Letters to the Editor, March 26, 2013

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 March, 2013, 3:29am

Reclamation projects will be too expensive

I refer to your report ("Shortlist of six sites to boost land reserves", March 21) which reported on the government's proposal of six sites for extensive reclamation to produce over 2,600 hectares of land for housing development.

The government appears to have a blind spot.

It should look at the map of Hong Kong and see that 90 per cent of our land resources of nearly 110,000 hectares are in the New Territories, most of which remain undeveloped.

Therefore, there is no need to deplete our precious sea resources and damage our beautiful coastline by reclamation.

The 1,400 hectares of reclamation at Chek Lap Kok Airport and the necessary infrastructure had cost HK$150 billion 20 years ago, equivalent to half a trillion dollars at today's prices.

The huge reclamations now proposed and the infrastructure needed for housing development thereon, including roads, railways, water supply, gas, electricity, sewerage and drainage, will be equally expensive.

Such expenditure will drain Hong Kong's fiscal reserves, which should be put to much better use for the less privileged members of our community.

As the land produced for development by reclamation will be extremely expensive, the housing built on it will consequentially also be very expensive and Hong Kong people will continue to suffer from unaffordable housing.

Over the past years, the government has already spent hundreds of billions of dollars of public money on roads, railways and other infrastructure for the western New Territories. The land there remains under-utilised and the opportunity to provide an ample supply of housing there wasted.

The answer to Hong Kong's housing problem is simple: open up the New Territories. The government must change its policy and repeal the New Territories Ordinance so that all land in the Hong Kong SAR will be the same.

The thousands of hectares of land there will then be available. This will both solve the problem of land supply for housing development and remove the temptation for reclamation once and for all.

Hong Kong people, this is a wake-up call.

Winston K. S. Chu, adviser, Society for Protection of the Harbour


Tung Chung not viable retail option

An alliance of businesses has proposed developing part of Lantau into a commercial zone.

I accept the argument that has been made that established and well-known shopping areas such as Tsim Sha Tsui and Causeway Bay, are always crowded.

However, I do not think that trying to turn Tung Chung into a new and popular tourist spot will relieve that congestion.

First, tourists go to Tsim Sha Tsui or Causeway Bay not only because of the shops that are there, especially those famous brand names. They also reflect the uniqueness of Hong Kong. Even if more malls are built in Tung Chung, most tourists will still stick to the traditionally popular shopping areas.

Also, not many tourists stay at Lantau hotels. Most of them stay on Kowloon side or Hong Kong Island and they would therefore have to travel quite a distance to go to Tung Chung.

Shopping and eating in urban Hong Kong is much more convenient for them. They can shop, for example, in Causeway Bay and then go on to Lan Kwai Fong for something to eat.

Tung Chung can never match that kind of convenience.

I cannot see the development of malls on Tung Chung changing in any way the present situation.

Isaac Fong, Kwai Chung


LED tram signs are confusing

The old tram destination boards are slowly being replaced with LED ones.

This is a shame. The new ones increase light pollution levels and are therefore less environmentally friendly.

They are less easy to distinguish from afar because of their pixellation.

What is most annoying is that they only display in one language at one time, unlike the manual signs in use before.

This means that if you are in a hurry, it can sometimes be impossible to determine in time the destination of a given tram.

I hope Hong Kong Tramways will stick to the tried, tested and superior signs used for so long.

Christopher Ruane, Lamma


Station should have delayed news for final

Could TVB comment on why it was unable to provide full coverage of the Rugby Sevens final, the biggest sporting event of the year in Hong Kong ?

The Wales v Fiji game was a thrilling example of the game of sevens.

Surely the news could have been delayed by 10 minutes.

M. D. Evans, Happy Valley


TVB viewers unable to see whole game

I am writing to congratulate TVB Pearl on its supreme stupidity.

I spent a whole weekend watching the Rugby Sevens on its channel, then TVB decided to stop transmission five minutes before the end of the final. This was to broadcast the news.

In other countries, the news is suspended briefly so audiences can watch the end of the game.

Nice one, TVB, you have done it again.

Viewers were deprived of seeing the final in full.

Rachel Hodson, Lamma


Doctors must sign up as organ donors

You referred to a story in the Chinese-language press about a nurse who died suddenly while at work in St Paul's Hospital in Causeway Bay and relatives allowed her liver to be used in a transplant operation ("New life for liver patient after St Paul's nurse dies on duty", March 16).

This was described as "a rare case of organ donation from a private hospital patient".

All Hospital Authority staff, including doctors and nurses and medical students at the University of Hong Kong's Faculty of Medicine, should sign up to become organ donors. If they set this example, then hopefully more Hongkongers will follow suit and agree to be organ or cadaver donors.

K. M. Nasir, Mid-Levels


Treat animal cruelty with zero tolerance

Animal abuse is a long-term problem in Hong Kong and does not get the attention it deserves.

You read about dogs dying of starvation in cramped cages and see abandoned dogs searching for food. The courts must impose harsher penalties on people convicted of such cruelty. The attitude should be one of zero tolerance.

Some people in Hong Kong see nothing wrong with mistreating animals. Also, incidences of cruelty seem to be on the rise and this is an alarming trend. The government and groups like the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) make adverts aimed at trying to combat animal neglect and abuse. But the fact is that pet owners in Hong Kong still have yet to realise the need to be responsible pet owners.

Some people just don't think things through before buying a pet. They do not realise that they will have to look after the animal for its entire life. This is especially the case with Hong Kong's teenagers, many of whom are spoiled and selfish.

People must not act impulsively, but carefully consider all the issues before taking charge of an animal.

Some concerned groups have talked about the need to set up a special animal police unit, but this could involve huge administration costs.

Instead, I would propose that the government offers grants to the SPCA so that it can set up education programmes to teach people to look after their pets properly.

The war against animal abuse can never be brought to an end without the engagement of schools and animal care campaigns to change people's concepts towards animal rights.

Tiffany Yeung Sin-yee, Tsuen Wan


Restrictions were right policy to adopt

Some people have been critical of the recently revised export restrictions for tins of milk formula.

They say the rules will adversely affect Hong Kong's reputation as a free port.

The reason mainlanders were coming here to buy these tins was because of scandals with tainted formula made on the mainland.

However, Hong Kong cannot be responsible for helping these mothers out of this problem.

The SAR government has done the right thing to protect the needs of local babies.

Concerning the huge need of mainland babies, it should be the task of the central government to impose its own stricter and tougher controls on food security on the mainland.

Until it deals effectively with tainted food scandals, the problem with milk formula will not be solved.

Helen Chan Hoi-yin, Tai Kok Tsui