Time to play the game at Fanling golf course

With the task force investigating land supply seemingly focusing on recreational facilities, a compromise is needed at historic facility

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 February, 2018, 3:01am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 February, 2018, 3:01am

A government task force looking into land supply seems hell-bent on bulldozing recreational facilities.

Yes, finding land to meet people’s housing needs is important. But they also need places to chill out, exercise, relax and just breathe semi-fresh air. That’s public health.

Every residential district in Hong Kong is supposedly mandated to set aside a proportion of land and facilities for recreation. But since the last government of Leung Chun-ying, officials have been riding roughshod over this long-practised requirement.

Partial development of Fanling golf course could provide housing quickly, task force says

Amid the controversy over proposals to build on the 170-hectare golf course in Fanling managed by the exclusive Hong Kong Golf Club, another dodgy plan of the task force is slipping under the radar.

It is going after a 12.5-hectare site in Tuen Mun that provides the public with a golf-practising field, a public archery range, a park and a large swimming pool.

The archery site is next to the Tuen Mun Public Riding School.

One task force plan is to take back the sites and bundle all the facilities into a single building! I am sure there will be more than enough land once we decide to get rid of public recreational sites that take up so much space. But do we want to go down that route?

Meanwhile, the task force is torn between influential fat cats at the golf club and grass-roots activists, so it has come up with a “compromise”: partial development of the golf course.

The ostensible rationale is that this could be done faster to meet housing needs.

But wouldn’t they have to build in stages anyway?

This will end up failing to provide enough housing while destroying one of the most beautiful sites in the city, though admittedly mostly enjoyed only by very rich people.

‘Give us a fair hearing’: Hong Kong golf chief says it’s time for their voice to be heard

The club claims the public gets to use the golfing facilities about 40 per cent of the time; I would love to see how it comes up with that figure.

The club has warned that taking back the golf course could kill the development of the sport in Hong Kong. And it is a historic and beautiful site, for which the club has paid a paltry annual rent for its rich patrons.

I agree that golf is important and the site is important.

The government should take it back when its current lease is up in 2020: a part of it can be used to train professional golfers, and the rest be open to the public for everyone’s enjoyment.