Hong Kong’s development abbot on Friday faced accusations that admiral had ridden roughshod over a appropriate assignment force on acreage accumulation back they appear a arguable plan to body big-ticket counterfeit islands afterwards the body’s endorsement.
The affirmation project, said by a government antecedent to amount up to HK$500 billion (US$63.8 billion), was appear by Hong Kong baton Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor in her anniversary action accent on Wednesday.
But the advertisement came afore an official Assignment Force on Acreage Accumulation – appointed to abstraction options to chargeless up acreage in space-starved Hong Kong – concludes a accessible appointment exercise in which the abstraction was alone one of 18 options on the table.
Critics said the amount of the proposed islands – amounting to bisected of the city’s budgetary affluence – was unjustifiable. Others aloft apropos about the ecology impact, and said the activity would booty abounding years.
Another allegation was that admiral had defeated the point of appointing the assignment force in the aboriginal abode by not cat-and-mouse for its abstracts afore acute ahead.
But Secretary for Development Michael Wong Wai-lun on Friday insisted Lam had not abandoned the assignment force’s work.
“Society has astronomic apropos over Hong Kong’s curtailment of land,” Wong said. “Could she accept waited until her 2019 action abode to advertise this? I anticipate she couldn’t. She had to accomplish a decision.”
The affirmation plan, which would accommodate 1,700 hectares of acreage to the east of Lantau, is allotment of Lam’s “Lantau Tomorrow Vision” to about-face the city’s bigger afar island into a residential and business hub. The breadth could abode up to 1.1 actor bodies in the aing two to three decades, she said.
The assignment force has been accustomed out a accessible appointment back April but the after-effects are not due until the end of the year.
Besides jumping ahead, Lam additionally broadcast the calibration of the activity from 1,000 to 1,700 hectares.
However, Wong said alone the aboriginal 1,000 hectares off Kau Yi Chau had a accurate plan so far, which was constant with the consultation. The actual 700 hectares about Hei Ling Chau would charge to be advised further, he said.
Wong apprenticed a diffuse accessible appointment if the government absitively to columnist advanced with the added 700.
The government had absitively to ysis the activity calibration afterwards realising predictions on acreage needs were “grossly inadequate”, he said.
Officials ahead anticipation Hong Kong would crave 1,200 hectares for apartment and bread-and-er development. But Wong said the admiration had not taken into annual the charge for beyond active spaces, bigger accessories for an ageing population, or an arrival of association from earlier districts while those areas were redeveloped.
The accommodation to aggrandize the activity was taken during arcane affairs for Lam’s action abode and so had to be kept abstruse from the assignment force, he added.
Wong would not affirm the HK$500 billion amount estimate, but said antecedent affirmation had amount up to HK$1,500 per sq ft, excluding infrastructure. That amount puts the amount of the new plan at about HK$275 billion.
Lam on Friday said bogus islands were “the alone way to anatomy land” and Hong Kong bare to chase Singapore and Macau’s example.
Speaking on a radio programme, she said the government had about run out of options for near-shore reclamation. Acquiring farmland or developing brownfield sites would be cher and difficult, she added.
“We would accept to pay a aerial amount for agronomical land” because the government had been advancement advantage bales for landowners, Lam said.
Wong estimated in May that up to HK$550 actor of taxpayers’ money would be spent in the aing two decades on added acceptable rehousing and advantage agreement for arctic New Territories villagers afflicted to accomplish way for new boondocks developments.
Removing businesses on brownfield sites and relocating afflicted association additionally appropriate land, admiral said.
Lam conceded that in the aftermost four or bristles years the government had agitated a lot of bodies by reclassifying what some acreage could be acclimated for, such as by axis accessible spaces into areas for homes.
And as for the abstraction of affirmation at added locations, the arch controlling said she had bound options.
“You attending at Ma Liu Shui affirmation … it has admiring acute criticism and objection,” she said.
Lung Kwu Tan in Tuen Mun and Sunny Bay on Lantau had additionally been floated as possibilities, she added, but the sites could not be acclimated for residential developments.
“I aloof cannot acquisition any added [options] a bank … so area is the land?” Lam said.
As the city’s leader, she had to acquisition a way to access acreage supply, she believed.
“Whether we appetite to accept a added acceptable and assured accumulation of acreage is an affair that … the arch controlling cannot bypass albatross for,” she said.
This commodity Hong Kong’s bogus islands plan ‘not blank acreage assignment force and accessible consultation’, abbot says, arresting HK$500 billion ‘Lantau Tomorrow Vision’ aboriginal appeared on South China Morning Post
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