Talking Points: Is Carrie Lam’s Lantau Vision Tomorrow reclamation project a waste of money?

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Ginny Wong |

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An artist's impression of what Lantau could look like after the reclamation.

Hailey Chan, 11, Sacred Heart Canossian School Private Section 

Hong Kong was struck by two super typhoons – Hato and Mangkhut – within the space of a year. So we really can’t ignore the effects of global warming. According to the former Hong Kong Observatory chief, Lam Chiu-ying, massive reclamation off Lantau would be a disaster in an  age of climate change and rising sea levels.

Lam suggested doing a study to consider the risks posed by climate change over the next two centuries, such as stronger downpours, storm surges, rising sea levels and more frequent super typhoons.

The government has a duty to protect both people’s lives and property. It should not make any hasty decisions.

Marky Wong, 11, Ma Tau Chung Government Primary School

Definitely not. Hong Kong is facing a severe housing shortage. So, although the Lantau project could cost around HK$500 billion – half of the city’s reserved money – it is worth it because it will allow thousands of people to have a home of their own.

Law Cheuk-hei, 15, Fanling Rhenish Church Secondary School

Carrie Lam’s Lantau Tomorrow Vision can boost the city’s economic development and help fix the housing shortage, but it’s a huge waste of money. In fact, there are lots of areas in Hong Kong where we can build public flats, such as the Fanling golf course and brownfield sites. 

The Lantau reclamation project will also destroy marine life. We cannot cause more damage to our environment – we will have to pay a huge price for that.

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Polly Chan Lok-yee, 12, SKH Tsang Shiu Tim Secondary School

Yes it is. First, the project will cost billions of dollars. Second, water pollution will become worse. Hong Kong doesn’t need something that will cause so much damage to the city.

Lau Chun-hei, 16, Henrietta Secondary School

Our chief executive has come up with a good plan to use land with as little waste as possible, for the good of Hong Kong people who do not have their own home. It will provide more jobs for locals and improve the city’s economy. I am sure the government will carry out strict environmental studies before beginning the project, which will convince many people to come to Hong Kong to do business. What’s bad about that?

Chiu Ka-man, 16, Fanling Rhenish Church Secondary School

It is too costly. The government needs to invest at least  HK$500 billion to build artificial islands off Lantau. But it is not the only way to solve the city’s housing problem. In fact, we still have lots of underused land, such as the Fanling golf course and Kwai Chung container terminal. The size of the golf course is equivalent to nine Victoria Parks. I believe we should build public flats on all the vacant land. Then we won’t have a housing shortage. 

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Natalie Chan Mei-han, 16, Chinese YMCA Secondary School

There are many environmental and safety concerns over the Lantau project. For a start, the local environment and marine animals would be harmed by the reclamation. 

The World, the chain of islands built about 10 years ago off the coast of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, is sinking into the sea, according to reports. It’s not a dissimilar idea from the Tomorrow Vision, so that’s not good news for Carrie Lam’s Lantau project.

More importantly, there are many sites, such as brownfields, that can be developed in Hong Kong, which would be much cheaper than creating artificial islands just so flats can be built. So the Lantau project is a waste of money, no doubt.

Rain Wong Tsz-wang, 17, Henrietta Secondary School

No, because the project will benefit the needy and boost the city’s tourism industry. Without it, thousands of people who live in subdivided flats will continue to suffer.

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Ken Tsoi Ka-him, 12, SKH Tsang Shiu Tim Secondary School

Our leader is doing the right thing. We don’t have enough space to build new flats, so we need to reclaim land. What’s more, the government has a lot of money to spend and it should be used for projects which benefit ordinary people in Hong Kong.

Lam Wing-sze, 15, Fanling Rhenish Church Secondary School

Hong Kong has a lot of vacant land, so the government doesn’t need to spend HK$500 billion on Lantau Tomorrow Vision”, and instead, should make good use of the land available to build flats for Hongkongers.

Also, environmental experts have warned about more extreme weather if artificial islands are built. We can therefore expect more natural disasters and greater financial losses in the future.

I hope Carrie Lam has a change of heart.

Valerie Chan, 14, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians Siu Ming Catholic Secondary School

There’s enough land in Hong Kong to solve the city’s housing problem, so why waste money on the reclamation project? It will cost around HK$500 billion, which is a huge amount of money which should be used to tackle more serious issues such as poverty and pollution.

Speaking of pollution, the Lantau project could seriously damage Hong Kong’s environment and threaten the survival of the Chinese white dolphin. What’s more, reclamation could speed up rising sea levels and cause violent storms. Not only is it a waste of money, it can also damage the environment and badly affect Hongkongers’ lives.

In our next Talking Points, we’ll discuss:

Should foreign domestic helpers be paid more than HK$4,520 per month?

We are now accepting your answers for this topic. To take part, email your answer with your name, age, and school, along with a nice, clear selfie (make sure it’s not blurry), to [email protected] by lunchtime on Monday. Don’t forget to include “Talking Points” in the subject line.