Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has less than a month until his second policy address when, hopefully, he will throw more light on how the administration is going to tackle a pressing priority - the land and housing issue. Expectations have been sharpened by figures for the supply of new homes, which show the government is struggling to meet its target of 20,000 for this financial year. This dashes hopes that prices will fall to more reasonable levels in the short term. The problem remains the supply of land. To meet Leung's target of at least 20,000 new flats a year, 1,500 hectares will be needed. The government claims the land it and developers hold will be insufficient. There is public support for increasing land supply with an all-in approach including reclamation, rezoning, redevelopment, resumption and reuse of disused quarry sites. Sadly, this is unlikely to result in more than piecemeal development of relatively small blocks of land here and there that will not solve the problem. The mismatch of supply of land and demand for housing is increasingly making affordable homes inaccessible to rising numbers. So inimical is such a wealth gap to the city's best interests that it emboldens policymakers and commentators to explore more drastic options, such as releasing a small fraction of the city's 44,000-plus hectares of protected country park for housing, and reclamation of the surrounding sea, as opposed to our overdeveloped harbour shores. This newspaper has argued before for targeted development on Lantau Island, especially given the construction of the Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai bridge, not to mention the investment in rail and road transport to the airport and Tung Chung. We should be vigilant of the need to safeguard our country parks and conservation areas. They are, after all, the "lungs" of a crowded city. But there is room for more open-mindedness about striking a sensible balance between living space and leisure space. That need not - must not - mean coveting country parks for redevelopment every time a housing shortage looms. Other places, including Singapore, have reconciled reclamation with ecological concerns. The question is whether, ultimately, we will be left with any alternative to seriously debating both options, short of freeing up some of the land set aside for village development under the small-house policy. These are issues that need to be fully and calmly debated sooner rather than later.