Developers could fork out funds for Lantau project

Top News | Michael Shum 27 Nov 2020

Making developers pay for reclamation costs - following the approach of the City One development project in Sha Tin - will be one financing option to be considered for the Lantau Tomorrow Vision, says Secretary for Development Michael Wong Wai-lun.

Wong said yesterday there are various methods that "do not involve money from the public coffers" to finance the mega-reclamation and development off Lantau, which will cost more than HK$600 billion.

Development rights for City One were tendered in 1979 to a consortium of developers, which bore the cost of reclaiming land. Of the 56 hectares reclaimed, the developers kept 30 percent for private estates.

"For the remaining 70 percent of land, the government developed various Home Ownership Scheme estates and the Siu Lek Yuen industrial area," Wong said. "That is an example to show that there are different ways of financing."

Another development model is "railway plus property," Wong said. This has seen the MTR Corp responsible for developing rail systems and being given development rights of some areas.

Wong also mentioned issuing bonds as a feasible way to finance the massive project. A study will be undertaken, he added, "and I assure you that all financing models will be considered carefully."

Wong sought to brush off allegations that officials were overestimating when the policy address pointed to locating 330 hectares of land to provide 316,000 public housing flats in the coming 10 years, which would meet the target under the Long-Term Housing Strategy for the first time.

Plans were advancing, he said, and "we are very confident about finishing construction on time."

He added: "We do believe a measure of skepticism is actually good and healthy because it keeps pushing us forward."

Of the 330 hectares, 35 percent are from various new development areas. Planning for those land plots has been completed and outline zoning plans has been approved.

Another 40 percent comes from 210 sites that are subjected to rezoning.

Meanwhile, Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan said the taking of equity by the Hong Kong Airport Authority in the Zhuhai Airport will create a greater synergy between the two airports.

"Hong Kong International Airport has 220 flight destinations, of which 170 are overseas and 50 in the mainland, while Zhuhai Airport has more than 80 mainland destinations," Chan pointed out.

"So we are enlarging the coverage of the global network with the domestic network."

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