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Government repossesses ‘Ocean World’ plot & adjacent illegally occupied plots

The Lands, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) announced this week that its officials, in conjunction with officials from several other government entities, have repossessed a long-undeveloped plot of land east of the entrance to the Governor Nobre de Carvalho Bridge on the northern coast of Taipa, which was initially slated for an “Ocean World” theme park project when its land concession was granted well over two decades ago.

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The Lands, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) announced this week that its officials, in conjunction with officials from several other government entities, have repossessed a long-undeveloped plot of land east of the entrance to the Governor Nobre de Carvalho Bridge on the northern coast of Taipa, which was initially slated for an “Ocean World” theme park project when its land concession was granted well over two decades ago.

The government annulled the plot’s land concession about two years ago as the leaseholder had failed to develop the plot listed in the concession agreement within the contractual period.

In addition to the “Ocean World” plot, the land repossession, which was carried out on Tuesday, also included six adjacent plots which had been illegally occupied.

A DSSOPT statement on Tuesday pointed out that the government announced the annulment of the land concession of the “Ocean World” plot, which covers an area of 134,891 square metres, in December 2018.

The six illegally occupied plots, officially known as B1, B2, B3, B4, C1 and C2, cover a total area of 58,884 square metres, the statement said.

Therefore, the seven plots that were repossessed on Tuesday cover a total area of 193,775 square metres, the statement pointed out.

The statement said that several constructions consisting of sidings and roofing had been set up illegally on the plots where officials also found a number of containers, construction materials and various items, and parked vehicles.

According to the statement, the government had ordered the leaseholder and the respective occupants to clear all the items and return the plots to the government by a specified deadline.

The statement said that as the leaseholder and occupants had failed to return the plots to the government after the deadline, DSSOPT officials and officials from several other entities took action and repossessed the plots on Tuesday.

Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosário announced the annulment of the land concession of the 134,891-square-metre plot in an executive order published in the Official Gazette (BO) on 19 December 2018.

Land concession granted in 1997

According to Rosário’s executive order, the land concession of the 134,891-square-metre plot was granted in March 1997 to Chong Va Entertainment Limited for the construction of a theme park called “Ocean World”. The project, which never got off the ground, was originally slated to include an oceanarium, a botanical garden and a raft of other tourism facilities, previous news reports said.

According to the 2018 executive order, the period allowed for the leaseholder to complete the development on the plot was extended in November 1998 by the then under-secretary for transport and public works to March 2001.

The Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) was established on 20 December 1999.

According to the executive order published on 9 December 2018, Rosário drafted a report about the possible annulment of the plot’s land concession and submitted it to the then chief executive Fernando Chui Sai On in August 2016. Chui finally ordered the annulment of the concession on 12 December 2018.

Court turns down leaseholder’s appeal

In March this year, the Court of Second Instance (TSI) rejected the leaseholder’s appeal against Chui’s annulment of the plot’s land concession.

A statement released by the Court of Final Appeal (TUI) in March about the TSI ruling pointed out that the plot’s land concession terms stated that the leaseholder was required to finish developing the plot – i.e. completing the “Ocean World” project – within 36 months following the granting of the land concession in March 1997. The terms also stated that the leaseholder was required to finish building basic facilities on the plot within 24 months following the granting of the land concession.

The TUI statement pointed out that the leaseholder was initially required to finish developing the plot by 11 March 2000. However, the leaseholder submitted an amended plan for the “Ocean World” project to DSSOPT officials in November 1997, the statement said, adding that Macao’s then Portuguese administration approved the revised plan and extended the plot’s allowed development period for one additional year to 11 March 2001.

Attempted residential projects

The TUI statement said that the leaseholder submitted a new development proposal for the 134,891-square-metre plot to the then secretary for transport and public works Ao Man Long in 2003, asking the government to allow a change in the use of the plot for the development of commercial and residential projects and to increase the size of the plot to 550,000 square metres.

The TUI statement said that DSSOPT officials had never finished assessing the new commercial-residential development proposal, before Chui ordered the concession’s annulment on 12 December 2018 as the leaseholder was to blame for their failure to develop the plot in line with its land concession terms. 

(The Macau Post Daily/Macao News)
Photo by Lands, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT)

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