The Macau Post Daily (January 10, 2007)
Heritage expert ‘concerned’ over Guia Lighthouse
An invited assistant professor of the Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT) urged the government yesterday to “look carefully” at the question of whether planned high-rise construction in the Outer Harbour (Zape) would have a “negative impact” on the view of, and view from the historic Guia Lighthouse.
Mr. Imon also appealed to the government o find a “balance” between urban development and heritage conservation.
The heritage management expert stressed that the UNESCO in Paris has a so-called “World Heritage in Danger List” that comprises properties deemed by the organization to be in peril because of adverse developments in their surroundings. In case of a world-heritage property’s inclusion in the “danger list,” the UNESCO may issue a warning in order to urge the respective country [China in the case of Macau] to “stop the damage” and to remedy the situation.
Mr. Imon indicated that if Macau’s world-heritage sites, which include the Guia Lighthouse, would turn out to be “endangered” by “negative impact” developments, Macau might end up on the UNESCO’s “danger list.”
According to Mr. Imon, based on its historic significance the view of the Guia Lighthouse is as important as the view from the lighthouse. He pointed out that, for example, in Paris no building was permitted to be higher than the Eiffel Tower, adding that the UNESCO had, for instance, issued world-heritage “danger list” warnings to Nepal about the Katmandu Valley and to India about the Taj Mahal.
“Heritage is an asset that we cannot recreate,” Mr. Imon said, adding, “If it’s gone, it will be gone forever. So we have to maintain it carefully since it can be very easily damaged.”
Meanwhile, the director of the Lands, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT), Jaime Roberto Carion, said in a statement yesterday the government was committed to striving to “ensure a harmonious approach” towards its urban development drive in Zape (Outer Harbour Land Reclamation Zone), such as by pursuing a “coordinated” planning process regarding the permitted height of buildings in Zape and the “contours” of the Guia Hill.”’
Mr. Carion made the remark in a statement addressed to directly elected lawmaker Au Kam San, who had asked the government for information on its Zape development plans.
Some lawmakers, historians and other citizens have voiced concern that the planned construction of three high-rise buildings in Zape could “block” the view of (and view from) the Guia Lighthouse, which is one of Macau’s internationally best-known landmarks.