Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying went door-to-door in two unofficial consultations with rural representatives before deciding to cut the Wang Chau housing project to 4,000 units from 17,000.
Executive councilor Cheung Chi-kong said Leung “knocked on doors hoping to get the ball rolling”, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Later, Cheung clarified that the house-to-house visits were meant only to facilitate studies by different government departments.
Leung had been accused of “soft lobbying” rural leaders regarding a plan to build the project on brownfield sites occupied by powerful landlords.
In the end, the project will be built on a greenfield area, displacing three villages.
Cheung said people were overreacting.
“I can tell you the CE [chief executive] went in person, knocking on doors, to push forward the brownfield scheme given that it is an unprecedented policy,” Cheung said.
He did not say which people or groups Leung consulted.
Non-establishment Legco members have criticised the government for lack of public consultation and transparency in the project.
They said Leung’s soft lobbying has been going on behind the scenes, calling it irresponsible.
Cheung said brownfields are a complicated issue and compensation alone is not going to solve the problem and please everyone.
Legislator Dr. Edward Yiu said many stakeholders from the New Territories think the government’s compensation is insufficient and thus refuse to support development of the brownfield.
Yiu wants a thorough Legco investigation into the controversy.
Chan Oi-Kam, a representative from Wing Ning Tsuen, one of the villages affected by the development, said there has been no public consultation on how its 300 residents will be relocated.
If they accept the government’s compensation offer of 90 percent, they would get only HK$600,000 (US$77,370) but lose their right to public housing, Chan said.
He said the villagers will not move.
– Contact us at [email protected]