If reclamation is the ‘long-term’ solution for Hong Kong’s housing crisis, so is resuming developers’ land in the New Territories
In your August 31 edition, Bernard Chan opines that the “long-term” solution to our housing woes requires reclamation. The essence of Mr Chan’s argument is that, in the short to medium terms, Hong Kong has “no choice but to carry on finding and developing land on a small-scale, piece-by-piece basis”, while only land reclamation can meet Hong Kong’s longer-term needs. But obviously not the short-term needs, due to the time required to reclaim land.
However, Mr Chan dismisses the idea of resuming developers’ unused land in the New Territories because, though quite popular, such an effort would be “bogged down in legal challenges and other difficulties”. He also dismisses converting the abundant brownfield sites due to legal and planning issues.
If Mr Chan’s goal is to provide land for the long term, then we have time to go through the legal challenges to resume the developers’ land. Starting now, there is no reason that this should take longer than creating an artificial island off Lantau.
It would certainly be a much cheaper, more efficient and more environmentally friendly option. If the government would resolve to take on these structural reforms with the same enthusiasm with which it talks up land reclamation, we would soon have plentiful land in useful places for housing development, without spending an inordinate amount of taxpayer money on yet another overblown engineering project.
Keith Noyes, Clear Water Bay