New land body endorses ELM and further Lantau reclamation
Carrie Lam has promised a fresh approach to dealing with land supply issues, but in its early decisions new land supply task force has merely endorsed plans initiated by her predecessor.
The committee, set up in September, has reaffirmed the East Lantau Metropolis (ELM) and accepted government recommendations on reclamation at five other sites, including two on Lantau
Task force chairman Stanley Wong Yuen-fai said after the group’s Tuesday meeting that the ELM, a 1000 ha housing and business district scheme in central waters, should go ahead, Post 852 reported.
The ELM, which involves building on reclaimed land around Hei Ling Chau and Kau Yi Chau islands, is currently stuck in Legco seeking funding for a HK$200 million “strategic study.” If it proceeds, the development, which would connect Mui Wo and Central by freeway, would be Hong Kong’s biggest ever infrastructure project, costing as much as HK$400 billion.
But major engineering works off outlying islands may not end there.
A Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) report to the committee stated there may be “opportunities” for more artificial islands “in the southern part of the central waters (in particular the waters off South Cheung Chau).”
The report calls for reclamation work on north Lantau sites of Siu Ho Wan and Sunny Bay as well as southwest Tsing Yi, Ma Liu Shui near Sha Tin and Lung Kwu Tan west of Tuen Mun.
A 2011 CEDD study made exactly the same recommendations.
CEDD said it had recently completed a technical study on Siu Ho Wan and would begin an engineering assessment of reclamation at Sunny Bay next year.
The department, which says since 2000 Hong Kong has dragged its feet on reclamation. Between 1985 and 2000, it created more than 3000 ha of reclaimed land, including the area under Tung Chung, while since than only 690 ha of land was been generated.
It says only 6% of Hong Kong land is derived from reclamation, compared to 24% in Singapore. But nearly 70% of Hong Kong territory is locked up in country park, almost all of it unsuitable for development. However, 27% of Hong Kong’s developed area is in fact based on reclaimed land.
A 2004 court ruling ended reclamation in Victoria Harbour.
Photo: Kau Yi Chau