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Building height limit "not enough" for Macao's World Heritage site
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20:23, April 16, 2008

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The height restrictions imposed on high-rise buildings constructed in the surrounding areas of Macao's Guia Hill, where a World Heritage site is located, is "not enough" to keep the site's scenery intact, said local lawmaker Ng Kuok Cheong on Wednesday.

According to a government bulletin, the Macao SAR (Special Administrative Region) government has identified a total of 11 places as Guia hill's surrounding areas, and has decided to set a height restriction of 90 meters above sea level for high-rise buildings constructed at the foot of the hill and those built in the rest of the areas will be limited to 52.5 meters above sea level.

A building with a height of 90 meters can still block the view of the heritage site, said Ng Kuo Cheong, urging the authorities to lay out detailed urban planning concerning the hill's surrounding areas for the immediate future, and arrange public consultations on the matter.

In a previous press release, the SAR government admitted that Director of UNESCO's World Heritage Center Francisco Bandarin had sent a letter to China's State Bureau of Cultural Relics, expressing his "concern" over certain construction projects that may affect the view of the Guia Lighthouse.

The Guia Lighthouse is located on top of the Guia Hill, which, measuring 91 meters, is by far the highest point of the Macao Peninsula. Built in 1865 and dubbed by experts as the first modern lighthouse on the Chinese coast, the beacon still burns nightly, providing a visual reference seen from far away.

For his part, Macao's Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Lau Si Io, noted that the decision to restrict building heights in the hill's surrounding areas were made after consulting relevant experts and the public, which is also in accordance with the SAR government's policy of sustainable development.

The government gives priority to protecting the city's world heritage sites and environment and when it comes to public affairs, people's voices will always be listened to, he added.


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