Contentious Lantau development body ends first term

The Lantau Development Advisory Committee (LanDAC), the developer-friendly advisory body responsible for ideas such as the end of the closed road, extending Ngong Ping 360 and filling in Shek Pik reservoir, has reached the end of its first term.

The current committee held its final meeting Monday and is now preparing a report to the government. The committee will continue its work, but its membership is unclear.

Yesterday’s meeting spent time on transport infrastructure, Apple Daily reports. Some members argued that if the East Lantau Metropolis (ELM) is built in the waters off Mui Wo, providing road and rail connections direct to Hong Kong island, then the MTR also be extended on the north coast to connect to Tuen Mun and the New Territories, complementing the Chek Lap Kok-Tuen Mun road link now under construction.

The committee was set up in early 2014, consisting almost entirely of developers, tourist industry execs and government political appointees. It has ridden several waves of controversy – over members’ significant Lantau real estate holdings, the road-opening plan, its uncritical support for the contentious ELM and Macau bridge projects, and the suggestion by an unknown member that Shek Pik reservoir be concreted over to provide housing.

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Its other achievement appears to have been the trashing of pre-existing Lantau planning principles. The previous planning guide, Lantau 2007 Revised Concept Plan, set aside north Lantau for infrastructure while “protecting the other areas scenic and high ecological values ..  for nature conservation and environmentally sustainable” uses. The LanDAC approach appears to be to pay lip service to conservation while turning the island into a mass tourism destination with medium to heavy population density.

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