(Xinhua/Zhou Hua)

OPINION – Green openings

If there is one positive thing that seems to have come out from this year of halted projects and developments is what seems to be a larger focus on green and leisure area projects by local authorities for local residents.

This week the Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) announced that it will repurpose four unused land plots in Taipa, covering some 19,000 square meters into playgrounds and leisure areas.

The new area was said to repurpose thousands of old tires under an eco-friendly initiative into some kind of Tire Disneyland or Goodyear Wonder Park.

After years of projects and developments that seemed only aimed at serving the millions of visitors flooding the city every year, it is refreshing to see initiatives geared to locals and in improving the local quality of life.

According to the Savills report, there are about 700 vacant sites in the SAR with a total capacity of over 1.2 million square metres of land with potential for development at any point in time, of which more than half involved land reclaimed by the local government.

Government authorities have spent most of the last several years fighting developers in court to regain control of several land plots scattered around the city, and finally some of them can be put at the service of the local population.

Since the beginning of the year, we have heard of plans to build a 15,000 square kilometres public leisure area along the riverside near the Kun Lam statue in NAPE, ranging from the Macao Science Museum to Barra, of a 23,700 square-meter sport-and-leisure area to be developed near the Qingmao border and Avenida de Lam Mau, and similar plans for a reclaimed area near Hac Sa Beach.

There are also plans to extend cycling lanes in Taipa and Cotai to cover most of its riverside.

However, highly populated areas such as Areia Preta, Iao Hon, and Barra are still in dire need of open leisure spaces and, hopefully, improvements can be announced for those areas, too.

For long local families and athletes have had to deal with a lack of available leisure and sports areas, and most residents see themselves short of options of travel outside of the city demand was never this high

One just needs to look at the long lines regularly on display for public swimming pools at almost any given time these days.

It’s good to see the latest plans announced. Until then, we will have to endure the usual construction activity disruption, but at least now we know we will get something by the end of it. Well, at least until tourist numbers get back to normal and priorities shift again.

[MNA Editor-in-Chief]