Government urged to go green on quarry

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 May, 2010, 12:00am

A quarry that leaves a huge scar across the Kowloon hills should be turned into a green space for people to enjoy instead of being used for more high-rise public housing, district councillors told planning officials yesterday.

Kwun Tong councillors also said the development of the Anderson Road Quarry, due to close in 2016, should be co-ordinated with that of the former airport site at Kai Tak, which it overlooks.

The Planning Department told the council the quarry would yield a 40-hectare area, equivalent to the size of the West Kowloon Cultural District, for development.

Chief town planner Fiona Lung Siu-yuk said a consultant next month would start an 18-month study into possible uses for the site, including public and private housing and other types of development.

The idea immediately drew councillors' objections because the area was already congested with public housing blocks.

'There are already many high-rise public rental apartments in this part of the Kowloon Mid-Levels. I oppose any more such flats being added there because you would have to build many roads to absorb the population,' Cheung Shun-wah said.

He said the site could be used for low-density private housing.

Hung Kam-in said the government should protect the ridgeline in this part of Kowloon from being broken by high-rises.

'I don't see any solution to solving the existing traffic problems,' he added. 'Any more apartment blocks will be a disaster for Kwun Tong.'

Other councillors said the site on the steep lower slopes of the 419-metre Tai Sheung Tok - one of the nine 'dragons' that gave Kowloon its name - could be used for much-needed leisure and sports facilities.

'You promised the place would become a green belt,' Leung Fu-wing said. 'It's so ugly now, it's barren. A green face would be a good thing for residents.'

Council chairman Chan Chung-bun said the government should co-ordinate the planning of the site with that of Kai Tak, which would provide public and private housing and community facilities.

At present, there are at least eight public housing estates around the quarry. Residents rely on buses and minibuses to get to the city centre or the nearest MTR stations in Choi Hung and Kwun Tong.

The development will also add to a large-scale public housing project on the edge of the quarry, which is under construction and will accommodate 48,300 people. The site formation and infrastructure have already cost HK$2.06 billion.

The quarry is estimated to have supplied 50 million tonnes of rocks for the construction industry.