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SDEV inspects HK-funded reconstruction projects in Wolong (with photos)  
   

The Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, today (April 12) inspected reconstruction projects supported by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government in the Wolong Nature Reserve. She also officiated at the unveiling ceremony of a commemorative plaque for the projects at Wolong Primary School.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mrs Lam said that Hong Kong is supporting a total of 184 reconstruction projects in the Sichuan earthquake-stricken areas. Among them, 151 are being undertaken by the HKSAR Government, with 23 in Wolong. The Mainland has given Hong Kong two pairs of giant panda so far, adding special meaning to Hong Kong's support in the reconstruction.

"The projects financed by the HKSAR in Wolong attach equal importance to ecological conservation and the restoration of infrastructures for improving livelihood. To help Wolong develop into a world-class base for ecological conservation and scientific research, Sichuan and Hong Kong jointly appointed Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong as the honourable technical advisor for reconstruction in Wolong. Seven renowned architects from the Mainland and Hong Kong were also invited to form the Wolong Architectural Expert Group to provide voluntary expert advice on the architectural designs of two flagship projects in Wolong," said Mrs Lam.

"I wish to take this opportunity to say thanks again for the staunch support from the Central Government and the full co-operation of the Sichuan Provincial People's Government, particularly the Sichuan Development and Reform Commission, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of Sichuan Provincial People's Government, and the Sichuan Provincial Forestry Administration Department. Thanks to your assistance, the HKSAR Government's reconstruction works have been carried out smoothly. Through the reconstruction, Sichuan and Hong Kong have built up friendship and cordial partnership," she said.

The rebuilding of Wolong Primary School was completed in March this year at a cost of about RMB22 million. The new campus, with a composite teaching block, students' quarters and a sports ground, are expected to benefit about 400 children in the district.

Mrs Lam and other guests visited the classrooms and various facilities of the new campus after the ceremony. They also chatted with students and distributed gifts of stationery.

Mrs Lam is leading a delegation comprising HKSAR Government officials, the Wolong Architectural Expert Group and representatives of Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong to Wolong today and tomorrow (April 13) to inspect reconstruction projects supported by the HKSAR Government in the wake of the Sichuan earthquake.

The architectural experts in the delegation are Professor Patrick Lau, Professor Edward Ng, Professor Raymond Fung and Mr John Ng. They have voluntarily assisted the HKSAR Government over the past three years with their expert advice on architectural designs for the two flagship projects - the Giant Panda Conservation and Disease Control Centre in Dujiangyan and the China Conservation and Research Centre for Giant Panda in Gengda. Other members of the delegation include the Deputy Chief Executive of Ocean Park, Mr Matthias Li, and the Team Leader, Sichuan Reconstruction, of the Development Bureau, Mr Mak Chai-kwong.  

Accompanied by officials from the Sichuan Provincial People's Government, the delegation also inspected the construction progress of the Wolong Social Welfare Centre, the Wolong Medical and Health Centre, and the offices of the Wolong Administrative Authority this morning.

They went to Gengda Village in the afternoon to visit the construction sites of Gengda School and the China Conservation and Research Centre for Giant Panda. Costing about RMB46 million, the reconstruction of Gengda School includes a teaching complex for the secondary and primary streams as well as dormitories and rooms for office administration, which have been completed and put into use. The rest of the construction is scheduled for completion in June this year.

Situated at He Tao Ping in Wolong, the China Conservation and Research Centre for Giant Pandas was devastated by the massive earthquake in Wenchuan. Of 32 giant panda enclosures, 14 were completely destroyed and 18 badly damaged, while the giant panda hospital was on the verge of collapse. The reconstructed Centre will be divided into two functional areas - one for captive breeding and environmental education, and the other for wilderness training for giant panda.

Covering an area of about 20,000 square metres, the area for captive breeding and environmental education includes zones for rearing and breeding, a nursery ground, a veterinary hospital, an administration and research complex, a science education centre and a visitor centre. The China Conservation and Research Centre for Giant Panda aspires to be a world-class base for scientific research and conservation education, allowing local and overseas researchers to conduct research on the conservation of giant panda. It also seeks to be a tourist spot accommodating about 400,000 visitors annually. The total construction costs amount to about RMB212 million and the project is expected to be completed in May 2013.

There are a total of 23 reconstruction projects in the Wolong Nature Reserve supported by the HKSAR Government with total funding of about HK$1.58 billion. Three have been completed, 15 will be completed within this year, and the remaining five are scheduled for completion in mid-2013. The projects comprise two categories. The first involves 11 projects which aim to restore the natural habitat of the reserve and conservation and research facilities for giant panda. The second category involves 12 projects designed to improve people's livelihood, including power supply installations, a drainage system, a refuse disposal system, geological hazard control, restoration of roads, schools, a medical and health-care centre, and a social welfare centre.

Mrs Lam and the delegation will visit the Giant Panda Conservation and Disease Control Centre in Shiqiao Village at Qingcheng Mountain tomorrow. They will return to Hong Kong in the afternoon.

Ends/Thursday, April 12, 2012
Issued at HKT 21:25

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