• Sun
  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 8:15am
NewsHong Kong

Road plan linking Hong Kong's outlying islands 'feasible'

Planning chief says long-term development study will probe possibility of bridges and tunnels to link with proposed large artificial island

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 February, 2014, 4:16am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 February, 2014, 2:28pm

Hong Kong's long-term development study will consider whether outlying islands should be connected to urban areas with bridges and tunnels via the proposed new artificial island, planning and civil engineering officials said yesterday.

Ling Kar-kan, the director of planning, said: "It will be feasible to consider if road links ... can be provided to connect the outlying islands to the newly developed area."

By this he was referring to a proposed large artificial island between Hong Kong Island and Lantau Island that is now under consultation. The suggestion is backed by Islands District councillors who met Ling yesterday.

But a planning academic and a conservationist have criticised the idea, saying it would disrupt the characteristics of these outlying islands.

Ling, meanwhile, said that south Lantau would be reserved for conservation and leisure purposes, while the northern part would continue to serve strategic development needs.

His seemingly definite comment on plans for Lantau come soon after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying set up a committee to look into the island's development potential.

In yesterday's Islands council meeting, residents' representatives expressed concern over the government's plan for the large artificial island between Hong Kong Island and Lantau.

Some of them asked for road connections between their home islands and the artificial island, which the government says could multiply housing land supply in response to the lengthening queue for public flats.

"Unless you will study the feasibility of connecting the artificial island and outlying islands, including Lantau, we will oppose your proposal," council vice-chairwoman Chau Chuen-heung said.

Chau was addressing Robin Lee Kui-biu, deputy head of the civil engineering and development department.

Echoing Ling, Lee said studies could include whether tunnels and bridges could link up the homes. Another possibility was for island residents to take a short ferry ride to the artificial island, from where they could catch a train downtown.

Ng Cho-nam, a geography professor at the University of Hong Kong, cast doubt on the proposal to connect the islands by road. "There would be room for residential development, but the local economic and cultural characteristics would be unnecessarily lost," he said.

Paul Zimmerman, from Designing Hong Kong, which works at improving urban planning, called the proposal "unrealistic", taking into account the environmental costs. "All these islands are small, so it makes little sense practically to get increased vehicular access," he said.



More on this story

For unlimited access to:

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



This article is now closed to comments

A textbook case of a solution in search of a problem. Paving over the South China Sea is apparently more attractive to our government than such mundane chores as finding housing and jobs for its population. Out with the rascals.
So, instead of facing up to the necessary changes in our antiquated land use laws, let's put that in the too difficult to handle tray and build a new island between HK and Lantau. Are these clowns serious?
Hong Kong has plenty of land that can be redeveloped into more suitable uses including vast tracts of Kowloon that simply need to be razed and redeveloped and a vast container port the existence of which is largely so HK companies can trans-ship goods to evade PRC taxes. Turn Kwai Chung into a another Taikooshing.
they want the artificial island for another purpose
to be the new ash lagoon for the incinerator
sticking a few piles in it for the supposed outlying islands road
another hair brained daft idea from daft blinkered overpaid underworked people
I just wonder if the Director of Planning has ever been to the Outlying Islands. With the exception of Lantau (which has a bridge anyway) all the other islands would require massive reclamations to provide car parking space and people would still have to walk home because there is simply no capacity for vehicular traffic on any island. Unless, of course, the administration takes the Baron Haussman solution in Paris.
This idea is simply concrete pouring for the sake of concrete pouring and more imbecilic than usual for our "planners".
Stuart, as a stenographer, you have succeeded, as a journalist, you have failed. Where is your research and counterpoint? You could have contacted RPASEA for a start.
Building an artificial island is an incredibly inept idea to begin with; develop Shek Kong as an alternative office park for finance types in analyst, back office and IT roles. A majority of those employees live in the area or across the boarder and commute in. There is already infrastructure in place to support commuters. If they need to fly, route 3 to route 8 on to HKG is no longer than Central to HKG.
Bridges and tunnels, along with any further rape of Hong Kong's waterfront, are not needed.
What is wrong with Hong Kong bureaucrats that insist on trying to fill in the sea and build when Hong Kong has so much undeveloped space? I suppose it is for the additional office space for government employees providing a harbor view.
Truly shameful.
This all sounds very expensive. How is this going to result in "low cost housing", whatever that might be?
A road link is not neccessary. A rail link plus a ferry service will do to cut congestion and pollution.
Remember, we are talking about high density articifial islands for easy commute to HK and Kowloon, not a place for motorists to create more pollution.
Please don't build anything on existing islands - we do not need to if we follow Gordon Wu's blueprint tor the new airport in the 80s. There is plenty to reclaim on the Tai Pak Wan, Yee Pak Wan and Sam Pak Wan near Penny Bay.
Also, can we build along the rail/road link to the airport? Plenty of idle land there!
STOP reclaiming period. In a territory of undeveloped land this is a pure waste of our sea/harbor.
Shek Kong airfield? It is a miltary zone for emergency use!
Nothing wrong with building new artificial islands or to reclaim land in the midst of an acute shortage of housing and a record surplus. Better to spend the $$$ for something that would actually alleviate the housing problem longterm than to burn it here and there frivolously. Our young people will get to stay in decent homes and raise families with no pollution and not waste time gettting to work.
Not for office use though. look at the natural migration to Kwun Tong and other areas in Kowloon.
I agree about the container port - if they moved it north or to Lantau, that would free up plenty of land. But it would still not be enough, though.


SCMP.com Account