• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 8:11am
NewsHong Kong

Government ‘will not withdraw’ HK$120b new towns building plan that sparked Legco storming

Minister 'unhappy' at protest outside Legco and says work on new towns will start in 2018

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 June, 2014, 2:17pm
UPDATED : Monday, 16 June, 2014, 6:30pm

The government has no plans to call off a controversial development in the New Territories, but all are welcome to take part in the public debate around it, Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po said yesterday.

"Construction won't begin until 2018. If anyone has any opinions or matters for discussion, we still have this time and space to discuss," Chan said.

The HK$120 billion project has raised the ire of villagers whose homes will be razed in order to make way for two new towns in Kwu Tung and Fanling North.

Hundreds of protesters stormed the Legislative Council building on Friday, clashing with police as they tried to force their way into a Finance Committee meeting where members debated a HK$340 million interim funding request.

Speaking in a television interview yesterday, Chan said he was unhappy about the protest and was "worried for Hong Kong".

He accused some lawmakers of misrepresenting the revised government plan, which would produce about 60,700 flats roughly half earmarked as public housing.

Chan said Town Planning Board approval for the government's proposed outline zoning plan was not guaranteed, and that some of the interim funding could go to waste if the board decided to change or reject the plan during vetting. But he said, "the risk [of that] is not high".

Cheuk Kai-kai, a member of the Joint Committee of Fanling North Villages and Residents, criticised the government for seeking funding from Legco's Finance Committee before a decision by town planners.

"Although the funding is for preliminary work, we all know that when the engineering work begins, the villagers … will be subject to nuisance from excavation and drilling," she said.

But Chan said it was normal practice for the government to simultaneously apply for funding for pre-construction engineering work while waiting for town planners' approval. He felt it was unfair for the government to be accused of ignoring the opinions of stakeholders.

"You cannot say that just because something is not to your liking - for example some are demanding no demolition or relocation - … that we never consulted you," he said. "I think this is not fair."


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This article is now closed to comments

Dai Muff
This whole thing is so dirty: from Paul Chan's own conflicts of interest, to the head of the Finance Committee examining this, to the government's determination to push this through to further blur our borders. It is notable how junior civil servants have it drummed into them time and time again that they must avoid even the APPEARANCE of conflict of interest, and yet in our "top" government ministers, it is welcomed.
Are these people against development in general or are they just unhappy that it is taking place at their backyard? If it is the latter, then they are just merely a group of NIMBIES. In the late 1970s, when the govt. proposed to develop Shatin as a new town, many locals were opposed to it as well. But if the govt. shelved the plan back then due to opposition where would the 600,000 or so people of Shatin be living in now?
Chan says "it's important for hong kongs future land supply"
What he really means is " it's important for Paul chans and his fat cat friends future bank balance supply"
Give me a break chan we know what you are
Hong Kong does not lack for housing and houses across HK are similar to other places in the world considering 1/2 of HK pay some of the lowest rents in the world of $US 150 per month for life.
By overbuilding HK could actually increase house prices as construction costs will peak. Also we will run out of land we should be saving for the future.
Right now house prices have softened and no one is buying. This shows the demand is really not there.
Dai Muff
And if you expect us to believe this development is for Hong Kongers you can think again. You are completely transparent.
there are long queues waiting for the heavily subsidized public housing. we need land to build it and also we need to sell land to finance it. for those who are against selling lands, can you tell me how the government can find the money to pay for the development given land sales is a core income source. development will affect someone and they should be compensated reasonably. the recent administration is not doing his job well but it is not an excuse for the planned violence which has to be condemned. nonetheless our media and those pan dem fail to tell us what is right or wrong.
Step down Paul Chan!
THIS is violence.
HK-ex, you live in HK? no shortage of housing? really? you must be owning a lot of houses and worrying the home price may fall.
Hong Kong pay the highest rents in the world, and the most expensive to buy. You stupid ****. More housing means cheaper housing for Hong Kong people.
I guess your just a sh-t head of one of those landlords that's so bent on corruption and money laundering, causing misery to all Hong Kong people.



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