• Sun
  • Aug 31, 2014
  • Updated: 2:26pm
NewsHong Kong
HOUSING

Development secretary Paul Chan floats idea of building flats in country parks

As city sets 10-year housing target amid acute land shortage, minister says the possibility of developing park spaces should be discussed

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 September, 2013, 3:59pm
 

Poll

  • Yes: 17%
  • No: 83%
9 Sep 2013
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 711

The development minister has floated the idea of building flats on land in country parks, questioning whether such a controversial option was "untouchable and unmentionable".

The remarks by Paul Chan Mo-po are a radical departure from Leung Chun-ying's pledge when he was running for election as chief executive that country parks "should be protected from development as far as possible", a vow he shared in an interview with the South China Morning Post almost two years ago.

Laws stipulate that country parks are designated for the purposes of nature conservation, countryside recreation and outdoor education.

Chan's suggestion came after the committee devising a long-term housing strategy for Hong Kong last week unveiled a proposal to build 470,000 flats in the next 10 years, a target criticised as unattainable given the limited land supply.

Chan wrote on his blog yesterday that society should discuss and explore the possibility of developing country parks - an idea he said had recently been raised in various seminars - as more land would be needed to reach the housing target.

"During the exchange, someone mentioned that 70 per cent of Hong Kong's land is country parks, [and] in face of a shortage of land supply and a big housing demand ... can they not be developed at all?

"The development of country parks was seen as a restricted area, if not a taboo. Is it still completely untouchable and unmentionable today?" Chan asked.

Giving an example, he said some people believed development on Lantau, which is mostly country park, should not be limited to the island's north.

Criticising Chan's remarks, environmental activist Roy Tam Hoi-pong, of campaign group Green Sense, said the government should instead review immigration schemes aimed at attracting mainlanders, otherwise an influx of hundreds of thousands of people in the coming decade would make housing demands unbearable.

View Larger Map

Meanwhile, the secretary for transport and housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, said building more flats had to take priority over increasing their size, although housing capacity and quality were mentioned in the committee's proposal.

"If you can't even increase the quantity, how do you increase [flat] areas?" Cheung said on TVB Jade's On the Record.

However, he hoped that the Housing Authority would consider building bigger public flats in more remote areas, conceding that Hong Kong fell behind some less developed countries in terms of living space per capita.

Lau Ping-cheung, Leung's housing adviser and a member of the committee, suggested vacant industrial buildings be turned into interim housing for people waiting for public flats.

Fellow committee member Fred Li Wah-ming said old public flats to be vacated for redevelopment should be converted into interim housing for the 230,000 applicants in the queue.

Share

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

66

This article is now closed to comments

Hollander323
Chan is burdened with the responsibility to provide housing for HK people, he has the duty to generate options for land as much as possible. Now that the options have almost been exhausted, and that all are objected by some camps or some interest groups including mainly political groups. Mr Chan should know what to do now, that is, either to do nothing, or to just pick any one which has the least resistance and at the same time can generate the highest benefit for the HK people. The collusion allegation tactics have been used too many times, so much so that it just sound like a joke.
mercedes2233
Wait a minute. Does Chan Mo-po and his wife and his son and wife's bankrupt brother etc own any more land in those areas, or have links with developers? He hasn't got an entirely squeaky clean reputation.
Cliff B
The man's a moron and developers are close to, if not, the biggest scum of Hong Kong. If you let them have even an inch, they'll take a mile and won't stop there. These people only care for profits and worship the all-mighty dollar, they couldn't give a monkeys about the housing problem - they just want the land for profits and I'd be interested to see how much "commission" Paul Chan would receive for all this.
daily
I just wonder if this idiot will ever shut up and step down so that all us SCMP readers won't have to voice out our anger towards him here...........would sure save us a lot of time and then we can read up on other guys we do like............hahahaha...............
Byebye
SCMP - it may not be a bad idea to print all the views posted here regarding building flats in Country Parks on your news.
Another Social Critics...
If this Idea come out from Paul Chan said, at least for public Discussion, then More should be Proposed, like including HK'CE' House & Its Resort House in FanLing, & Etc...Too!!!
In Addition to Cheung P.L.'s proposal in its Committee, especially in coming Ten Year's HK Housing Development...
Pretending to be so Massive & WholeHearted Scale in Consideration for Majority of HK's General
Populations - Housing Needs!!!???
1) See thru on its Estimate of coming Housing Need - Its Quantity, not to mention any Quality if even Mentioned!?
2) See thru on its Proposed Scale of Possible Land Supplies - Its Quantity, not to mention its Share in Public/Private Sector!!??
3) See thru on its Coming Execution Time, Even if possibly Realized!!!???
Disclosing that 'CY' & Its Related Group - No Intention in Services to HK's general Populations!!!
Never ask for Best Interests - Affordable Housing...Government & Private Sectors!!!
1) Under-Estimate causing Further In-Balance of Supply/Demand!!!
2) Chasing More Lands for Self/Others Profiteering in Actuality!!!
3) Not only 1 to 2 or even more Terms be required in Execution!!!
Disclosing that 'CY' in Fear but Intention in Remain in Positions as 'CE'...
For What...You'll Tell!!!???
Abuse of Power, Manipulation for Self/Other Profiteering...
Corruption need more Informers Only.
AuManLun/Ex-Railway Minister's Incidents...More
Don't be Further Deceited...Central China Government!!!
IMMEDIATE DISMISSAL of 'CY' & Its Related Group...!!!
caractacus
What a stupid, IGNORANT, morally reprehensible statement.
This was C. Y. Leung's 2012 Chief Executive Election manifesto promise: "We will protect our country parks and bodies of land and water with ecological value, and formulate long-term plans for other areas of land available for development."
Is C.Y. Leung going to check if any member of Paul Chan Mo Po's family owns land in a country park? Will Chan propose sub divided flats there next?
The country parks should belong to all the people of Hong Kong, but the village enclaves are all under imminent threat of massive development already by the Heung Yee **** and its developer allies.
Has there been struck some underhand deal with the Heung Yee ****, whose chairman, coincidentallly, is a member of Exco?
Will C. Y. Leung honour any promise he has made? Is there ANYTHING which can remain sacred, incorruptible and sacred from the filth and corruption of developers?
C.Y. should kick this creature out of his administration.
johnyuan
To response to jve’s math of the following:
“So basically, we are allowing as many mainland immigrants in as we have (net) babies being born.” I will look at it from another perspective:
.....
Hong Kong’s birth rate is considered to be low. It is being kept low because couples refrain from forming family in adverse living conditions in Hong Kong. Yet, with the 150 mainlanders daily settling in Hong Kong, we are doubling the birthrate of that natural response by the sensible people in Hong Kong.
….
With 150 new comers and assuming only a third would require immediate household formation, we are talking of building two 30-story residential towers in every Districts EVERY YEAR. More if back logs are considered. Yes in your backyard. This property development game has played long enough. CY Leung, it is your opportunity to stop this lunacy.
impala
I am not saying that those 55,000 mainland immigrants per year are too few, or too many. I am just stating the facts in response to a comment asking how many mainland immigrants we are indeed receiving. And the answer is: a lot; roughly as many as we have natural population growth (births-deaths).

If asked for a value judgement about this, yes, I would agree with you that, given the significant problems we face in terms of housing (and other) shortages, it is a questionable policy to consistently double our population's annual growth rate. And what is most worrying, is the long term impact of this. We now have 10% of the population that moved here in the past 15 years from the mainland. If this continues at the same pace, that will be 20% by 2027, etc.
johnyuan
I know that, jve and that's why I looked at the number in another perspective. Thank you for those numbers to make my comment convinently possible.
onedistrict
WHAT IF .....
What if restricted new environmental friendly developments are required to:
- provide more green areas than that taken up by building sites, roads & supporting facilities
- provide green roofs, multi-storey sky gardens, green covered walls, walkways & car-parking
- provide energy capture or recapture systems to power communal facilities
- provide near zero or low emission holistic living environments
- have residents agree to certain standards of 'green code' community living
Such developments would be expensive to develop & take time to implement, however, such experiments should be explored in full by the Government to resolve the present & future housing requirements of Hong Kong.
When conventional solutions fail, it's time to think outside of the box. In the case of future housing in Hong Kong, technology is the key!
dascaldasf
WHAT IF... What you are saying amounts to the equivalent of what had happened in Rain Forests in Brazil will be happening to HK. Would you be satisfied with something that is man-made and not natural to the environment? Can you not image the difference between green rooftops and countryside. Can you see yourself or your children/grand children going up to walks on rooftops? You have only considered giving up on nature for just buildings. There are, of course, pipes, sewage, population, vehicles etc. What the government 'promise' today will be empty words tomorrow. Look around you. When the government only plays an 'advisory' role, no one listens, i.e. the cross harbour tunnels, transportation companies and electric companies. One cannot live on promises after it's gone!
onedistrict
dascaldasf:
Appreciate your views.
The housing situation in HK is acute, local & historical.
The city was never planned for the current & growing population.
The city functions, however, behind the scenes, people are packed in concrete boxes. Some may say: "At the very least, they have roofs on top of their heads." In reality, it's extremely difficulty for those below the 'safety net' to find half decent accommodation in HK. For HK to lay claims as Asia's World City, that's absolutely pitiful.
There is already a two-tier housing system in HK, the private sector (For the privileged) and public sector (For the less privileged). The problem lies with the public sector housing programs. There is gross imbalance between supply and demand - much more is needed and preferably soon. The less privileged has no access to half (or 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/20) decent accommodation. For the less privileged, space is their sanctuary. For them, any space will do, green space, built space, air space, so long as it's their own adequate space to satisfy their basic needs. Until the basic hierarchy of needs are satisfied, it's difficult for people to move forward.
HK has its set of unique problems, it's up the capable and far-sighted individuals of the Government or philanthropic groups to resolve.
As I mentioned previously, technology is the key, however, people are the drivers.
honkiepanky
I don't like that HK grants so many one-way permits. I don't like the fact that we waste land on things like golf courses and the High Speed Rail Terminus to nowhere. I don't like greedy landlords and developers. I don't like Paul Chan.
But Hong Kong's housing situation will never improve if HKers reflexively oppose every proposal made by the government. We need to look at the situation rationally. Hong Kong allocates 7% of its land mass to residential housing and 70% to country parks. By giving up just 10% of the country parks, we could in principle double the living space of every single person in HK. How on Earth can anyone say such a tradeoff is not worthwhile?
caractacus
Bad idea. Once you let them start, the developers will never stop.
johnyuan
Bad idea. Once you let them start, the developers, government and speculators will never stop. It's all business.
Dai Muff
Because we won't double the living space. It'll just increase the profit base for some people and the poor will still be living in subdivided apartments.
dascaldasf
I am with you on your first paragraph but the idea of 10% country parks give-away do not work. Have you not heard of the saying: give an inch and a yard is taken? You can work out on the percentages to that. (You might not know this but developers move into sensitive areas with bulldozers and trucks clearing vegetation, trees, shrubs before they submit applications to the Town Planning Board for road widening and surveying. This malpractice has to stop.)
honkiepanky
@Stagger: that doesn't make any sense. If the housing stock doubles, and the population stays roughly stable, please explain how you do _not_ increase the average housing area per person? Plus if you think that way, you must oppose any new housing development whatsoever!
@dascaldasf: If at some point HK has too much housing and too little country park, then we should oppose further development at that point. But it's silly to oppose new development now on that basis. I don't see the slippery slope.
Dai Muff
"Plus if you think that way, you must oppose any new housing development whatsoever!" No I don't. But the problem is not that there are no flats. The problem is that there are expensive flats and flats that are being speculated on and many properties empty. The primary issue is price, not availability, but we have a CE who seems to think the very idea of rent control, for example, is the spawn of the devil. Taking the country parks should be the last resort. Not the first.
honkiepanky
"the primary issue is price, not availability" -- wrong, there is a serious problem of availability. Hong Kong has the least housing area per person of any developed economy. We have lower quality and far more expensive housing than many developing countries. Speculators make easy scapegoats but speculation wouldn't be so attractive if the government could be relied upon to expand housing supply to meet the aspirations of the populace.
Rent control is opposed for a good reason -- it is extremely distortionary and inequitable over the long term. I suggest you look at the situation in cities such as New York and San Francisco, where the rents paid by neighbors in identical apartments sometimes differ by a factor of 5.
honger
Idle land in country parks in Lantau vs cage homes/subdivided flats/crowded families crammed into 400 ft pigeon holes/a lifetime locked into mortgage/etc...
I suggest developing parts of Lantau, especially the area around Disco Bay and the golf course The past govt deemed it fit to let a private developer build up huge areas in the immediate vicinity to the now ruined Peng Chau and the old monastery/dairy farm - not to mention cordoning off a huge section of previous hiking trails - for private use.
Why don't they build public housing around the idle land (country parks) surrounding this private fiefdom since the original country park in this area is already desecrated?
The transport network is up and ready - both rail and road. Since this part is nearer to the city, it will be more popular than the areas developed in Tung Chung.
Only on Lantau though, Hong Kong Island and Kowloon/New Territories should be left intact. If we do our Math, these areas with country parks yields only a low ratio. Only if you add Lantau do you get the 70 percent touted.
But of course the particular property co. has got their man(woman) in Exco to prevent this. In the end, country parks and the remaining historic villages and trails in the Kowloon/NT areas will be targeted...
Even if they do decide to build around Disco Bay, it will again be luxury units aimed at foreigners or the wealthy.
I hope I will be proved wrong.
dascaldasf
Is Paul Chan serious about this? Does he know anything about biodiversity and nature conservation? To talk about this in his 'blog' - that society should discuss and explore the possibility of developing country parks - an idea he said had recently been raised in various seminars'. Whose idea? His or developers? Even if an ordinary man might have suggested it, does it merit Paul Chan to put it in his blog? Someone's idea can influence him to use it? It is not obvious that Paul Chan should find alternatives before turning to the ideas of others? Is he out of touch with the law on this subject? Does he still have land close to country parks? What credibility does he still have ... anymore?
Dai Muff
He says ""The development of country parks was seen as a restricted area, if not a taboo. Is it still completely untouchable and unmentionable today?" Yes. That is what "taboo" means. And there is your consensus. Why mention ignoring a taboo, defining your own "consensus" to suit yourself, while all the time this government says it wants a harmonious Hong Kong? "Harmony" is not achieved by doing what you want and then forcing the people to agree. But this government has a problem understanding this.
hardhang
Mr Chan's a visionary ,,,, in need of his glasses ,,,, thick ones at that ...
sklailee
Let's be fair. Preserving 70% of HK's land as country park,countryside when we top the whole world in house prices? Environmentalists and conservationists are vocal but they only represent themselves, a small minority in the population.
I agree to the suggestion of restrcting people form the mainland from grabbing houses in HK, but this restriction must not be made a pre-requisite before country parks can be developed.
HK will be a good place to live in even if only 40% of our land is country park.
chuchu59
Its not merely homes that we need. If it were then the Government ought proposing people live in subdivided flats. As an international city, other than just cramped homes we must spare a thought for the quality of the living environment. CY had mentioned many times before that there is adequate supply of land. Get the inspectors out and check on which flats are vacant for an unreasonably long period and stop landlords hoarding them. This applies to developers as well. Then hink of imposing 'vacant flat' taxes on greedy landlords. Supply of flats for rent or sale should rise and bring prices down.
Dai Muff
We top the world in prices because of speculation and lack of rent controls. Not space. There is a flat next to me that has been empty for eight years while people go homeless. Curb the greed, not the parks.
haloboy
Not only the prices but also the densitY. There are so many people live in the developed area, I don't think make them denser can solve the problem.
sydmel
What do Hong Kong people really want? Conservation or destruction in the name of "development"? Especially when such development is to accomodate unlimited migrants from mainland China, I will say No! No! No!
sipsip1238
How is he still in the Government and not been forced to resign!?
dktatlow
Without the country parks Hong Kong will be like any other mainland Chinese city -- ugly, a grey wasteland, overwhelming polluted with little escape for residents. People's connection to nature will break off even more, damaging their humanity. The parks are Hong Kong's lung, its heart, they are what keeps families living in the city. Don't cut them up.
daily
He is simply trying to digress the HK citizen's minds from his other wrongdoings and criminal acts.............give it up Paul Chan...............your career is toast once the investigations on you are out in the open...............
wjohnw
When will Hong Kong Learn?
The Country Parks are for all HongKongers, they are a jewel that cannot be weighed, a porcelain vase that cannot be copied...
It is an abhorent idea to suggest they we utilised for accomodation, Paul cHan Mo-Po has revealed himself as part of the insipid process to resensitise Hong Kong people to an idea that benefits developers only, by providing cheap to build on land, and maximising profitablitity while stealing the gift of space, of out doors and of nature from Hong kong as a whole.
In stead of spending multi billions of dollars on a bridge to Zuhai, perhaps we could use that money to build a urban plan for the territory that utilised internal connections to outlying islands, bridges and tunnels to artificial islands off of the current 3 major land masses?
We certainly have the technology and knowhow, it might cost more, but in the long run we could all look around and see that we did not sit ideally by and watch the place get bulldosed.
Create instead of destroy...
Create instead of destroy.
.
boondeiyan
If the majority of HK people want to pave over the country parks then let it be done.
.
Problem is, we have no conclusive means of knowing what the majority of HK people want on this or any issue. One of the slight drawbacks in an authoritarian system of government.
Byebye
To build flats in the country parks is a bad idea. Hong Kong is already a very built up city, and country parks should be retained for the enjoyable of ALL the people. There are still other land available. What happened to the Fanning Golf Club proposal, or land in New Territories, Laudau or other islands and those near China borders?
the sun also rises
of course this Chan Mo-po or his family can never own any part of our country parks which are government property ! Yet once he is found to own any part of it, he will be closely monitored and subsequently challenged by his 'fans' in the territory ! Anyway, to turn part of our country parks into building lodgings for the low-income groups may be a good idea indeed since it is easier than looking for any vacant land in the urban areas !
darehk
check first to be sure neither he nor his family, including the bankrupt ones, do not own any country parks
impala
Sure, the topic should be open for debate. Some Country Parks only exist for the sake of the freshwater reservoirs they contain. There was a time when relations with the mainland were not reliable, and those reservoirs were vital for Hong Kong's water management.

Those days are long gone though, and it is not unreasonable to discuss whether such reservoirs and the surrounding Country Parks should remain untouched forever and always.

Yet, you cannot help but get the impression that Mr Chan is bringing this up out of sheer cowardice to face the vested interests that oppose his other land development options. Why don't we first address the small house policy, which is clearly wrong-headed and unsustainable? And what about that Fanling Golf Course? What about some real urban renewal in places like To Kwa Wan, Sham Shui Po or elsewhere? Or why are we wasting huge amounts on space on an unnecessary giant sports stadium at Kai Tak? How about some (tax) policies that would discourage landlords from letting apartments sit empty? How about something similar to incentivise the property developers to develop (and bring to market!) the dozens if not hundreds of plots sitting in their land banks?

Why does our government have no coherent vision on land policy, and worse: why does it seem to want to avoid any hard decisions or more complicated policies that might change the status quo just a tiny bit? Instead, they choose the path of least resistance. Frustrating.
honkiepanky
I think you may be letting the perfect be the enemy of the good here. Kai Tak, the Fanling Golf course, and urban redevelopment put together are not going to provide enough housing to significantly put a dent in housing prices (let alone average flat sizes). Most of the land allocated for small house building is scattered and not suitable for large scale development anyway.
impala
There is no single silver bullet solution, sure. But the Fanling golf course is 170 hectares and could become home to over 30,000 flats. Cancelling the Kai Tak Sports Complex would provide space for another 35,000 flats (in addition to the 35,000 already planned there in the current blueprint). So there we have 100,000 flats we could start on tomorrow.

That leaves space for 370,000 to be found. Where are we on the 3,000 flats that were going to be built in the old Lamma Quarry? Oh, and how about instead of this third runway nonsense, we speed up the Tung Chung East project (38,000 flats)?

Sure, none of it is a panacea, but I am just so tired of this government showing no comprehensive vision whatsoever and avoiding to touch anything that might upset the status quo, while we have hundreds of thousands of people being unable to afford decent housing, people living in cage homes, people living in unsafe, tiny, subdivided flats, people not being able to afford having kids due to no space etc, while the property developers and other vested interest groups are laughing all the way to the bank. And make no mistake: that is purely the result of at least half a decade of complete and utter failure of the government to have a proper land supply and planning policy.
honkiepanky
Would it really be so terrible if, say, 30% of HK's land were devoted to country parks rather than 70%? Is keeping such a high percentage worth continuing to squeeze everyone into itty-bitty flats? I say build baby, build.
impala
I don't disagree with yout, but please note that what really drives the itty-bitty flats is the government's density requirements for residential zoned land. Without reforming those policies, no amount of new (Country Park) land is going to lead to more spacious flats.
HK-Explorer
How many mainlanders are allowed to move to Hong Kong each month? I keep on hearing this being mentioned but what is the extent that this has on Hong Kong?
dynamco
it used to be 150 per day / about 55,000 a year
not sure if that changed
impala
In the 15-year period 1997-2012, some 750,000 formerly mainland residents settled permanently in Hong Kong.

The vast majority of these come in through the one-way permit scheme, which is currently maxed-out with a waiting list of many years. The quota of the scheme is set at 150 entries per day. That's 4,500 per month, or about 55,000 mainland immigrants per year.

To put it into perspective: that is about the same as the natural growth rate of the HK population, which has around 80~100k births and 40~50k deaths in a year (net natural growth: 40~50k per year). So basically, we are allowing as many mainland immigrants in as we have (net) babies being born.
johnyuan
Hong Kong’s birth rate is considered to be low. It is being kept low because couples refrain from forming family in adverse living conditions in Hong Kong. Yet, with the 150 mainlanders daily settling in Hong Kong, we are doubling the birthrate of that natural response by the sensible people in Hong Kong.
….
With 150 new comers daily and assuming only a third would require immediate household formation, we are talking of building two 30-story residential towers in every Districts EVERY YEAR. More if back logs are considered. Yes in your backyard non-stop.
.....
A naive and silly game has played out long enough. CY Leung please take care of it.
johnyuan
....
Kubrick
Once the country parks are gone, what next? We need a sustainable land policy. Stop the influx from the mainland, cancel the obscene small house policy and then look at using some of the idle military land. Of course, none of this will happen because vested interests have more power then the ordinary people.
fsk999
CY's Election Manifesto 2012:
Natural environment conservation:
12. We will refine the conservation and development of our country parks, extend coastal parks by phases, and develop other kinds of reserves to expand the ecological capacity of
Hong Kong.
13. We will take steps to protect outstanding natural scenery as one of our nature conservation objectives, identify places of high scenic value in the territory and adopt appropriate
protective measures.
14. We will review the integrated social values of the agricultural industry in Hong Kong from the perspective of ecological landscape and 'Green Hong Kong' and set up an interdepartmental working group to formulate policies to promote and support new-age multifunctional agricultural activities on land suitable for agriculture.
"Refine" does not mean building flats inside Country Parks Mr Chan.
johnyuan
First of all, Patrick Lau of past HKU Architecture School Dean and decade ago announced that country parks should be developed while he was a legislator. I am sure he was speaking on behalf of the vested interest group which he represented.
......
With more than 70% of land classified as country parks, it seems there are rooms for some development. However, it can be done so only if it is absolutely a necessity when every other means has exhausted:
1. Daily influx of mainlanders to settle in Hong Kong under the family reunion policy must be halted. Tell me how many country parks must be destroyed to accommodate the potential of such infinite vast population from the north?
2. A property tax should be put in place to halt the property culture for good.
……
Developing country parks is a sin/crime if Hong Kong government just wallows into it for business as usual. Remember, it is just plain shamelessly greed and dishonesty in the open in chopping down those trees in the parks.
dienw
..... I suspect he has a plot of land in a country park which his wife wants to sell to her brother.....
HK-Explorer
Of course she would have sold it 4 months ago when her husband first told her his plans. Be real.
Once we the people of Hong Kong hear about it the news has already been handed to all the wealthy people so they can change their strategy before the masses get to know what will happen.
Dai Muff
Somehow he does not seem to grasp the concept of a country park.I think the golf courses for the rich should go before the country parks, which are for everybody. Besides the problem is not as much the lack of housing as the lack of affordable housing. Try controlling the greedy speculators in living space first.
HK-Explorer
Yes, Golf courses should be gone prior to country parks. Golf courses provide no financial benefit for Hong Kong and provide no benefit for 99.9% of people in HK.
They also do not help the environment at all. It is just short grass with allot of pesticides and allot of GAS / Water to keep them in top shape. They are not environmental like country parks with trees which help clean the air.
dascaldasf
Turn the golf courses into car parks. Would benefit most.
XYZ
Of course the topic of examining whether some parts of some country parks might be used for development can be discussed, although it would seem that preserving green areas in Hong Kong has met with widespread community approval for many years. For Mr. Chan to decry the subject as "untouchable and unmentionable" is a measure of his ill-temper, not a genuine invitation to re-visit the policy. Instead, it is the typically petulant response of an arrogant government official when the public raises questions or objections to the official's plans. In effect, he is threatening the Hong Kong public who dare question his decisions by saying, "If you don't accept my plan, then we'll take away your country parks". The man should resign. Now.
anson
The Government is constantly challenged by its own ineptitude, incompetence and lack of vision as to what type of city we all want to live in.
On July 1, 1997 all free property rights regarding indigenous villagers should have been abolished. In fact a better time would have been somewhere in the mid-80s when it became apparent that Hong Kong was an economic success and NT people were not then trying to leave in droves, as in previous decades.
We don't need more roads. Look at the amount of space and money burnt by an ever increasing road network. For GS why did the Gov't not look at Eurotunnel and think when they were approving the Macau bridge? This bridge will only put more pressure on urban land requirements in Hong Kong.
For places in the countryside, you don't need to build on country parks, e.g. Mui Wo Secondary School - abandoned for the last five years - use it or rebuild on it. Close to buses and ferries, no new roads needed. I am sure readers in other areas know of many more sites available for housing than digging up a forest or field, building new roads, etc.
fsk999
If this Sacred Cow is ever slaughtered or even slightly injured the Hong Kong we know and love will gradually become more and more like other Chinese cities. Maybe that is the idea. However, if he blogged this yesterday during his Sunday off, maybe he was suffering from too much of Henry's throw-away basement wine...
HK-Lover
Since Hong Kong has such limited space we should also look at the reason we need more and more housing. One that comes to mind is the the daily quota allowing mainlanders to settle in HK. Adjusting the quota to a much lower limit would release a lot of pressure on the housing situation.
scmpcoolguy
HK Lover - Reducing the daily quota of 150 mainlanders allowed to settle in HK is a real taboo subject in the eyes of the Central Govt. Even CY Leung said openly this is a taboo and no HK govt would dare to touch it. This daily quota of 150 was installed in the early 80s after the "four modernisation" policies put forward by Deng was adopted. It is a measure to ensure HK will have 54,750 new immigrants per year so as to allow China to catch up the difference in living standards between HK and the mainland (with the ultimate objective to achieve economic equality between the two sides 50 years later in 2047). It is also en effective measure in the minds of the central govt that HK will continue to be populated by pro-China thinking and inhibit the pro-British or worse still pro-independence thinking of the locally born and bred population. With the latest colonial flag waving and a pro-independence camp thriving among HKs post 80s & 90s population, honestly it's hard to see the central govt putting a damper on the daily quota
HK-Explorer
Prior to discussing developing in country parks the government should remove the small house policy. They should end it to eligible people already born. Anyone born after now is no longer eligible to free land to build a house.
They should then amend it to the land can only be used to build 10 story buildings with 4 flats per story and that each eligable person gets 1 flat of 800 SQ feet and they cannot sell this flat (or the land).
This will then mean HK has honoured its pledge for providing a house for the indigenous people alive today who were already entitled.
This will then provide enough land for development without touching country Parks.
HK-Explorer
Further to the indigenous-multi-story-housing-policy that should replace the small house policy (for those eligible already born) the government should stipulate the only building layout to remove any unknown answers and also to ensure no one takes advantage of this (i.e. by adding 4 story car parks, large balconies etc..).
They should say this is the exact 10 story building you are allowed to build and must meet this specification (similar to how the government builds government towers).
Anyone builder who does not follow this process would be banned from building anymore of these indigenous buildings.
chuchu59
I would have triple-liked this suggestion if the system allowed me to do so. Killing several birds with one stone. Freeing more land for housing purposes, easing tensions between the haves and have-nots as well as saving face for the Government. You should get an award from the Government for this.
maecheung
Excellent suggestion! It's discriminatory to give free land to build small house to indigenous people not yet born, and not giving to people who were born in HK in the city, but not indigenous, twenty or thirty years ago.
dynamco
www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1290468/pressure-mounts-chan-step-down
"Lawmakers passed a motion on Friday morning urging Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po to step down over the conflict-of-interest row relating to a new town project.
The non-binding motion, moved by People Power's Albert Chan Wai-yip, was passed by the Legislative Council's development panel with a vote of 11 to 7."
Which part of this does Chan Mo-Po not understand ? What are the chances of getting this project passed through Legco ? What are the chances of getting any proposal by Chan Mo-Po through Legco ?
It seems Chan & CY Leung are the only people in Hong Kong who do not realise the resignation time is past due for Chan. Without trust in the proposer, any such policy is doomed.
Meanwhile reverse mine the landfills to create land for public housing.
The 150,000 tpa plasma trial plant would be free , just Govt to provide the land FOC.
 
 
 
 
 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or