More housing through massive reclamation is not worth it if Carrie Lam’s artificial island is unsafe
I am not in favour of the government’s proposal to build an artificial island in the middle of the sea to house 1.1 million people. (“In tomorrow’s world, Hong Kong’s leader sees a massive HK$500 billion artificial island in middle of the sea”, October 10)
First, according to your report, the artificial island is expected to cost HK$500 billion, which is half the government’s fiscal reserves. The nature of the project means the government cannot stop it midway. If infrastructure such as railway and tunnels are not completely built, the island will not be able to operate. Given this, although the government has abundant financial reserves, spending tens of billions of dollars a year is a large expense. How will the government ensure that, in case of emergencies, such as disease outbreaks or educational needs, it will be in a position to deal with them?
Furthermore, the government must consider the safety of the project. The island’s exposed coast makes it especially vulnerable to climate change as the problem of global warming has become increasingly serious and extreme weather incidents are more frequent. Typhoon Mangkhut brought enormous damage to the low-lying coastal areas such as Lei Yue Mun and Heng Fa Chuen where the problem of flooding and destruction of buildings was serious. The proposed island will be located in the middle of the sea and will suffer even more than Lei Yue Mun and Heng Fa Chuen did. However, the government did not comprehensively account for how it would protect the island from typhoons.
Therefore, the project calls for further discussion to ensure the safety of residents on the artificial island. The government should not rush it through.
Finally, the high property prices in Hong Kong are caused by some developers hoarding empty units to tighten supply. If the government is serious about solving the housing problem, the empty units should be released first before reclamation is considered.
Alice Yiu Tsam-mui, Kwai Chung
Lantau reclamation is the best hope for young people who need homes
I agree with the Hong Kong government’s proposal to build an artificial an island in the sea near Lantau Island.
As a young Hongkonger, it seems that it is almost impossible for us to dream of owning a flat here. This is because Hong Kong does not have enough housing for its residents. The shortage of housing has caused the price of flats to continue increasing to heights that most residents cannot afford. Moreover, we also have a shortage of available public housing flats. Young people can wait as long as 30 years.
The island proposed by the government can provide homes for 1.1 million people. It will reduce the wait time for public housing and also lower the price of private housing, giving more people a chance to buy their own flat.
Moreover, the island will also provide greater job opportunities, which will mean fewer people applying for social welfare.
Therefore, I believe the advantages of reclamation outweigh the costs. It can lower the pressure on the government and decrease people’s resentment.
Grace Wong Ka-hei, Kwai Chung