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  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 3:26am
CommentInsight & Opinion

Reclamation a last resort to ease land supply

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 April, 2013, 2:04am

Responsible leaders look forward and plan for tomorrow. Hong Kong's government is doing as it should by looking for ways to increase the supply of land so that our city can further develop. But the issue is complex and building consensus for a viable strategy is not easy. Even reclamation, a long-favoured solution to providing more land and generating revenue, is controversial.

When he recently released the details of six reclamation sites for public discussion, Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po stressed reclamation was needed to build a "strategic land reserve". Referring to the 6,800 hectares of land created over the past century, he argued reclamation had long been the main land supply strategy. About 27 per cent of housing and 70 per cent of office space is on reclaimed land, yet it only represents six per cent of the city's total area. Chan said problems with land supply had persisted since reclamation ceased in 2007. The minister seems to imply that the question is no longer "to do or not to do".

Whether the numbers and arguments can find public support remains to be seen. But reclamation being a long-standing strategy does not necessarily mean it is still acceptable. People have no qualms about building a land reserve. But the city has long abandoned the mindset of pursuing development at all costs. A balance is needed.

Development sometimes comes with a price. The benefits of reclaiming land have to be weighed against damage to the environment. Officials have yet to make clear the benefits of each new site. Some appear to be unsuitable for residential use. For instance, the proposed 100 hectares of land in Sunny Bay is directly under the airport's flight path.

Efforts to address environmental concerns also still leave a lot to be desired. Officials have yet to put up a convincing case that the adverse impact on marine life can be minimised. Until questions are answered and concerns addressed, reclamation remains a last resort that should not be adopted lightly.


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There are vast tracts of Kowloon that simply need to be razed and redeveloped. The harbour reclamation has been a disaster in my view and we should stop before further damage is done, damage that is impossible to rectify.
When a place needs to alter its geography to accommodate its population, its people has chosen a wrong place to live. In fact, how many cities in the world have filled up their waters or chipping off mountains to be a place? Hong Kong should stop land reclamation forever. It should fix the cause of land shortage and at the mean time sit it out until the cause is totally removed. As a start, reexamine the right-of-abode for family reunion, a policy that has run sufficiently long enough since the colonial days. No longer only a handful of Hong Kong men is building family in mainland which the current statistic most likely warrants a rethink of the policy.
Here Hong Kong shouldn’t continue seeing property development as a means for fortune building for the city. It has been destroying Hong Kong irreversibly of its environment. Its time for CY Leung to lead Hong Kong out of this property culture. Majority of people will support you if you do.


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