Is it a public consultation when the public is not invited?
Local residents and NGOs are still fuming over their exclusion from a public consultation on Hong Kong long-term development plans – the latest in a series of steps that appear to be aimed at limiting criticism of the East Lantau Metropolis (ELM) project.
The plan to build an new retail, commercial and housing hub on 1000 hectares of sea reclamation off Lantau, with MTR and freeway links between Mui Wo and Central, could cost as much as HK$400 billion.
More roads for Lantau, relocation of cattle, improved sewerage works, expansion of Mui Wo tourism.
If those seem familiar they should. They are the demands of South Lantau rural committees, so it is no surprise they should be the main planks of Leung Che-cheung’s Lantau platform.
Leung, the sitting member for New Territories West, is a prominent Heung Yee Kuk politician as well as top of one of the DAB lists for NT West. The kuk is pro-government but not necessarily pro-DAB. Lau Wong-fat was a member of the Liberal Party for some years, and in recent years kuk leaders have canvassed setting up their own party (that would be a milestone; they already have their own LegCo seat). Continue reading
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.
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. )
‘Support Lantau Development: Cut ferry ticket prices’ – Mui Wo roundabout Continue reading
The 37-year-old DAB vice-chairman, who was elected to Tung Chung South in November District Council poll, is making a tilt at the Legco seat vacated by former Civic Party member Ronnie Tong. As SCMP puts it, the by-election “is widely seen as a showdown between the pan-democracy and pro-Beijing camps.”
Chow is also tipped to contest the LegCo ‘super seat’, likely in September, with backing from Regina Ip’s New People’s Party.
Chow, a solicitor, is often sought out by English-speaking and foreign media for his views. In an interview with the New York Times on the Hong Kong democratic reform bill last year he said China was “going her own way.”
Like it or not, this is the reality and China has to go on her own way. Also, I believe that if all of a sudden China carried out democratic elections tomorrow, that may create a lot of consequences, too. It is something that is very realistic, and I am a very pragmatic person. You have these ideals, good, but you also have to strike a balance with reality.
Randy Yu earned himself a profile in the SCMP last week in the wake of his Lantau election victory. It was the kind of flattering story on a pro-government figure that the SCMP seems to specialise in these days; it skipped the inconvenient fact of Yu shrinking the establishment vote by a third.
Nonetheless it’s a worthwhile introduction to someone who will likely have an influence on Lantau issues for many years to come. Continue reading
The Islands District Council result yesterday reflected Hong Kong as a whole; the pro-government and pan-Dem forces basically fought a draw.
Each gained and lost a seat. Democrat Eric Kwok ousted Andy Lo in Yat Tung South, while Peter Yu (Civic Party) lost to Sammi Fu (New People’s Party) in Tung Chung North. Amy Yung (Civic Party) held onto Discovery Bay despite the efforts of the SCMP.
As widely-predicted, Randy Yu comfortably won the Lantau seat vacated by Rainbow Wong but his share of the vote plummeted from 77% in 2011 to just on 50% – the lowest that the establishment candidate has ever achieved. That slide in support is a testament to the disquiet over the blizzard of projects and development schemes, in particular the Shek Kwu Chau incinerator and the plan to open up South Lantau roads. Continue reading