HK govt confident about ambitious reclamation plan
The “Lantau Tomorrow Vision” — an ambitious reclamation project unveiled on 2018 Policy Address — would stay within the financial capability of the special administrative region government, Secretary for Development Michael Wong Wai-lun said on Friday.
After Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor delivered her second Policy Address on Wednesday, a government source said the land reclamation project might cost HK$400 billion to HK$500 billion. This amount is nearly half of the government’s fiscal reserves.
To resolve the city’s most urgent problem — housing supply and land shortages — Lam decided to discuss this large-scale reclamation plan which aims to build an artificial island covering a total area of 1,700 hectares; the government sees it as a medium- to long-term strategy.
Michael Wong told reporters the government had not done any official calculations of the total cost of the project, but believed it would be affordable. This is because the estimated time duration would be 15 to 20 years, every year might, therefore, cost HK$100 billion at most, the secretary for development added.
Wong also released a possible timeline for the project. The government plans to begin reclamation work in 2025; it wants to welcome the first batch of people into artificial island in 2032, which could accommodate 1.1 million people at most, according to government estimates.
The project will be created in the waters surrounding Lantau, near Kau Yi Chau and Hei Ling Chau and off the coast of Tuen Mun. It will be viewed as the city’s third major center for the future including Central and Kowloon East.
The government’s short- and long-term solutions, including redeveloping industrial building, increasing the ratio of public housing and projects like “Lantau Tomorrow Vision”, could provide more than 610,000 housing units, Wong ventured.
Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan said: “We know how severe the housing issue is, and our government will grasp the nettle with determination to tackle the most urgent problem in the city.”
The government also plans to construct a transport network for the land reclamation project, linking North Lantau and the coastal areas of Tuen Mun, including the River Trade Terminal after re-planning and Lung Kwu Tan.
Another long-term policy, increasing the public-private housing ratio from the current 60-40 to 70-30, will be implemented when government announces the next 10-year housing supply target after public consultation, Lam said on Wednesday.