One island, two towns proposal

Top News | Phoenix Un and Jeffrey Lee 22 Aug 2018

A "one island, two towns" proposal that involves relocating the Fanling Golf Course and Kwai Tsing Container Terminals has been put forward.

Think tank Professional Commons wants to see the government develop an offshore artificial island to the west of Lantau so that it can house the container terminals and golf course.

The land the two currently occupy can then be used to curb the housing crisis.

Relocating the terminals and developing the course are among the 18 options in the Task Force on Land Supply's public consultation.

But Albert Lai Kwong-tak, chairman of the Professional Commons, suggested a proposal that combines both options with land reclamation.

The reclaimed land would be beside the "west artificial island" of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, 7.5 kilometers west of Lantau.

Lai said should the "west artificial island" be developed, it will expand 350 hectares southward and 170 hectares northward. The southern part should be used to relocate the container terminals while the northern part would become the new golf course.

"It would result in two new towns in Kwai Tsing and Fan Ling," Lai said, adding that his proposal was named "one island, two towns."

The think thank believes the government may retake about 600 hectares of land from the container terminals and the surrounding area to construct a new town.

Lai compared his proposal to that of the East Lantau Metropolis, which he said could cost more than HK$400 billion. His plan would only cost half of that.

"In terms of time, since the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge is already there, all they need to do is build a connecting bridge and reclaim the land with a sea wall, which will take around four to five years," Lai added.

The proposal said about 45 percent of the new town should be used for housing, which will provide 250,000 flats for 700,000 residents.

Another 10 percent of the land may be used to build a new central business district of 42 million square feet with a plot ratio of seven.

Meanwhile, another pro-democracy group -Democrat Professionals - also suggested relocating the container terminals to build a new town.

Lee Yuet, a member of the group, said this option should supply 800 hectares - 480 hectares from the container terminals and the remainder from the southwestern part of Tsing Yi.

"Task force chairman Stanley Wong Yuen-fai said they need to find 1,200 hectares of land, but this option already covers two-thirds of the shortage," said Lee.

"There is no need to reclaim 2,000 hectares of land somewhere else as suggested by Tung Chee-hwa's think tank," Lee said, referring to the "enhanced East Lantau Metropolis" by the Our Hong Kong Foundation.

Lee said the 2,000-hectare artificial island is too large and would "destroy the micro-climate" in the surrounding area.

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