Link to HK airport among new design plans for Guangzhou district of Nansha
Urban designs for Nansha district show rail line to connect air travellers with Hong Kong
Guangzhou has rolled out detailed urban design plans for its Nansha district, with a light-rail line to connect the district to Hong Kong's airport.
The "Guangzhou Nansha new zone urban general plan 2011-2030" was posted on the city government's website on Monday for 30 days of public consultation, ending on February 26.
The plan includes a subway system, with seven lines and 34 stations linking Nansha to airports in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Hong Kong and Guangzhou South railway station.
A planning expert at Nansha's district government said it was proposed that light-rail lines linking Zhongshan and Nansha to Dongguan , Guangzhou, Xintang and Dongguan to Qianhai in Shenzhen and Qianhai to Hong Kong International Airport would run at 200km/h and be completed by 2020.
Dr Hung Wing-tat, a transport expert at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said the release of the Nansha plan would drive up property prices in the district and attract business investment, but it would also benefit Hong Kong.
"Nansha's regional transport network will serve as a fast tube, drawing passengers to international routes flying out of Hong Kong," Hung said.
He said Hong Kong offered a lot more routes for international flights at better times and that was an "advantage that was very hard for mainland airports to compete with".
However, Professor Zheng Tianxiang , a Pearl River Delta planning expert who was an adviser on the Nansha plan, urged the Hong Kong government to petition Guangdong to revise the link to Hong Kong.
He said it would be better for Hong Kong if the link from Qianhai to the airport was part of the mainland's high-speed rail network rather than the Pearl River Delta's intercity light-rail network, as it would be easier for millions of high-speed train passengers from south of the Yangtze River to fly out of Hong Kong.
Hung added that Hong Kong could expect to lose all of its container port business to Nansha when the new zone was running.
"It is competition at first, but this is good for Hong Kong in the long run as we don't have enough land," he said. "The productive value of our current container port is very low."
Nansha, Qianhai and Hengqin in Zhuhai are three development zones in Guangdong focusing on co-operation with Hong Kong.
The Nansha plan says 300 square kilometres - 38 per cent of the zone's total area - will be used for urban construction.
The plan also includes seven environmental zones to protect wetlands and restore areas formerly used for mining.