Hong Kong government welcomes proposal to convert unused Disneyland plot into temporary Dutch floral park
Plan is subject to approval by lawmakers while supporters say project could bring more visitors to the city, especially since the theme park will not develop the site until 2023
A reserved plot of reclaimed land for the second phase of Hong Kong Disneyland’s expansion could be temporarily converted into a Dutch-designed garden for visitors, the company behind the project said on Monday.
The proposed short-term use of the 60-hectare (148-acre) site came after lawmakers grilled the government over the idle plot amid the city’s notorious shortage of land supply.
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah, who is on a 13-day Europe work trip with Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, said the government welcomed the plan after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding in the Netherlands.
The agreement, which was inked in the town of Noordwijkerhout, was between Alan Fang, a Hong Kong-based entrepreneur behind construction work to be carried out on the Disneyland plot, and Dutch floriculture expert Ibo Gülsen, who will oversee the creative part of the project.
Called Kaleido Park, the European-style garden, if approved by lawmakers, would be the first of its kind in Hong Kong, according to Fang.
“One of the criteria for the usage of this land is tourism,” he said.
Fang added that the government sought partners interested in using the land for a period of time. The site, to the east of Disneyland, is reserved for the second phase of the theme park’s development.
Tourism sector lawmaker Yiu Si-wing said the proposed garden would help attract more visitors, especially those from western Guangdong province after the completion of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge.
“Disney is not likely to start the phase two expansion before 2023 since they are still building projects from phase one,” Yiu said.
The floral park should come with dining services and entertainment events besides exhibitions, he added. “Hong Kong already has several flower shows like the one held in Victoria Park every year. The garden needs to be more than about flowers to attract locals and tourists.”
Disneyland said its expansion under phase one kicked off in late 2017 and would continue until 2023.
The Commerce and Economic Development Bureau earlier said it was in talks with some companies to rent out the land for short-term entertainment events.
At a Legislative Council meeting last week, Yau had said that long-term projects such as modular housing, as suggested by a lawmaker, would not be considered as these were “not compatible” with the use of the reserved land.