Rail link for new NT development aims to woo public

Mooted network connection the latest bid to win public over to development of border area land

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 September, 2012, 3:43pm

Ta Kwu Ling, the remotest of three proposed towns to be developed in the northeastern New Territories, may become part of a planned rail network in another government attempt to gain public support for the border project.

The transport link is the latest idea floated to increase the project's appeal, after Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po last week suggested providing more public housing than private housing in the new towns and reserving some flats for purchase by permanent residents.

The controversial plan to develop 787 hectares of land has caused protests and division among locals and will displace at least 1,700 families.

The administration would examine the possibility of a railway station in the Ta Kwu Ling-Ping Che new town if its planned population rose as a result of higher building density, a government source said. "It will depend on whether the adjusted population is big enough to support a new station, as we need to consider the financial viability [of such a transport facility]," the source said yesterday.

Under the government's Railway Development Strategy 2000, the new Northern Link will connect the MTR's Lok Ma Chau spur line to Kwu Tung, one of the three towns. But, it does not extend to Ta Kwu Ling-Ping Che. The third new town, at Fanling North, is close to an existing station. Officials said the planned population of 17,600 at Ta Kwu Ling would not financially support a railway operation. Ta Kwu Ling-Ping Che is intended for the development of "special industries" to create 10,700 jobs and to promote economic co-operation with Shenzhen.

Chan will meet non-indigenous residents from the three areas today and Henderson Land Development meets Fanling villagers to discuss compensation.