Hong Kong’s country parks and reclamation are not green housing options

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 December, 2017, 4:55pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 December, 2017, 10:29pm

The discovery in October of a large number of rare butterflies on protected green space raised once again the issue of building on country parks.

I agreed at the time with a green group which called for the government to halt a planned public housing project on the site.

I can understand why some politicians and officials have called for areas of country parks to be used for residential projects.

The shortage of decent, affordable housing is one of the main reasons given for using these areas. However, I believe it would be unacceptable to do this as there are other options which do not have such an adverse effect on the environment.

There are still a lot of brownfield sites which would be suitable for housing, many of them in the New Territories.

There are also golf courses which have a lot of available land area and some barracks either underused not used at all by the PLA garrison.

I am also against proposals for reclamation outside Victoria Harbour. Opting for reclamation or using some areas of country parks would run counter to the government’s long-term blueprint to have a sustainable city by 2030 and beyond.

The purpose of country parks is to prevent the over-urbanisation of Hong Kong and protect the natural environment of the city. It allows people to enjoy nature free of charge and enhances their well-being.

The government needs to review existing policies and find more ways to optimise land use, so that it meets the aspirations of those living in this city.

It is not enough to just identify new land. The government needs to have comprehensive population and housing demand management policies.

Our country parks are precious. The best way to increase land supply is to develop existing and unprotected land.

Kong Lok-son, Po Lam