Category: development

Mui Wo home prices set to soar, says CBRE

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Mui Wo property prices are set to rise sharply, a senior Hong Kong real estate figure predicts.

Kam Hung-yu, a Hong Kong managing director at global estate giant CBRE and a former president of of the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors, predicts a major hike in residential valuations.

Writing in the Economic Journal he says the Housing Authority will start selling its new Mui Wo apartments in August. Mui Wo prices currently are at around $7000-$8000 psf, but after subsidies this will fall to as low as HK$5000.

“Some Hong Kong people believe the location is not attractive because it is too far [from the city],” he wrote. But he says citizens who qualify for the HA ‘green form’ subsidy should genuinely consider it. “This most likely is a housing market with very strong potential to rise in value,” he wrote. Continue reading

Think tank endorses ELM, hopes Lantau will somehow stay green

A classic case of cognitive dissonance: a think tank calls for preservation of South Lantau’s natural heritage, yet also urges construction of the East Lantau Metropolis (ELM).

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All roads to ELM run through Silvermine Bay

A report by Tung Chee-wah’s Our Hong Kong Foundation on the city’s land supply says Hong Kong has had no major land development for more than a decade and the focus now should be on Lantau.

Like the government-appointed LanDAC commitee, it’s an enthusiast about Lantau’s economic potential because of its location at the centre of the Pearl River Delta.

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WWF warns of ‘irreversible’ decline after sharp fall in dolphin numbers

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) project has caused a drastic fall in dolphin numbers in the past year – and worse could be to come, says conservation group WWF.

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Endangered   Source: EPD

The AFCD’s annual dolphin tracking report shows that the dolphin population in Lantau waters has fallen 60% to just 65. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

What do Lantau rural leaders want? Roads

If there’s one thing Lantau’s rural representatives agree on it’s roads.

They are urging construction of two roads in particular: a northwest coastal road from Tung Chung to Tai O, and a north-south link from Pak Mong, just east of Tung Chung, to Mui Wo.

The coastal road was canvassed in the early LanDAC plans – as was a road from Tai O to Fan Lau – but was rejected, either for reasons for cost or conservation. The north coast, which hosts villages such as San Tau and Sha Lo Wan, includes coastal wetlands and natural streams and habitat for butterflies and diverse rare species.

Randy Yu, Islands District Council vice-chairman and newly-elected member for South Lantau, complained that “authorities have never thought about a long-term transport strategy” for Lantau. Continue reading

Lantau development will bring “uncontrollable eco-vandalisms”

This blog has finally got around to trawling through the submissions to the LegCo hearing on Lantau development in April.  First up: environmental groups warn the government’s development programme will lead to “uncontrollable eco-vandalisms” because of the lack of zoning protections and weak enforcement.

In a joint submission, five green NGOs say they are “deeply concerned” by the development-centric model that does not provide adequate protection for important conservation sites.

DSC_0051 - CopyThey point out that the island has “exceptionally rich biodiversity,” including the Chinese White Dolphin, the finless porpoise, and Romer’s Tree Frog, among others.

However, the deficiency in enforcement capabilities due to loopholes in existing legislation has rendered Lantau vulnerable to environmental vandalism.

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Explains a lot: Lantau is central to Leung’s reelection

Zhang Dejiang’s short visit (or inspection) has told us that Lantau is not just a big deal in Hong Kong. It’s a pretty big deal in Beijing, and an even bigger deal for CY Leung’s reelection (or ‘reelection’) strategy.

The Development Bureau was the first place on Zhang’s official agenda, which soon became well-known to Hong Kong thanks to this photograph of the VIP inspecting this hefty 3D visualisation of the Lantau plans:

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Suits meet the model (Source: Development Bureau)

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A couple more for the banner collection

For the record, a couple more banners next to the Mui Wo ferry pier.

Resident Ben Sargent commented on my earlier piece that banners calling for the redevelopment of Chi Ma Wan prison are up in the Ham Tin/Pui O area. So whoever is doing it is reasonably thorough. And also, you’d have to say, a touch conspiratorial and counter-productive.  What’s the point of making an intervention in local issues if you’re not going to identify yourself?

As posted earlier, one resident claims to have seen former local District Councillor Rainbow Wong and a team putting up the banners in Pui O.

There is no sign the banners have been approved by the Lands Department. Local environmental activists say they must apply months in advance to get just a single banner space.

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Anonymous banners getting govt message out on Lantau development

A series of banners promoting the government’s ‘develop Lantau’ message have popped up all over South Lantau in the last three days.  The unusual feature is that no one has put their name to them.

What’s also unusual is that, unlike the government grand plan that includes inflatable water toys, cable cars and artificial islands, these messages include practical ideas that could improve people’s lives, like better internet and a functioning sewage system.

That said, these promotions are on the same page with the government on conservation, with one banner asserting that environmental protection should not take precedence over development.

Photos and translations of ten of the banners below.

(UPDATE: One Pui O resident posted on a local Facebook page that she’d seen former Islands District Councillor Rainbow Wong hanging the banners. Wong was the preferred Rural Committee representative for a decade until the local powerbrokers threw their weight behind Randy Yu at last year’s election. )

IMG_20160429_132331‘Support Lantau Development: Cut ferry ticket prices’ – Mui Wo roundabout Continue reading

Rethinking Lantau development

Sunset Pui O

Highlights from submission to the Development Bureau  (full submission here).

No Vision, No Data, No Conservation

The decision-making process on Lantau’s future appears to be explicitly designed to exclude community input. From day one LanDAC membership has been almost wholly drawn from the real estate, tourist and logistics industries, along with government political supporters and appointees.  The public rightly doubts the genuineness of this ‘consultation.’

The government plan offers no vision for the island: what will it be like to visit, live or work in Lantau in 2026, 2036 or beyond? The report doesn’t say. At the same time it tries to micro-manage tourist development in ways that are counter-productive. Continue reading