No thanks

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 November, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 November, 2000, 12:00am

On November 17, Hong Kong Resort announced to Discovery Bay residents that the hook up to government water would occur on December 4.

It claims to have invested more than $50 million on modification of the potable water distribution system, provision of pipelines, a pumping station and service reservoir. It also claims to have 'expended $1,650 million' on premiums to the Government and begun construction work on the new development.

However, Hong Kong Resort has not told the residents the following:

A recent survey of all the households in Discovery Bay (done by the Discovery Bay District representative) indicates that more than 97 per cent of all respondents would prefer to keep the existing water supply, from Discovery Bay's own private reservoir, rather than to connect to government water.

There is no absolute necessity to connect to government water, as the existing private reservoir was built to service a community of 25,000 people. The current population of Discovery Bay is approximately 13,500 people.

Hong Kong Resort hasn't said why it didn't build a lowland pumping station for the existing reservoir, as opposed to spending all the money it claims to have spent modifying the existing distribution system to accommodate government water. The cost of building the lowland pumping station and connecting it to the existing reservoir would have been significantly less than the $50 million and '$1,650 million' quoted by the company.

Hong Kong Resort has not spent any of its supposed investment to replace any of the galvanised iron pipes in Discovery Bay, which are the source of much rusty and discoloured water currently being supplied to residents. The introduction of government water will not change this situation, since these pipes will still be used as part of the distribution system.

Although Hong Kong Resort claims that the cost of government water to individual residents will be less than existing water charges, it has not quantified the impact of the loss of the existing 15 per cent rates rebate (due to the current lack of government-supplied water). Even if the Government supplied water free of charge, residents would end up paying 25 to 50 per cent more for the government water, due to the loss of the rates rebate.

Discovery Bay residents are being asked to foot the bill for this connection to government water. However, it will be Hong Kong Resort that will benefit most from this connection since it will be able to more easily build and sell additional flats, because now it can build beyond its originally projected ceiling of 25,000 residents. However, the profits that the company will earn from the sale of new flats will flow directly into its coffers. In effect, residents are being asked to pay more for inferior facilities ultimately designed for the financial benefit of Hong Kong Resort.

The Government and its relevant departments, have elected to ignore the preferences of Discovery Bay's residents in favour of the interests of a major land developer. How typical of Hong Kong.