Since 2014 Ramboll has been the environmental consultant for two development sites adjacent to the Hong Kong Wetland Park (HKWP) with a total site area of about 14 ha providing 2,470 residential units.
Hong Kong Wetland Park
The HKWP is a conservation, education and tourism facility, in Tin Shui Wai, Yuen Long, an ecological mitigation area for the wetlands (mainly fishponds) historically lost due to Tin Shui Wai New Town development. The Hong Kong Wetland Park comprises a 10,000 m2 visitor centre, Wetland Interactive World, and a 60-hectare wetland reserve constructed of habitats specially designed for waterbirds.
There are 273 species of birds recorded at the reserve, approximately 50% of all local bird species recorded. In addition to birds, ecological surveys recorded a variety of other species especially the wetland indicators of dragonflies, amphibians and reptiles, and a large diversity of butterfly food and nectar plants.
Minimising impact on wetland ecology
As the development sites are right next to the HKWP and located in the wetland buffer area for the Mai Po Ramsar site, a number of measures at the design and construction stages are required to minimize its impact on the wetland ecology.
A neighbouring development site had aroused a lot of concerns to the HKWP, and so the environmental impact, in particular on the ecological aspect, were of significant concern for this project during the statutory environmental and planning approval processes.
The environmental assessment was critically reviewed by environmental groups, the HKWP and the government, resulting in stringent environmental protection requirements and further environmental submissions on project design and before and during construction prescribed in the planning approval conditions and land lease to enforce their implementation.
Ecological mitigation and enhancement measures in project design and implementation
The design consideration included the provision of 30m non-build area which served as a buffer between the development and more sensitive areas of the HKWP.
The development adopted a stepped layout design. The towers closest to HKWP are the lowest, and the ones closest to Tin Shui Wai Town Centre are capped at 10 storeys. This ensures that the prevailing winds from HKWP blowing towards Tin Shui Wai Town Centre remain unblocked. The development has six ventilation breezeways, with the main breezeway 35 metres wide, to ensure that Tin Shui Wai town centre enjoys sufficient natural wind. Earth tones were used in the façade to help it blend in with the wetland environment.
Noise and vibration considerations
As the construction noise and vibration impact was of grave concern to the HKWP, the adoption of quiet construction methods, the erection of noise barrier and phasing of construction works were recommended and implemented. We also conducted trial piling works to demonstrate to the HKWP the piling methods and anticipated noise level would not cause adverse impact. A real-time noise monitoring station was also established to alert the construction team, before the noise level exceeded the agreed criteria with the HKWP.
A comprehensive environmental and ecological audit and monitoring programme was implemented during project construction. Our ecologist conducted weekly avifauna surveys throughout the construction period and continuously assess the abundance and trends of wetland birds in the area to confirm the wetland birds population in the HKWP were not adversely affected by the works. The reports were submitted to HKWP and other relevant authorities monthly.
Ramboll successfully took the client through the project planning, design and implementation stages. Our involvement not only assisted the client in gaining the various statutory approvals, the outcome of the assessment and continuous environmental monitoring also reinforced the environmental acceptability of the project.
The Wetland Seasons Park (Lot 34) went on sale in 2021 while Wetland Seasons Bay (Lot 33) will complete in 2022. No environmental complaints were received.