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  • Apr 19, 2014
  • Updated: 1:54pm
NewsHong Kong

Hong Kong has no plans to develop country parks, says environment chief

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 September, 2013, 4:00pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 September, 2013, 6:12pm

Environment secretary Wong Kam-sing said on Monday Hong Kong had no plans to build flats on land in country parks despite development secretary Paul Chan Mo-po’s floating of the idea in his blog on Sunday.

Chan’s remarks, which have stirred a heated debate in the community, represent a radical departure from a pledge made by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying when he was running for election.

At the time, Leung said, "I attach great importance to green belt zones. They should be protected from development as far as possible."

There are certain principles we have to respect with country parks [as] we have well-established laws to protect them
Environment secretary Wong Kam-sing

Wong, when asked about Chan’s suggestions, said the government had no plans to change its policy on country parks and considered it very important to protect them.

“There are certain principles we have to respect with country parks [as] we have well-established laws to protect them,” Wong said.

He said the development secretary was only citing ideas put forward by members of the community while discussing land and housing issues.

“[These] included innovative ideas for land use in country parks,” Wong said, adding the government was open-minded to different ideas.

Chan wrote in his blog on Sunday 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.

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. This target has been criticised as unattainable given the limited land supply.

On Monday afternoon, the Development Bureau also issued a statement saying the remarks carried in Chan’s blog did not represent the government's stance on the issue.

“[Chan] quoted seminar attendees who suggested that developing land in country parks was worth considering as there was a shortage of land and a large demand for housing,” a bureau spokesman said.

“This was a sharing of views by some members of the community intended to provide a basis for discussion. It does not represent the government’s stance,” he said.

The spokesman also said country parks made up about 40 per cent of Hong Kong’s land, not 70 per cent as was cited in Chan’s blog.
 

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sipsip1238
So was the original news an attempt by Paul Chan to just divert attention away from his corrupt behavior of late?
Doesn't matter if he is corrupt before or continues to be anyway, there's a tendency for "men" in Hong Kong to blame all wrongdoings on their wives anyway. Gives other men to actually treat women right a bad name.
I'm surprised that Mr. Chan didn't blame his wife for the minor bump he had with his car that he overdramatized his "injuries" and had to be hospitalised, wasting taxpayers' money.
dienw
Sorry but this is almost unintelligible.
Kubrick
Its called "flying a kite." It's a tried and tested method of the HK government. Get someone to venture forth with a controversial idea. Monitor the reaction, and if its strong simply deny the idea was ever being seriously considered. Unusually, in this case, the kite has come down rather quickly.
impala
Oh it is all just deliciously splendid isn't it. Walking political disaster Paul Chan goes off on a tangent. Secretary for Environment gets sent in to deny it all without Paul Chan having to personally backtrack or loose face. As usual, CY is nowhere to be seen, and keeps doing his best to convey the overall impression he has absolutely no clue about what is going on, and is not even in control of his own team, least of all of Paul Chan.

At the end of the month, we are none the wiser, no policy has been made, let alone implemented, CY collects his 400k salary, and the respective secretaries both collect their 330k each. Splendid.
dascaldasf
A ship with no rudder or a train without tracks. Take your pick. What's going on?
daily
Just goes to show that the people on CY's team is not sitting on the same ship or steering in the same direction..........or, maybe Paul Chan is still trying to do stupid things to hide from his earlier conflict-of-interest crimes............he will just never learn.
norodnik
CY Leung's government talking out of both sides of their mouth...Paul Chan needs to be reined in....
Another Social Critics...
Do Paul Chan, Wong K.S. didn't know What'll be its Reactions when/what/why-ever they Speak for its Positions...Either do that 'CY' didn't know!!!???
** Of Course...NOT!!!
A) Tactics of that 'CY' in Exercising its Positions...
'High-Profile' in Speaking/Doing Acts that attract Publics's Attention, if expected its less Criticism...Like these Topics or some Welfare Acts & Etc.
'Low-Profile' in disguisedly Speaking/Doing Acts that evade Public's Attention, if expected its much Criticism...Like CY - 'Open Sale of Government-Aided Housing without Need in Compensation to Government', Paul Chan - 'Involvement in East-North Land's Incidents' & Etc.
B) Purpose Only for...
Utilizing the Shortest Time, though might hunger the Longest Time, to Squeeze-Out/Sell-Off the Most Treasured out of HK's, especially in its Lands & Development.
Pretending to Serve HK's Best Interests, even Across its possible Terms of Services, plus Doing More for next 'CE' in Advance...???
C) Pretending to have Support from CCG's thru various Acts, like frequent Quotations from senior China's Official speeches under which only Support HKSAR's Functioning Properly & Legitimately, Nothing Personal...???
** Seeing Clearly...'Not Loving China, not to say Loving HK'
Abuses of Power, Manipulation for Self/Other Profiteering, Triad Involvement,
Corruption need more Informers Only.
** No More Continual Deceit to Central China Government & HK's**
IMMEDIATE DISMISSAL of 'CY' & Its Related Group...BRAVO!!!
daily
Both..........plus............Pigs without brains............
dienw
Yes and use a very unpopular figure to fly the kite - that way when the kite crash lands, he gets the opprobrium and the rest get off relatively unscathed.

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