Macau Post Daily
Lau says Guia Lighthouse high-rise study ‘in its final stage’
A study and plan concerning efforts to solve the ongoing dispute over a 126-metre tallresidential construction project close to the world-heritage protected Guia Lighthouse is “in itsfinal stage,” Secretary for Transport and Public Works Lau Si Io told lawmakers yesterday. The GuiaLighthouse, which has a height of about 15 metres, stands on top of Guia Hill, which has a height of90 metres. The lighthouse is one of Macau’s most popular tourist spots.
At the end of last year, the Macau government received a “letter of concern” from the CulturalHeritage Conservation UNESCO Office in Beijing and the State Administration of Cultural Heritageabout the impact of high-rise building projects near the hill. The letter expressed particularconcern about the ongoing construction of the 126-metre tall building on the slopes of Guia Hill.
So far, about 10 floors of what some residents have described as a “monster building” have alreadybeen completed.
Mr. Lau made the remark during a question and answer session at Legislative Assembly. He stressedthat the Lands, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) and the Cultural Affairs Bureau (ICM) werecooperating in the effort to protect the “main view” of the Guia Lighthouse against encroachment byhigh-rise buildings in its vicinity.
Mr. Lau said the government would announce the outcome of the study and plan “in due course,”pledging that the Guia Lighthouse’s main view of the Outer Harbour ferry terminal, Golden LotusFlower Plaza and Tap Seac Plaza would be protected from high-rise building projects. Last year, thegovernment limited the height of building projects on Avenida do Doutor Rodrigo Rodrigues to 90metres. All height limitations in the area had been lifted by then secretary for public works andtransport Ao Man Long, who was sentenced to 27 years’ imprisonment for corruption and moneylaundering last month.
The government is considering to order a decrease in the height of the controversial 126-metre tallresidential building project, Secretary for Social Affairs and Cultural Fernando Chui Sai On told themedia last month upon departure for a working visit to Beijing for consultations with officials ofthe State Administration of Cultural Heritage and the National UNESCO Commission on its “newproposal” to solve the protracted dispute over high-rise construction projects in areas surroundingGuia Hill.
At that time, Mr. Chui insisted that the all of the current high-rise building projects adjacent toGuia Hill were outside the government’s world-heritage protection and buffer zones. However, he saidthe government was doing its best to maintain close coordination with the building developersconcerned and still hoped that the heights of the respective building projects could be adjusted ifneed be.
Mr. Chui also insisted that the government was keen to protect Macau’s world heritage. “It[Macau’s world heritage] is of universal value, and Macau’s world heritage is one of the 31 itemson our nation’s world heritage list. The government is doing its best to comply with the principlesguiding the protection of cultural heritage,” the policy secretary said last month. The GuiaLighthouse is said to be the oldest Western-style lighthouse in the southern Chinese coast. It wasbuilt in 1864-65.
According to UNESCO rules, world-heritage sites deemed “in danger” are those affected by “armedconflict and war, earthquakes and other natural disasters, pollution, poaching, and uncontrolledurbanization and unchecked tourism development.”
In direct response to the public concern over the issue, the Liaison Office of the Central People’sGovernment in Macau announced last year that it decided to have the height of the future headquartersin Zape lowered from the originally planned 99.12 metres to 88 meters to ensure that it will notaffect the view of the lighthouse.
Most of the high-rise building projects “threatening” the Guia Lighthouse were reportedly approvedby Mr. Ao.