Hundreds expected to descend upon Legco

Groups and residents to voice opinions on reclamation and landfill extensions

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 June, 2013, 3:38am

Activists and angry residents are set to fill the halls of the Legislative Council today to speak up in two marathon meetings on equally controversial topics: reclamation and landfill extensions.

A total of 156 groups and individuals have signed up to speak to the Legco development panel, and 111 to the environmental affairs panel.

The development panel's hearing is part of a consultation on a government proposal to reclaim land from five coastal sites to increase long-term land supply. The sites are Lung Kwu Tan, Siu Ho Wan, Sunny Bay, Tsing Yi Southwest and Ma Liu Shui.

It is backed by engineers' and surveyors' groups, and opposed by groups including the Society for Protection of the Harbour.

The society said in its submission: "If the New Territories is properly planned for development, there is no need for … the government's proposals."

The land gained from reclamation and any housing built upon it later would be "prohibitively expensive", it said.

In the environment panel meeting, several academics are expected to speak in support of the government plan to expand three landfills, which will all be full by 2020, in order to cope with the mounting waste problem.

These include former government environmental adviser Dr Ho Kin-chung, and waste experts Professor Poon Chi-sun of Polytechnic University and Professor Jonathan Wong Woon-chung of Baptist University.

They will face arguments from Tseung Kwan O residents, who will speak as individuals and resident representatives against the extension of the Southeast landfill near their homes.

Some green groups, such as Green Sense, will attend both panels. Green Sense said it did not explicitly object to the landfill expansion, but added: "The government should waste no more time and implement the waste management policy in full. Only by reducing waste disposal at the source can we relieve the pressure on the landfills."

The development panel has reserved 10 hours, from 9am to 7pm, for the hearing, and the other will meet from 10am to 6pm.