Hong Kong is desperate for housing, so why can’t abandoned Ma Wan village be revedeloped?
- Usable land in a good location should not be allowed to lie vacant while needy families wait years for public housing
We visited Ma Wan fishing village a few days ago. Countless houses lie empty, abandoned and decaying. The vibrant community of about 30 years ago has gone.
In view of the extremely pressing need for housing, I ask, why aren’t these houses renovated for Hong Kong’s needy and homeless? They are structurally sound and it is a simple job to refurbish – much easier than building new flats. Ling Kar-kan, Hong Kong’s former planning chief, told your reporters last November that refurbished village houses and new prefabricated modular units could provide some 215 homes for 430 households – comprising families or single people – while they wait for public housing.
Ma Wan is not remote – it’s location is more convenient than that of Tung Chung. The ferry to Central departs at 15-minute intervals during rush-hour periods and there are buses to Tsing Yi, Tsuen Wan, Kwai Fong, Central and the airport. Why is there no action? Why have these properties been vacant for about 20 years? Is it because of a land dispute involving several families? Is it because of the inaction of Sun Hung Kai Properties, which had planned to turn the site into a residential estate and nature park? Can a legislator or the property developer answer these questions, please, and can anyone push for some action? Can the government expedite plans?
The Task Force on Land Supply did not even mention this as one of the short-to-medium-term options for housing.
Peter A. Tanner, Sai Wan Ho