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
Until the 1950s, the only way to get around Lantau, apart from walking, was by sea. Now, even with the looming spectre of a bridge to Central, water-borne transport could be making a comeback.
The LanDAC work report suggests expanding ferry services around Lantau, with new piers at Tong Fuk, Shui Hau, Fan Lau and Sunny Bay. Services would also run to the Sokos Islands, Tai O, Sham Wat, Sha Lo Wan and Tung Chung.
Lantau ferry fares are about to go down, but before that happens taxi charges are likely to go up.
The Legislative Council has approved a Transport and Housing Bureau plan to tip another HK$40m in subsidies into outlying island ferry services. The government already spends nearly HK$40m a year on subsidies, mostly on pier maintenance.
The new funds will be used to subsidise fares to Mui Wo, Cheng Chau and other main island routes. However, we won’t feel the effects of these until after the next three-year islands ferry tender is completed in 2011.
Meanwhile, Lantau taxis have joined urban and New Territories taxi drivers in asking for a HK$2 hike in flagfall because of higher operating costs.
The increase would amount an average 4.11% increase in Lantau taxi fares, according to a bureau policy paper.
The net income of Lantau taxi owners has fallen as much as 13% in the first ten months of 2010 compared with 2009, – a result of higher operating costs, the bureau says, although it does not say what these are.
The LegCo Transport Panel will consider the price increases on Friday.