China: Government Seeks Comments on Land Supply Strategy
The Government launched the Stage 2 Public Engagement on Enhancing Land Supply Strategy today to seek views on reclamation sites, building artificial islands in the central waters and three schemes for rock cavern development.
The public engagement exercise will last for three months. Members of the public are welcome to express their opinions.
Speaking at a press conference today, the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, said, “Needs for land are ever increasing, it is thus essential to have an adequate and stable supply of land.
For years, the Government has been adopting a six-pronged and flexible approach in land supply through rezoning land, redevelopment, land resumption, reclamation, rock cavern development and re-use of ex-quarry sites to meet the demand arising from population growth, economic development and the aspirations for quality living.
“To respond more flexibly to changes in society’s needs for land, the Government is determined to develop new land extensively and build up an abundant ‘land reserve’ that can more than meet short-term demand. That way, the reserve can be used to meet future demand in a timely manner,” Mr Chan said.
“We will press ahead with reclamation outside Victoria Harbour to build up the land reserve while endeavouring to keep the impact on the environment and marine ecology to a minimum. Reclamation aside, rock cavern development is a supplementary source of land supply,” he continued.
Mr Chan said reclamation is suitable for building up a land reserve because it does not affect existing land use and can form relatively large pieces of land to meet unexpected needs.
The reclamation areas may also be used as decanting sites for rehousing residents and facilities affected by other developments. Reclamation is also a more environmentally friendly method for disposal of surplus public fill generated daily in Hong Kong.
From November 2011 to March 2012, the Development Bureau, the Civil Engineering and Development Department and the Planning Department conducted the Stage 1 Public Engagement on Enhancing Land Supply Strategy: Reclamation outside Victoria Harbour and Rock Cavern Development. Over 40 000 submissions were received.
According to an analysis by the Social Sciences Research Centre of the University of Hong Kong, the public generally supported the Government to continue with the multi-pronged land supply approach and agreed on the site selection criteria with social, environmental and economic efficiency as guiding principles. They are more concerned about the impact on the environment and ecology as well as local communities.
“Based on the public views collected, we have established the site selection criteria and identified a few potential near-shore reclamation and cavern development sites for public consultation in the Stage 2 Public Engagement. We will present the opportunities and challenges of these sites and collect views on issues of major concern for in-depth technical studies in the future,” Mr Chan said.
He said five potential near-shore reclamation sites were announced in the Policy Address.
They are Lung Kwu Tan in Tuen Mun, Siu Ho Wan and Sunny Bay in Lantau North, Ma Liu Shui in Sha Tin and Tsing Yi Southwest, with a total area of about 600 hectares.
Apart from the five near-shore reclamation sites, the Government will explore the feasibility of building artificial islands in the central waters. The total area of the five sites and artificial islands is about 2 000 to 3 000 hectares.
As for rock cavern development, the Government proposes relocating Diamond Hill Fresh Water and Salt Water Service Reservoirs, Sai Kung Sewage Treatment Works and Sham Tseng Sewage Treatment Works to caverns to release a total of about 6 hectares of land in the urban areas.
Upon completion of the Stage 2 Public Engagement, the Government will analyse the views collected and refine the reclamation proposals. Funding application for the near-shore reclamation sites will be made at the earliest opportunity to conduct engineering feasibility studies and environmental impact assessments of individual projects to confirm the boundaries of the reclamation areas.
Meanwhile, since the proposed sites in Lung Kwu Tan, Siu Ho Wan and Sunny Bay are all located in the western waters, the Government will conduct a strategic environmental assessment to study the plan for reclamation in the area and the cumulative impact on infrastructure and development projects in the neighbourhood.
The Government will brief the Panel on Development of the Legislative Council, District Councils and other relevant stakeholders, statutory and professional organisations soon on the initiative of increasing land supply by reclamation outside Victoria Harbour and rock cavern development.
Press Release, March 21, 2013