PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 June, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 June, 1996, 12:00am

While many governments in Western countries are cutting public spending in every possible way, the Hong Kong Government still seems to be very generous in some areas.

Recently, I have been aware of the relocation costs of the Tsing Yi North Shipyards, if they are to be relocated.

It occurred to me that the total costs of the project (relocation costs of the shipyards and the reclamation works) amount to an unbelievable HK$2.25 billion.

And once the shipyards are removed, the site will be converted into open space use.

Up to this point, one has to doubt if the future parks and open space are worth the money spent. Has it occurred to the Government that it could provide open space to citizens in a cost-effective way? It seems to me that a simple cost-benefit analysis should put the project back on the shelf, case closed.

There are also rumours that the shipyard sites would be turned into residential development.

As the Government has been trying desperately to find land to increase housing supply, one should not be caught off-guard if developers and the Government lay hands on the shipyard sites.

Having said that, I understand why the North Tsing Yi residents resent the shipyards and why they would be happy to see them gone.

Shipyard operations are not nice and clean. They also generate a certain level of noise.

However, Hong Kong people should be able to judge right from wrong.

The shipyards have been operating in the existing sites since 1963 while Tsing Tai Court and Cheung On Estate were not there until 1987.

Therefore one should ask oneself on what grounds do the residents and the Government insist the shipyards go.

KEVIN MANUEL Lecturer Division of Technology City Polytechnic of Hong Kong