Hong Kong star Tiffany Chan on the Hong Kong Golf Club Old Course – the government plans to resume the land and build a new town on the first three holes of the course

The Hong Kong Golf Club (HKGC) is urging members to protest plans to transform part of the Fanling Golf Course into a town for 33,600 people, claiming the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) “underrepresents the ecological value” of the land.

According to the government, the first three holes of the Old Course, home to the Hong Kong Ladies’ Open, are of “lower ecological value” and therefore can be built upon.

But the club says government studies of local fauna, particularly moths and bats, has led to “compound errors” in the EIA released last month and asks members to write to the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) to challenge the plans.

Traffic congestion will be an issue, says HKGC’s report, with Fan Kam Road being a bottleneck.

The road adjacent to the golf course is narrow, fast and dangerous

Fan Kam Road is narrow and already made dangerous by speeding vehicles. Cyclist Mr Wong, 55, was killed by a public light bus on the road last May, while countless crashes along the road have littered the verge with vehicle debris along the entire length of the HKGC land.

Furthermore, the club says EPD is mistaken to claim there are no “old and valuable trees (OVTs) on the land, since OVTs are not recorded on private land.

“Many of the [trees] will become registrable as OVTs as soon as Government resumes the land,” says the club’s report.

The club also criticises the government’s process, claiming they were not consulted by government at all during the EIA study.

If the government proceeds, HKGC warns, the proposed development “will result in serious irreversible consequences, including chaotic traffic conditions, flooding problems […] and over-capacity of the sewerage system in the North District.”

The EIA dismisses traffic problems and says noise from a nearby road will be mitigated using special road surface and through the use of sound-proof windows in apartments and the school.

The club is urging members writing to EPD to “not directly copy our consultant’s high level comments”, a nod to the government’s longstanding practice of discounting identical or copied comments in public consultations.

The public comment period to the EIA ends on 18 June.

EPD this morning said it was not responsible for the EIA’s consultation with stakeholders, and that questions on why HKGC had not been consulted should be addressed to the Civil Engineering & Development Department (CEDD) which, it said, was the project proponent.

The Fanling devleopment was one of eight recommended by the Task Force on Land Supply and endorsed by the government in February 2019.

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