The public engagement exercise of the Task Force on Land Supply will be drawing to a close in late September, but it seems that members of the public are still far from being able to find common ground over the 18 options put forward for deliberation by the task force.
However, we have noticed that there is huge public support for the proposal of relocating the Kwai Tsing Container Terminals to somewhere else in order to empty this valuable piece of land for housing projects.
Recently, a senior management executive of a multinational real estate consultancy has brought up the idea again, saying that relocating the container terminals can provide about 380 hectares of land for the government.
SA Advocates, an independent and nonpolitical think tank to which I belong, is among those who are in favor of this idea.
Way back in 2015, we pointed out that existing facilities at Kwai Tsing terminals, which were built in the 1970s, can no longer meet the needs of today’s logistics industry.
In fact, one urgent task facing the government right now is to build a more modern and automated container pier elsewhere in Hong Kong, for example, on Lantau Island.
Relocating Kwai Tsing terminals will not only boost the competitiveness of the local maritime services industry, but also provide us with a large piece of land lying on a premium location that is ready for housing development, thereby creating a win-win for society as a whole.
Often dubbed “the last piece of premium land in our urban area”, the site where the Kwai Tsing container terminals are currently located is easily accessible by the superb public transport network covering the area, and has other big residential housing estates as well as all the necessary community amenities in close proximity.
As such, the piece of land is among the top choices for development into a residential area.
Besides, relocating the Kwai Tsing terminals and then leveling the land for housing projects is definitely a far better and more realistic option than the pie-in-the-sky idea of topside development of the terminals that builds a gigantic superstructure above the existing terminals on which the government can then develop new homes.
It is simply against common sense: how can anybody possibly call that an ideal living environment when over 10,000 people are cramped on the roof of container terminals saturated with noise and light, and operating around the clock?
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Aug 8
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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