Hong Kong’s country park land not the solution for housing shortage

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 November, 2016, 12:16am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 November, 2016, 9:10pm

I refer to the article by Charles Chan, managing director of Savills Valuation and Professional Services (“Using Hong Kong’s country parks may be one way to solve its housing supply problem”, October 26).

In think using the country parks is not a good way to fix the housing shortage. Hong Kong is densely populated because there has not been enough suitable land to develop and this issue has become more obvious since 2002.

The country parks in Hong Kong have been established for 40 years and have gradually emerged to become an invaluable asset to most people. Most agree that the parks should be protected for the enjoyment of all Hongkongers and help improve people’s the quality of life.

Also, the cost of developing country parks would be extremely high. The majority of Hong Kong’s 24 country parks are located in valleys and slopes. Construction of buildings would pose difficult engineering challenges. And because of the restrictions posed by the difficult terrain and planning regulations, the density of development would be very low. The country park areas lack the necessary infrastructure such as roads, with no connection to the electricity grid and of course, there is the ecological impact to consider.

Actually, there is no shortage of land for development in Hong Kong. For instance, brownfield sites have potential for development. There would have to be a lot of preparatory work and some would need to be cleaned up, but developing them should be seen as a priority by the government.

It should also speed up the redevelopment of old districts. Although the process of effecting change in these areas is complicated, they are ripe for redevelopment

If the country parks were developed, we would likely only see high-price, low-density housing being built. This would do nothing to solve the housing shortage or help those who need affordable homes.

Michael Chow, Tseung Kwan O