A think tank chaired by Hong Kong’s first chief executive Tung Chee-hwa urged the government to resume reclamation to boost land supply.
In a newly published report, the Our Hong Kong Foundation (OHKF) said the average waiting time for public rental housing is now five years, two years more than the government’s target of three years, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
While some 20,000 private residential units are expected to be completed annually in the coming four years, only 19,000 public housing flats will be built every year during the same period, which is far below the target of 28,000 units a year, the OHKF said.
Stephen Wong, the foundation’s deputy executive director, said the construction of public housing units has been trailing far behind completion targets over the last few years due to lack of suitable sites.
That is why there is a need for a massive reclamation program to increase land supply, Wong said.
The OHKF report said in the coming 30 years, Hong Kong would need 9,000 hectares of land to achieve what Singapore has to offer its citizens – an average residential space of 270 square feet per capita.
Current residential projects being built, planned and under consultation represent about 5,300 hectares of land, or a shortfall of nearly 4,000 hectares.
The OHKF is calling for reclamation on the south of Cheung Chau to create artificial islands for the relocation of the existing container port in Kwai Chung.
That way, Kwai Chung could be turned into a site for residential projects.
The think tank also proposed relocating prisons and several government facilities to Po Toi Island, while reclaiming land off southern Lamma Island, Tuen Mun and Tseung Kwan O.
While the OHKF believes reclamation can address the long-term land supply problem in the city, a medium-term measure is to encourage private-public cooperation in providing residential units.
Wong said the think tank’s views on housing policies are in line with those of Chief Executive-elect Carrie Lam, such as building subsidized housing units available for rental and purchases.
The OHKF said it will continue to actively exchange ideas on public policies with the government.
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