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Friday, October 28, 2016, 01:10

Public consultation on HK’s long-term development launched

By Willa Wu

HONG KONG - The government on Thursday launched a public consultation on Hong Kong’s long-term development plan in 2030 and beyond. It included major land supply initiatives in the North New Territories and also construction of an East Lantau Metropolis.

Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po said that the government planned to deal with a land shortage of some 1,200 hectares which will emerge after 2030 - and it will release more land.

The government, therefore, proposes developing new towns in North New Territories and building the East Lantau Metropolis, Chan explained.

He was briefing the media about the city’s development blueprint for 2030 and beyond. Chan said a total area of 1, 720 hectares from the two strategic areas will be used to address a land shortfall for housing, commercial complexes and public facilities like open space and government premises.

The blueprint is open for public consultation from Thursday to April 30, 2017.

Ling Kar-kan, director of planning, told reporters the two strategic growth areas will house about 1 million people and create an estimated 415,000 jobs.

The government is studying the possibility of building multi-story buildings for businesses which operate on brownfield sites

Ling Kar-kan, director of planning

Different approaches will be adopted to develop the areas concerned. The East Lantau Metropolis, which is located to the west of Hong Kong Island, will be built on massive artificial land reclaimed from less ecologically sensitive waters beyond Victoria Harbour, Ling said.

This metropolis will become the city’s third central business district along with Hong Kong Island and Kowloon East, according to the blueprint.

Ling noted that the development of North New Territories will rely on the efficient use of brownfield sites and abandoned agricultural land. Currently, around 200 hectares of brownfield sites were in the area, he said.

However, the blueprint does not provide the amount of brownfield sites the government is going to use.

Chan confirmed that the government is determined to tackle problems with brownfield sites. He said the government was studying the possibility of building multi-story buildings for businesses which operate on brownfield sites. A city-wide investigation on brownfields will be conducted next year.

He also emphasized that the blueprint involved no country parks for development.

Meanwhile, the blueprint also proposes using a multi-prolonged approach to increase development capacity in developed areas. This includes reclamation, moving facilities into caves and underground developments.

Government data shows that Hong Kong’s population will peak at around 8.22 million in 2043 from 7.24 million in 2014. The 2030+ blueprint is designed to provide living space that can accommodate a population of 9 million.

The government also proposes building an “age-friendly” society, boosting development of technology, enhancing nature conservation and building an extensive transportation network for use after 2030.

Open lectures, focused group discussions and field visits to the areas will be organized for the public so they can understand the blueprint better.

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