Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is going ahead with a plan to rezone a fill bank in Tseung Kwan O for a residential project in January despite opposition from two government departments, Apple Daily reported Wednesday.
A fill bank is an area where public waste is temporarily stockpiled before heading for a landfill.
Confidential official documents seen by the newspaper show Leung ordered in a meeting in August last year that the 104 hectare Area 137 fill bank, adjacent to the South East New Territories Landfill, be turned over to private housing.
The plan envisages the building of 35,000 homes for a total of 100,000 residents, more than the 25,500 homes at the LOHAS Park project being developed nearby.
However, the Environmental Protection Department and the Civil Engineering and Development Department advised after conducting separate assessments that it would be better not to relocate the fill bank and its facilities until a new site is found, as Hong Kong is facing an “overfilling” crisis.
They said it is impossible to clean up the site by 2017 as planned.
Documents show the MTR’s Tseung Kwan O Line will be extended to the site to meet the future needs of residents of the project, but that will not be feasible if the fill bank is not relocated.
Calling the government irresponsible, legislator Gary Fan Kwok-wai said the Tseung Kwan O Line is already running near full capacity during rush hours and might be overloaded with an additional 100,000 passengers from the project.
However, Christine Fong Kwok-shan, a member of Sai Kung district council, said she supported the project, which boasts beautiful views of the South China Sea.
Fong said construction of a cross-bay bridge to LOHAS Park has been approved by the Legislative Council.
Meanwhile, the documents also show that Leung told the Development Bureau in January to study the feasibility of moving all the facilities of the fill bank to Lung Kwu Tan in Tuen Mun so as to speed up the Tseung Kwan O project.
Tuen Mun district council chairman Lau Wong-fat, nicknamed “King of the New Territories”, has proposed to the government that Lung Kwu Tan village, where he was born in 1936, be relocated with compensation, so that it can be turned into a fill bank, the documents show.
It is estimated that Lau might pocket tens of millions of Hong Kong dollars under his proposal, as he owns several land plots in the village, Apple Daily said.
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