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Sha Tin Ma Liu Shui Reclamation Plan: Environmental Challenges and Impact Assessment

The Ma Liu Shui reclamation project is located near Sha Tin/Ma On Shan, covering an area of approximately 60 hectares, similar to the scope of the 2018 land debate. The project is planned to be carried out in stages starting from 2029 and will employ non-dredging reclamation methods. The reclamation and related marine works may potentially have an impact on the nearby terrestrial and marine ecosystems, including air pollution, water pollution, noise, and glare generated by vessel traffic, which could affect habitats and wildlife in sensitive ecological areas such as the intertidal zone, subtidal zone, and benthic habitats. It may also affect the conservation value of coral communities in the Tolo Harbour waters and the heronry in the Penfold Park.

Within a 500-meter radius of the reclamation area, potential air-sensitive receivers include residential areas, educational institutions, recreational facilities, commercial establishments, other facilities, and government, institutional, or community resources. These include residential areas such as Chuang Yuen Court, CUHK postgraduate residences, CUHK student hostels, Kam Tai Court, Hiufung Wan, On Hin Terrace, Harbour Place, Sea Crest Villa, The Grande Waterfront, and Harbour Heights; educational institutions such as Hong Kong Biotechnology Research Institute, CUHK Lee Shau Kee Marine Science Laboratory, CUHK Shanghai Institute of Research and Technology, SKH Ma On Shan Holy Spirit Primary School, and Tak Sun Secondary School; recreational facilities such as Sha Tin Sports Ground and CUHK Water Activities Centre; commercial uses such as Hong Kong Science Park New Tech Centre and Opto-electronics Centre; other uses such as Prince of Wales Hospital and Hyatt Regency Sha Tin; and government, institutional, or community facilities such as Police Marine Region Headquarters and Marine Region North Division Operational Base.

The reclamation project will have an impact on the visual environment surrounding Ma Liu Shui, including destinations such as Dog's Teeth Ridge, Ma On Shan, and Tolo Harbour, potentially leading to compromised scenic views and narrowing of the sea area off Sha Tin. Groups that may be affected include hikers on Ma On Shan country trail, users of Ma Liu Shui promenade and Pak Shek Kok promenade, employees in Hong Kong Science Park, and students and staff at CUHK.

The reclamation area is approximately 38 meters away from the gas company's submarine pipeline protection zone, and potential hazards will depend on the results of the environmental impact assessment. However, the documents note that the reclamation project will not be near any potentially dangerous facilities or hazardous goods warehouses.

In order to mitigate the impact on ecological resources, authorities propose a range of mitigation measures, including reducing the impact on air quality, noise, and water quality. Measures will also be considered to relocate species of significant value and create ecological shorelines to enhance habitat diversity in response to the permanent habitat loss caused by the reclamation project.

Regarding visual impact, authorities will try to minimize the construction area and temporary construction sites to avoid impacting neighboring landscapes. After the completion of the reclamation project, greening treatments will be applied to bare soil surfaces to enhance the harmony between the newly reclaimed land and the existing environment.

In summary, the Ma Liu Shui reclamation project may have some impact on the nearby ecology and visual landscape. However, authorities will take a range of mitigation measures to minimize these impacts while providing alternative habitats and environmental improvements. The reclamation project is expected to be completed gradually from 2029 and will have corresponding impacts on nearby residents, educational institutions, recreational facilities, and commercial uses. As one of the affected areas, Hong Kong Science Park will closely monitor the progress of the reclamation project and the implementation of related measures to ensure the best environmental protection and sustainable development.

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