The Lantau Tomorrow Vision was announced by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor last October. This ambitious plan involves creating 1,700 hectares of artificial islands for a new housing and an economic hub in waters east of Lantau, in what would be the city’s biggest and most expensive infrastructure project.
It will also include near-shore reclamation and a cross-sea transport network linking the islands to Lantau, Tuen Mun and Hong Kong Island. This new metropolis is envisioned to become the city’s third economic hub.
The project is estimated to cost at least HK$624 billion, a sum equivalent to the entire gross domestic product of Ethiopia in 2017.
However, the government’s HK$624 billion estimate only covers the first stage of the plan, which includes creating 1,000 hectares of artificial islands around Kau Yi Chau, near-shore reclamation and part of the transport network.
The first phase will provide up to 260,000 flats, 70 per cent of which will be set aside for public housing, in an effort to increase supply for the world’s least affordable property market.
There is no concrete plan yet for the second phase, involving the remaining reclamation around Hei Ling Chau island and the rest of the transport network. Reclamation work is scheduled to start in 2025 and the first residents are expected to move in by 2032.
Soon after the announcement of the project, Lam’s proposal was criticised for the potentially high cost and environmental impact. Although the proposal brought some 5,800 protesters to the street, Lam remained undeterred about the project.
In a document to Legco’s Public Works Subcommittee in November, the government said it was planning to start feasibility studies and assess the practicality of the proposed plan in late 2019. But it will first have to seek funding from Legco’s Finance Committee.
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