LettersHong Kong has better options to fix housing crisis than Fanling golf course
- Readers discuss alternatives to using the Fanling golf course as a site for public housing and the need to look at all options to phase out subdivided housing
The areas of the golf club occupied by the car park, the quarters and the multipurpose sports pitch were insufficient for any development, and so eight holes of the course were included to make any form of development possible. This has the effect of destroying the beneficial use of the whole for very little gain.
By way of clarification, the annual rent paid by the golf club is 3 per cent of the rateable value and equates to around HK$2.6 million (US$331,000). The low fee of HK$1,000 frequently referred to is the nominal premium, not the rent.
Land resumption powers should have been invoked much earlier as there is no better purpose than public housing. Think of Wang Chau in Yuen Long, where a government land green belt was set to be taken for public housing and a large brownfield site used for parking was not.
Allan Hay, Tai Po
Explore all options to phase out subdivided housing
I don’t believe there is a silver bullet, but putting all resources on hand to good use is crucial. The government should phase out subdivided flats, starting first with those that are imminent fire hazards, as the advocacy group Concerning Grassroots’ Housing Rights Alliance has pointed out. Those should be a priority as fire hazards are dangerous. The group also called for tenants to be placed in transitional housing, suggesting the government could entrust welfare groups to run hostels for them.
Meanwhile, land that could be used for badly needed flats remains untapped. In a finding last year, Greenpeace said more than 20 hectares of brownfield land – larger than Victoria Park – are being used illegally for waste disposal.
Why is there no plan to develop these brownfield lands? The government should spare no efforts to tackle the housing problem and waste of invaluable land.
Kelvin Cheng, Tseung Kwan O