By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
Some members of the Advisory Committee for Old Neighbourhood Renewal have expressed concerns over environmental protection in the Ilha Verde urbanisation plan during a meeting yesterday.
Chief of the urban planning department of the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT), Lao Iong, told reporters the committee members were mostly concerned about whether the Government has supporting measures to protect the ecology in the Duck Canal and the Ilha Verde hill as well as whether the construction of a underground car park in the area would harm the growth of plants.
Lao said the SAR Government has already established a mechanism with Guangdong province and Zhuhai aimed at conducting research on issues in relation to the Duck Canal and the surrounding environment.
He added that studies on the Zhuhai-Macau coordination and spatial development work plans will also be implemented this year under the Framework Agreement on Guangdong/Macau Cooperation signed earlier this month in Beijing.
Since Macau has scarce land resources and building heights are subject to restrictions to conserve heritage, Lao said the use of underground space has become a “world trend”.
He said the Government is confident that by making use of “technical means” a balance can be struck between environmental conservation and new space exploitation.
Alameda Dutor Carlos d’Assumpção in Nape, he added, is a successful example of the use of underground space.
Lao also revealed that some of the private land owners in Ilha Verde were keen to learn more about the urbanisation plan.
He said the land owners deemed that the new planning offers “better supporting facilities and development prospects” for the district, adding Guangdong-Macau regional cooperation, the future transformation of the Zhuhai/Macau Cross-Border Industrial Zone and new border infrastructure are also set to encourage the land owners to participate in the facelift of Ilha Verde.
The urbanisation plan covers 238,800 square metres of land and will be carried out in 52 parcels across the area.
Since the Government will permanently move the fuel halfway house away from Ilha Verde, the official disclosed that the Government is studying whether Macau still needs such a facility and if so, where its new location should be.
“Past work and consultation experiences showed that relocating the halfway house to any of the places where people have already settled will not be accepted by society, so we don’t rule out the possibility to seek for appropriate land in the future reclaimed land,” Lao said.
“The specific location may become clear when the second phase of the consultation on the new urban area planning is held,” he added.
The official has previously announced that the Government will strive to move the halfway house within the next two years.
Furthermore, Lao said a meeting will be held in early April with the urban planning special committee from Guangdong, to discuss solutions for the long-existing flooding problem in the Inner Harbour.
The group will also look at ways to revitalize the area, conserve cultural heritage and improve the living and business environment for local people.