League of Guia Lighthouse Protectors offers two solutions
Macau Post Daily
April 25 2007
The League of Guia Lighthouse Protectors has submitted a “public letter” to the government to suggest two alternative solutions to the issue of shielding the view of the world-heritage monument on Guia Hill from “intrusion” by three high-rise building projects in Zape.
The League said in the letter, which was issued on Monday night, that the Cultural Affairs Bureau (ICM) and the Lands, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) had failed to keep their promise of maintaining “close cooperation” with civil society in finding a solution to the issue. The letter maintained that both government bureaus had also failed to consult the public on the matter.
In the letter, the League said that the government might “suddenly” announce a new development for the affected area in the Outer Harbour Land Reclamation Zone (Zape) that would fail to take public opinion into account. Due to its concern, the League said it had collected a host of different views on the issue, resulting in its presentation of two proposals to solve the matter. The League said the two suggestions were meant to encourage public discussion on the issue,
According to the first suggestion, the government could solve the “conflict” between the planned high-rise buildings in Zape and the Guia Lighthouse view by offering the respective developers alternative plots of land of equal value elsewhere in Macau so that the three plots of lands in Zape could be converted into “green space” instead.
According to the second suggestion, the government should maintain the height restrictions that previously applied to the area in front of Guia Hill if the proposed “land swap” was not possible. The previous restrictions, which were reportedly lifted by secretary for transport and public works Ao Man Long before his detention for alleged corruption last December, limited the height of buildings in the “sensitive” area to just between 15 metres and 20.5 metres – as against a current maximum building height ranging between 90 metres and 99.9 metres
Earlier media reports indicated that one of the three controversial building projects was planned to be 135 metres high, while the new headquarters of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Macau was originally designed to reach the symbolic height of 99.9 metres (in commemoration of Macau’s return to the motherland at midnight on December 19, 1999).
The Liaison Office pledged earlier this year the height of its new headquarters will be lowered to ensure that the building will not block the Lighthouse view. The developers of the two other planned high-rise buildings in the area have still to announce their intentions following a public outcry over their plans that, if completed, would have blocked the view of, and from the Guia Lighthouse that is one of Macau’s best-known landmarks and one of its world-heritage monuments protected by the UNESCO.
The League said it hoped the government could listen to citizens’ views on the controversial issue and raise the level of transparency and public participation.