Hong Kong must put housing needs first at Kai Tak, not the demands of elite golfers
The Hong Kong Alliance of Golfers suggests building an integrated golf centre at the Kai Tak harbourfront (“Hong Kong golfers want four-storey waterfront driving range at Kai Tak in Kowloon, to match New York, Chicago and Tokyo”, August 28). The alliance feels that golf, as an Olympic event, deserves more support and attention from the government. Also, an integrated golf centre can be used as a training venue and so popularise the sport. Lastly, the centre can even become a distinctive landmark and tourist attraction.
However, the alliance has failed to consider the difficult housing situation in Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s many hills leave its population concentrated in a small area, and land supply is struggling to meet housing demand. Living in the world’s most expensive property market, low-income Hongkongers are pushed into substandard and poor living environments, such as subdivided units and even cage homes.
Also, according to official figures, there are more than 1,000 homeless people sleeping rough every night. All of this reveals the serious housing problem in Hong Kong. The alliance said there are more than 140,000 golf enthusiasts in Hong Kong, but there are 272,300 applicants for public housing, and the shortage has pushed more than 210,000 people to pay high rents for often-squalid subdivided units.
Although an integrated golf centre can entertain the higher social classes and improve their quality of life, it would come at the cost of ignoring the quality of life of the underprivileged in Hong Kong. The housing problem should be given top priority, to help our low-income citizens and families aspire to better living standards. If a large space is available at Kai Tak, it should be used to build more public housing to help people meet their basic housing needs.
Jovy Cheung, Tseung Kwan O