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One of the eight holes of the Fanling Old Course, which will be returned to the government next year. Photo: Chan Kin-wa

LettersIf Fanling golf course is too precious to build on, let everyone enjoy it

  • While the course may have ecological value, very few of us – save a handful of golfers and business associates – get to fully enjoy it
  • Either develop the land to quickly to ease our city’s dire housing shortage, or open the course fully to the public so we may all benefit from it
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I write in response to your columnist’s objection to the proposal to use part of the Fanling golf course to provide public housing (“Don’t let Hong Kong’s need for speed on housing crisis wreck Fanling golf course”, June 4).

As he pointed out, building on the golf course would be practically much faster than alternatives such as using brownfield sites, or other options identified in the December 2018 report of the government’s Task Force on Land Supply.

I wrote to the Post in 2019 supporting the use of the Fanling golf course for public housing. Indeed, the arguments for and against developing the land have not stopped since the land supply report was published.

Your columnist is spot on in highlighting the procrastination of the Hong Kong government in tackling the city’s housing problems.

But integrating the golf course into the Northern Metropolis project is not the way forward. Keeping the golf course intact would add no new public flats to the housing market in the short term.

Meanwhile, the Northern Metropolis project, which is to be completed in phases, would take too long to add to the supply. Three years have passed since the land supply report was published, during which the queue and waiting time for public housing have only grown longer. What good does it do society if the golf course, which is government property, is kept pristine and reserved only for a small group of golfers to do sport and entertain business associates?

Some would argue that the course is not entirely exclusive to its members, as the Hong Kong Golf Club opens parts of the course for community use on weekdays. But why stop there?

If it is decided that not a single inch of the golf course should be developed to help remedy our dire housing situation because Hong Kong’s ecological heritage must be preserved, let’s think out of the box. My suggestion is for the government to take back ownership of the golf course and run it in the same way as the Kau Sai Chau public golf course. Then, every member of the public can book the Fanling golf course and enjoy this slice of nature.

Tony Leung, Kwai Chung