Students petition against harbour reclamation
Chinese University's union wants government to look at other options like disused barracks
Students at Chinese University have signed a petition against the plan to reclaim land from Tolo Harbour near their campus.
The students' union, which has so far gathered 3,500 signatures, said "we feel that reclamation at Ma Liu Shui would ruin the scenery of Tolo Harbour and our campus, which blends in so well with nature".
The students' action comes after the government announced earlier this month that six sites had been identified as suitable for reclamation to build homes to cope with the long-term housing demand and economic development. A three-month consultation is under way.
Chung Yiu-wa, president of the union, said: "Many of our student hostels and classrooms boast the sea view of Tolo Harbour. We've always been close to the sea and this has been part of our campus memory.
"But sea view is not the most important thing. We don't think reclamation is justified. The government hasn't made good use of existing land, like disused barracks," he added. The current consultation had also failed to take into account the reduction in the city's projected population in 30 years, which was revised down to 8.47 million from 8.89 million last year, he said.
It has been proposed that 30 to 60 hectares be reclaimed from Ma Liu Shui for housing, and the area could benefit from the upcoming Sha Tin to Central MTR link. Another initiative in Sha Tin is to move a sewage treatment plant, which occupies 28 hectares, into a cave in order to release land for more homes.
Other sites identified for the consultation on reclamation include the coastal areas of Tsing Yi, Tuen Mun, Sunny Bay and Siu Ho Wan on Lantau. An artificial island is also proposed for the waters off eastern Hong Kong.
They would altogether generate more than 2,000 hectares of new land.
Green groups have objected to the selection of Lantau and the idea of a man-made island, saying this would be harmful to the Chinese white dolphin.
The exercise also asks the public to express views on rock cavern developments at Sai Kung, Diamond Hill and Sham Tseng, which would involve relocating sewage works into nearby caves to release the land for development.