Chief secretary moves to shore up support ahead of landfill expansion vote
The government is making its last-ditch efforts to garner politicians’ and residents’ support for a controversial landfill extension plan in Tuen Mun, ahead of a Legislative Council meeting on Friday to scrutinise the proposal.
These efforts include a meeting between Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and district councillors in Tuen Mun on Thursday to hear and address their concerns.
Revealing her decision to meet the local councillors, Lam said on Tuesday she and her colleagues were talking to politicians in a last-minute effort to get their support for two landfill extension proposals, including the Tuen Mun one.
“We surely hope the two proposals will be passed this week. But so far the prospect of this happening is not high,” she said.
The two proposals – one to launch a feasibility study to expand the Tuen Mun dump and another to extend the Ta Kwu Ling landfill – will be tabled in Legco for funding approval on Friday.
The Tuen Mun project has met particularly strong opposition from the Tuen Mun district council, with its chairman Lau Wong-fat, who is also a pro-government lawmaker and rural leader, vowing to block it in the Legco.
Lau is also a big landowner in the area near the Tuen Mun landfill site.
Lam said that at Thursday's meeting with district councillors, she would respond to residents’ calls for improvements to roads and waterways and address their environmental concerns.
Earlier in the day, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying urged lawmakers and Tuen Mun residents to support the two proposals, saying they were necessary to allow the city cope with its waste.
Christine Loh Kung-wai, the undersecretary for the Environment, also said on Tuesday that government officials would discuss the landfill extension plans with lawmakers and Tuen Mun residents ahead of Friday’s meeting.
However, pan-democrats are expected to oppose the proposals.
On Tuesday as well, the Civil Party urged the government to withdraw its funding request for the Tuen Mun extension. The party has six seats in Legco.
The administration last week withdrew one for the Tseung Kwan O site amid strong opposition.