Hong Kong housing

Hong Kong golfers need to take fair view of Fanling land option

  • The claim that redeveloping part of the Fanling golf course will somehow hurt businesses in Hong Kong is unfathomable
  • Only part of one of three courses will be affected, and golfers, unlike those waiting for public housing, have other options
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 January, 2019, 8:34am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 January, 2019, 8:33am

The Task Force on Land Supply’s recommendation to redevelop 32 out of 172 hectares of the Fanling golf course for housing elicited a strong response from the Hong Kong Alliance of Golfers, which said it would hurt Hong Kong’s status as an international financial centre (“Could redeveloping golf course hurt Hong Kong's status as financial hub?”, January 2). The Hong Kong Golf Club also expressed disappointment at the proposal.

I fail to understand the rationale for their objections. It is widely acknowledged that the government faces great difficulties in getting sufficient “developable” land to meet public housing needs, while the wait gets longer and longer with each passing year. To redevelop part of the golf course, which sits on government land, is a natural option.

Members of the club may be inconvenienced, but they have other alternatives for their leisure activities or social networking with associates. On the other hand, getting other plots of land such as brownfield sites involves very complicated and difficult negotiations with existing custodians which could take years before any agreement is reached. Moreover, brownfield sites have also been recommended by the task force.

The golf course option is only to redevelop about 18 per cent of the land which is currently leased to the club by the government on very easy terms, and is indeed a great compromise. The claim that this would somehow harm businesses is unfathomable. It affects only part of the Old Course while the other two 18-hole courses are left untouched. Golf enthusiasts do have other alternatives around town.

I believe that members of the alliance and the club, surely none of whom are living in subdivided flats, should be able to make the small sacrifice of using a slightly scaled-down sporting facility for the sake of the general public, for whom the government is working extremely hard to help meet basic housing needs.

Tony Leung, Kwai Chung