider reinforcing promotion of the action plan in society.