Build more housing in Discovery Bay by all means, but allow full play to market forces
I read with interest the article about Victor Cha Mou-zing’s proposal that the government allow his company, HKR International, to further develop Discovery Bay (“Developer HKR urges government: allow more space to build in Discovery Bay to help ease Hong Kong’s housing shortage”, August 28).
I agree that the government should recognise the reality that Discovery Bay is no longer the idyllic enclave it once was: far from Central, accessible only by ferry, a place where only hippies and homesick expats would choose to live.
HKR is building a shopping centre in the once-sleepy plaza so that it can bus in more tourists; the opening of the Discovery Bay Tunnel has, as Cha noted, made such an expansion possible. It’s time to call a spade a spade and say that Discovery Bay is poised to become another Tung Chung – without an MTR stop.
However, I do not see the logic of why HKR should continue to have a monopoly over Discovery Bay’s development. If the government recognises that there is more land in Discovery Bay that could be developed to ease Hong Kong’s housing shortage, I would urge it to sell the land at auction.
Moreover, I would urge the government to also open up Discovery Bay’s community services to competitive bidding. Why should HKR have to continue to carry the burden of running Discovery Bay’s bus and ferry services, as well as cleaning the beaches and trimming the hedges?
The main objective, surely, is to get more affordable housing into the hands of the people of Hong Kong. The best way to do that is to allow its land development to be subject to competitive market forces.
Anthony Lawrance, Tai Po