18 March 2019
Chairman Stanley Wong (center) presides over the first meeting of the Task Force on Land Supply on Wednesday. Photo: Information Services Department
Chairman Stanley Wong (center) presides over the first meeting of the Task Force on Land Supply on Wednesday. Photo: Information Services Department

Task Force on Land Supply set to focus on 12 options initially

A government task force will initially focus on 12 options to help increase land supply for public housing. The group held its first meeting on Wednesday.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor told the 30-member Task Force on Land Supply that the housing problem is on top of her agenda.

She said Hong Kong is not short of land for development but has been lacking a broad consensus on where the land is to come from.

Lam urged the task force to propose measures and new ideas on making optimal use of land as well as engage the community in discussions.

Stanley Wong Yuen-fai, who chairs the task force, said Hong Kong needs at least 1,200 hectares more land to meet the housing needs of the public.

The projection was based on data provided by Hong Kong 2030+, a comprehensive study to update the territorial development strategy jointly produced by the Planning Department and the Development Bureau.

For the time being, the expert panel will discuss 12 options that have been gathered initially.

These include more land reclamation outside Victoria Harbour, leveling up some impounding reservoirs, relocation of the Kwai Chung Container Terminal, developing sites in country parks, expediting development of land in comprehensive development areas and developing military sites.

Wong said there is no priority set for the options and time is a major factor. He said the task force will consider other measures suggested by the public.

The task force will discuss the options before conducting public consultations in the first half of next year. A report will be submitted to the government in the second half if a larger consensus is reached.

Wong said getting the pubic to participate in discussions is one of the group’s most important tasks, adding its deliberations will not be influenced by the government.

Asked if the task force discussed a scheme proposed by Lam to help local first-time homebuyers, Wong said it did not because it is not what the group should be concerned about.

Separately, Lam told a forum on Wednesday that she understands the plight of people forced to live in abject conditions. She said she comes from a grassroots family and did her homework on a bed when she was a student.

She said the public should seriously ask itself about reclamation outside Victoria Harbour and about exploring the periphery of country parks for housing development.

Lam admitted she is not that confident about a broad consensus on the issue, adding more rational discussions are needed.

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