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  • Aug 20, 2014
  • Updated: 10:51pm
NewsHong Kong
PROPERTY

Development minister Paul Chan just ‘testing water’ on country park flats

Paul Chan trying to force public thought on land supply, says source familiar with official position

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 September, 2013, 9:00am

The development minister was just testing the water and forcing Hongkongers to think about realistic ways to boost land supply when he floated the idea of building flats on country park land, according to a person familiar with the government's position.

They said Paul Chan Mo-po's controversial suggestion was a "political gesture" to show the administration - under fire for failing to resolve a long-standing land-supply problem - was trying its best to address the issue.

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?
Development minister Paul Chan

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Development Bureau said yesterday that in quoting opinions expressed by some participants in seminars, Chan was merely sharing these views.

"Those views do not represent the government's stance," the spokesman said.

The clarification of Chan's intentions came as Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying maintained the government had not changed its policies on country parks.

Chan wrote on 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 seminars - as more land would be needed to reach the target of building 470,000 flats in the next 10 years.

"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?"

Chan's remarks were a radical departure from Leung's pledge when he was running for election as chief executive that country parks "should be protected from development as far as possible", a view he confirmed in an interview with the Post almost two years ago.

In an article in Ming Pao in 2009, Leung wrote that most grass-roots people did not have time to visit country parks and questioned what further expansion of parks meant for them.

The person familiar with the government's position admitted that it was difficult to change policy on country parks, which are designated by law for the purposes of nature conservation, countryside recreation and outdoor education.

"The development minister just pointed out the worst scenario in the hope of forcing the public to think hard about realistic, or less desirable, options for increasing land supply."

Yesterday, the Development Bureau also clarified that only about 40 per cent of the land area is covered by country parks.

Friends of the Earth general-affairs director Edwin Lau Che-feng said building flats in country parks was not a realistic option. "The government should not attempt to encroach on country parks," he said.

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This article is now closed to comments

superdx
How about testing your proposed resignation
dynamco
this guy goes from gaffe to gaffe, seemingly without any consultation
I note he has not yet blamed his wife for his latest idiocy
He should be fired to save some face for Govt
Alternatively let him 'test the waters' off East Ninepin island & he can sink or swim based on his decision to take the plunge
As the Development Bureau website states: 'Enjoy your surfing "
John Adams
Mr Paul Chan Mo-po:
You need your brain examined if you even mention such ridiculous things in the context of "testing the waters"
Our country parks are one of the few vital things that make a real "difference" in HK
.
Some govt spokesman has said that there were 13 million "recorded" visits to the country parks in the past year (see Tom Holland'd column today)
As to recorded vs unrecorded visits to country parks, I have no idea at all how any visit to a country park can be "recorded" because they are all open for free access by footpath, road, MTR and ferry, and never once have I ever seen anyone 'recording' anyone who visits country parks. I myself must have visited country parks either for trekking or for morning jogs/ walks literally ten thousand times in the past 30 years.
Statistically that probably scales up the govt number of 13 million "recorded" visits by a factor of at least 100 x = 13 trillion / year .
So you really want to concrete them over ?!
If so, you must be really mad
ninacheung
Enough is enough! Paul Chan has shown over and over and over again that he does not have a smallest clue of what he's doing, what he should be doing, what the HK people want, and to top it off he's apparently also stupid enough not to get some experts to check the facts for him and/or give him advice on how to act in his public position. Do we have to physically remove this idiot from his office or what does it take for the guy to finally get the gist of it and QUIT!
the sun also rises
actually, only 40% of our land area are occupied by our over-preious country parks which are our pride--------everyone can visit the country parks within half an hour from his/her home----what a nice thing ! This Chan Mau-por has never done his 'homework' seriously before he wrote on public policies in his blog -----an official blog indeed ! How careless and absent-minded this old guy is !
scmpcuty
Naughty CY Leung! Having the most detested guy in his cabinet go out and "test waters" while knowing its full of sharks ...he has deliberately pushed his dirty guy to do some more dirty dancing!
daily
I had a real good laugh after reading the comments below and couldn't agree more...........this guy is the biggest A-hole in HK right now, and probably for a long time to come..........he has got to have the lowest EQ possible and also the least qualified person ever in the history of HK government to make any public statements such as "testing the waters".............You know what this tells us?............the fact that CY Leung is still hanging on to him and haven't kicked him out yet, goes to show that CY Leung is in the same "standards" as Paul Chan...........HK has been going downhill since this idiotic CE took over, along with his team of losers such as Paul Chan...........
When will the Central government step in and just make these two idiots disappear...........
chuchu59
Sack the idiot! As if the Government's popularity isnt low enough. After a series of blunders, even the dumbest person would get wiser and check all facts before sounding out a proposal. This guy is a true liability. CY, when are you going to let this guy go? Right now, he is probably the most-hated person in Hong Kong. I thought most accountants were pretty smart. We have an exception here I am afraid.
XYZ
Oh, I see, the so-called minister was "just kidding". If that's true, then he's a jackass and he should resign. Now.
Another Social Critics...
***That 'CY' & Its Related Group...
1) With Barry Cheung in first 6-9 Months of its Terms, Manipulation of Up-Pushing
Already SkyRocketing HK's Land & Property - Pricing, Out-Exceed 97's Level almost 50%.
Until be Temporarily & Compulsorily Stopped by Financial Secretary & Monetary Authority,
thru Temporary Implemenation of 'Ginger Tactics', though didn't got its much Intended Effects.
***Still Looking for More Excuses in Release of 'Ginger Tactics', if there Existed...!!!
2) Now again with Paul Chan in 'Hunting' for More Land Supplies...Disguisedly said for
coming Ten Years Need.
***Seemingly more Alike to Squeeze-Out/Sell-Off the most Treasured out of HK's.
***BLACKHANDED & BLACKHEARTED***
1) Manipulation for Self/Other Profiteering, thru SkyRocketing HK's Land & Property - Pricing.
2) Abuses of Power in its Governmental Positions, in Self/Other Profiteering in Actuality.
***CENTRAL CHINA GOVERNMENT...DON'T BE FURTHER DECEITED...!!!
1) BoXiLai, China Railway Minister & its Group's Incident in MainLand.
2) AuManLun's Incident in Macau...Etc!!!
***WATCH CAREFULLY, SEE CLEARLY & DISCLOSE PUBLICLY...!!!
As Long as that 'CY' & Its Related Group are Still...'EVIL NATURE'
Intentionally, Insistedly to Plan & Execute their Profiteering Acts...
In Against to HK's Best Interest, in Short Term, not to say Long Term Perspective !!!
***CENTRAL CHINA GOVERNMENT...DO HK's GOOD-SAKE...!!!
***IMMEDIATE DISMISSAL of that 'CY & Its Related Group!!!

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