The first man-made beach to be built by the government made its debut yesterday after over a decade of planning.
Lung Mei Beach at Ting Kok Road near Tai Mei Tuk Public Transport Interchange in Tai Po was built with 55,000 cubic meters of natural sand and came with construction costs of HK$200 million.
It spans about 200 meters and is equipped with changing rooms, showers, washrooms and observation decks.
Lifesaving services on the beach are available from 9am to 6pm between April and October with seasonal changes during weekends and public holidays.
Former Tai Po district councillor Max Wu Yiu-cheong, who inspected the beach ahead of its opening, said plenty of styrofoam pieces could be found washed ashore.
“Some of the styrofoam pieces were even found in chain-like forms on the beach,” he said.
Wu worried that swimmers might accidentally swallow the styrofoam.
“There are also lots of wireways on the beach,” he said. “Children may trip over them and hurt themselves.”
Tai Po district councillor Wong Siu-kin said some of the lockers were not sheltered from the rain and that there were only two family-sized showers.
Visitors heading to the beach from Tai Po Market Station can take 75K or 275K route buses, available on Sundays and public holidays only, or the green minibus 20C and alight at the Lo Tsz Tin stop, which is only a two-minute walk to the beach.
The plan to construct Lung Mei Beach, which started as a mudflat, began 16 years ago. The beach originally had over 400 sea species, including seahorses and starfishes.
In 2012, conservation group Save Lung Mei Alliance was formed in opposition to the beach project. Around 3,000 staged a protest on one occasion outside central government offices.
Between 2013 and 2017, members of the alliance filed multiple judicial reviews in an attempt to halt the beach project, but they were ultimately in vain.