The government is pushing ahead with plans to build 40,000 new apartments on reclaimed land in Tung Chung Bay – but a green group has called for the project to be scaled back by a third.
The Development Bureau is seeking HK$20.6 billion from Legco for the 120ha reclamation. A second stage will involve reclaiming a further 80ha. The projects are part of the Tung Chung New Town Extension plan which aims to add another 120,000 homes in the area by 2030.
Combined with the 130ha expansion of Chek Lap Kok Island for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge landing zone, the housing reclamation will mean altogether 330 ha of Tung Chung Bay will have disappeared under landfill and concrete in a little over a decade.
Environmental group Green Sense has called on the government to scale back the project by 30%, warning that it poses multiple threats to local ecology.
The boundary of the reclamation lies just 100m from Tai Ho Wan, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) as the outfall for the freshwater Tai Ho Stream (above). The group argues that the heavy reclamation will not allow the freshwater to circulate.
Roy Tam from Green Sense said the reclamation will also threaten the Brothers Marine Park 1 kilometre away, a new marine sanctuary set aside by the government last December as compensation for the HZM bridge and airport third runway projects. According to SCMP.com:
“The biggest impact of the reclamation is that there will be about 200 to 400 ships entering the nearby waters every day for the construction process, and these ships will unavoidably enter the marine park,” Tam said.
He suggested that the government reduce the reclamation area by about 30 per cent, including scrapping a proposed 10-hectare marina with 95 berths.
The first apartments in Tung Chung were built in 1995, as part of the joint construction of the new airport, MTR lines and road and rail bridges to Lantau. Its current population is 80,000.