Ap Lei Chau link first

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 October, 2007, 12:00am

The MTR Corporation will complete the eastern section of its South Island Line first, and may be given property development rights to recoup some of the costs of construction, the transport minister said yesterday.

Speaking on a radio programme yesterday, Eva Cheng Yu-wah said details of the HK$7 billion rail line from Admiralty to Southern District would be finalised this year.

She said the aim was to finish the eastern section of the line, serving Ap Lei Chau and the Ocean Park theme park, no later than 2015.

The western section, serving Wah Fu, Cyberport and Aberdeen, would be built later, and would depend on development of the district.Ms Cheng said the government was still studying the need for stations in Wan Chai and Happy Valley.

Last week the Executive Council agreed to provide HK$6 billion of the HK$8.9 billion cost of building the West Island Line, on the grounds the MTR Corp could not recoup costs by selling building rights above stations because Western was heavily developed.

The government said at the time that the decision had not set a precedent, and Ms Cheng said yesterday it was still considering whether to fund the South Island Line the same way.

She agreed there was more potential to defray construction costs through property development in Southern District than in Western.

'There is great potential for redevelopment in the district,' Ms Cheng said. [Developers] are turning industrial sites into hotels. If there is a rail connection, it will be a big boost to the local economy.'