Works chief Edwin Tong calls WWF Hong Kong criticism biased

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 February, 2013, 5:27am

The works chief has defended the public consultation process for boosting land supply, including through sea reclamation, saying they are conducted in an open and transparent manner.

Edwin Tong Ka-hung, head of the Civil Engineering Office, criticised some outside analysis of the results of the engagement exercise as biased.

Tong was responding to earlier accusations by WWF Hong Kong, which said it was dissatisfied with how the results were released and presented. The group said officials had failed to give a holistic view of the findings, and that reclamation had the least amount of public support among the six options presented to increase land supply.

Tong, in a letter to the South China Morning Post, said there was broad support for the six options, which included land rezoning and developing urban areas. Time was needed to study the 41,933 submissions and views collected during the consultation conducted early last year before the final findings could be released, he said, adding the process was "open and transparent".

"After we completed the analysis of the results, through a paper submitted to the development panel of the legislature, we made clear the report would be uploaded to our website on the day the chief executive delivered his policy address," he said.

Leung Chun-ying said in his address the government would press ahead with sea reclamation, despite what Tong said were divided opinions in the consultation over reclamation. But those who opposed sea reclamation "are not the majority", he said.

"As reclamation is led by the government, the land acquired is more suitable as land reserve, which can meet the demands of the public for housing," he said.

Tong said the government would press ahead with the second stage of the consultation of boosting land supply.