Democrat lawmaker urges for Penha Hill conservation

In his recent interpellation, lawmaker Sulu Sou questioned the government about its plans to conserve the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Historic Centre of Macau, with particular reference to Penha Hill.

Penha Hill, where the Our Lady of Penha Chapel sits, is located within the buffer zone of the UNESCO World Heritage site. Although the chapel itself is not part of the World Heritage inscription, it is listed as a local heritage site.

It took the Macau government nearly nine years from the World Heritage inscription to enact its first “World Heritage Protection Law”, Sou wrote in his interpellation.

He added that 14 years since the inscription, the government has still not compiled a plan for protecting and managing the Historic Centre of Macau (the plan), which is required by the law. Sou accuses the government of dereliction of duty by failing to do so.

In June last year, the government published the plan’s public consultation summary. It presented more than 1,000 public consultations, which accounted for more than half of the comments received requesting certain restrictions to preserve the view from Penha Hill.

According to the “World Heritage Protection Law”, the plan should set forth restrictions on constructions. As a result, Sou believes that the government should be more stringent in order to protect the sites.

UNESCO had earlier expressed its concerns on the planning of the Reclamation Zone B, where any constructions may affect the view from the hill.

As a result, the lawmaker asked the government whether it would set forth restrictions on the height of buildings within the panorama from Penha Hill in order to protect the view from irrevocable damage. “Will the government publicize the plan before actual legislation?” asked Sou.

The Municipal Affairs Bureau earlier proposed to build a coastal promenade on Sai Van Lake, which would likely affect the view of the coast. The Cultural Affairs Bureau did not object to the proposal in its capacity as a consultative body. The lawmaker asked whether the latter bureau would take tougher stand against similar proposals in future. Staff reporter

Categories Macau