A research unit of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) has proposed to increase land supply via large-scale reclamation projects, including filling up the Plover Cove Reservoir in the northeastern New Territoriesto provide 1,200 hectares of land for new town development which could house nearly 300,000 residential units.
Professor Chau Kwong-wing of HKU Department of Real Estate and Construction said the environmental damage of filling up the reservoir would be relatively small as the damage had already been done when the reservoir was constructed, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Professor Lawrence Lai Wai-chung, also from HKU, identified the areas around Lung Kwu Tan in Tuen Mun and Lower Pak Nai in Yuen Long as other possible land reclamation sites, which could provide some 2,000 hectares of residential land.
Lai said land auctions and current plans to develop the periphery of country parks are not effective ways of increasing land supply. In the short to medium term, he suggested that the government act on idled land plots in the New Territories, including taking back undeveloped or idled plots with leases expiring in 2047.
The research team said the proposal would help release some 1,000 hectares of land.
Meanwhile, Chau suggested that the government offer incentives to encourage owners of land in the New Territories to convert their reserves for residential site development.
However, former Observatory director Lam Chiu-ying told hk01.com that the proposal to convert reservoirs into residential site was simply “crazy” as its proponents neglected the people’s need for water.
Researcher Chan Kim Ching from the Liber Research Community also branded the suggestion as stupid as it would mean giving up an option for water self-sufficiency.
Chan said the proposals were apparently not clearly thought through, and did not take into account the massive environmental and transportation costs they would entail.
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