Big housing plans for Tung Chung
The northwestern corner of Lantau Island could be home to 100,000 more people under a proposal to build more public housing flats there, Secretary of Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor says.
Lam, widely tipped to be the next chief secretary, said yesterday that three out of 15 Tung Chung sites earmarked for government buildings, hotels and recreation areas could be used to provide the flats under the outline zoning plan.
Lam was attending an exhibition organised by a concern group on the future of the town.
She said that with the future Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge at its doorstep, Tung Chung could grow as a 'bridgehead economy' and that its 130,000-strong population could easily swell to 230,000.
But the vice-chairwoman of the Islands District Council, Chau Chuen-heung, said the government's plan was not well-received by the community.
Chau said one of the three sites suggested by Lam as suitable for a public housing estate - Area 56 on the reclaimed waterfront - was too far from Tung Chung's town centre.
'There are insufficient transport links, recreation facilities and job opportunities supporting the area' that the government suggested could provide more than 9,000 flats in four public housing buildings, Chau said of the proposal.
He said that unless the government could present a more appropriate, detailed plan, the community would never accept a public housing estate in Area 56.
A government plan for a public housing estate in Area 56 surfaced in 2009 but ran into firm opposition from residents living in a nearby private housing estate, Caribbean Coast.
The plan did not get the approval of the district council and was put on hold.
The concern group suggested that the government develop 150 hectares in Tung Chung to provide about 24,000 public and private flats, recreation areas and even a cycling track to Inspiration Lake, near the Sunny Bay MTR station.
Tung Chung was developed in the 1990s as part of the government's Port and Airport Development Strategy, fostering a community to support Chek Lap Kok airport.
The Housing Authority estimates the number on the waiting list for public housing will exceed 200,000 within 12 months.
Incoming chief executive Leung Chun-ying has made shortening this waiting list one of his priorities.