East Lantau Metropolis will be nearly as large as airport

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A site for flyovers: Kau Yi Chau

The East Lantau Metropolis (ELM) will require reclamation of around 1000 hectares in Hong Kong central waters, activists have calculated.

That is equivalent to roughly 1,000 rugby fields and compares with the 1,200 ha Chek Lap Kok Airport and the 130 ha artificial island for the Hong Kong-Macau Bridge landing zone.

Those are the estimates from conservation group Save Lantau Alliance, based on close observation of the infamous 3D model of the ELM in Paul Chan’s office.

For that reason, the numbers are obviously not very precise. However, in the absence of any official numbers they at least give a ball-park sense of the scale of reclamation envisaged in the waters between Mui Wo and Hong Kong Island.

SLA coordinator Eddie Tse says the biggest part of the reclamation will be near Kau Yi Chau, the uninhabited island east of Peng Chau. He says an artificial island of roughly 800ha will be built in the sea around Kau Yi Chau. Kau Yi Chau itself appears to be undeveloped but will become a “roundabout” surrounded by flyovers for traffic between Lantau and Hong Kong.

Another 200 ha of reclamation will take place near Hei Ling Chau – the island just off Mui Wo that is currently used for a drug rehabilitation centre.

An un-named source told Apple Daily that the conclusions drawn from the model have some basis. The model shows early research in to central waters routes, taking into account water flow and fishing/hatchery areas and other issues.

Chief Executive CY Leung has described ELM as a third CBD area that will support retail, high-rise apartments and offices. Work is not envisaged to start until the early 2030s.

Despite criticisms that it is environmentally destructive and lacks an economic model, Leung has already ordered a technical feasibility study into the construction of the ELM.

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