by tolkien beal
Can Hong Kong resolve the housing problem solely by Lantau tomorrow?
Under the Lantau Tomorrow Vision proposal in the Policy Address, the government aims to carry out a reclamation scheme in Lantau. The scheme will conduct in two phases which reclaim in total of 1800 hectare, providing flats for more than 1 million people and provide numerous job opportunities for HK citizen. On the other hand, the scheme has been a bone of contention in terms of environmental aspects and economical aspect. I support the reclamation scheme and think the Hong Kong government has hit the nail on the head as Hong Kong did have inadequate land supply.
Firstly, in terms of land supply, The Lantau tomorrow Vision can provide a large piece of reclaimed land to meet Hong Kong's long-term land supply goal. Currently, there are only 18,000 private housing with extravagant price whilst public housing registration queue has already reached 270,000 applicants, leading to an average queuing time of 5.3 years. The east Lantau reclamation could supply with a total of 1800 hectares of land. This measure can effectively tackle the current inadequate land for housing.
Secondly, in terms of economic development, some may censure the use of 500 billions is as severe and extravagant. However, it can create vast amount of job opportunities ranging from manual workers to service industry workers. Meanwhile, the massive construction project greatly increases the demand for raw materials and corporate financing opportunities. In addition, it can boost economic development no matter what the way of development is. The east Lantau reclamation work creates numerous job opportunities and hence increases the demand for cement steel and corporate financing. There are a lot of manual workers can be benefit from this avant-grade infrastructure. All in all, this shows that this avant-grade projects can facilitate the development of diversified aspect.
Thirdly, in terms of education aspect, the Hong Kong government has yet to decide the purpose of land use aside from residential land use. In my opinion, Hong Kong can seize the chance in coordination with the establishment of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge. The scheme can be considered building a STEAM-based community which consists of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics respectively. Hong Kong education policy has always come under fire due to its rote learning. Therefore, Hong Kong can build a centre of 'steam'. There are several advantages, Hong Kong recently induce the development of STEM education, therefore Hong Kong can launch the STEM with the introduction of learning centre. On top of that, the education centre is near marine area. Thus, the centre can promote the advantages of conserving the marine environment.
Some may assail that there is suspicion of collusion between the government and private real estate owner. They claim that there is a large piece of land belonged by private company in the following reclaimed project. However, I held an opposition on it. Under the proposal, there is at most 400,000 housing units available. 70% of the reclaimed land accounts for for building subsidized public housing. This shows that Hong Kong government do not provide any backing for those companies.
Besides, most people perceive that Hong Kong should develop brownfield site in the New Territories - damaged lands that is adopted as garage and container yards and it is not a must to impose a large-scale reclamation. Firstly, in order to resolve the long-term goal of land supply, the Lantau scheme can provide a total of 1,800 hectares lands which cam meet the long-term land supply goal. With reference to Hong Kong government land supply report, there are about 700 hectares landfill. The current land demand is ineffective to support the land provision demand. Once the brownfield land is exhausted, Hong Kong needs to encounter the lack of land supply.
All in all, the government needs to move heaven and world to have a comprehensive plan for Lantau tomorrow scheme to tackle the hand-to-mouth land supply.