HK govt con­fi­dent about am­bi­tious recla­ma­tion plan

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By SUN FEIER in Hong Kong joyce­sun@chi­nadai­

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.

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