Secretary for Development Michael Wong Wai-lun said the first phase of the Lantau reclamation project will cost between HK$130 billion and HK$150 billion, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Wong said he is confident the cost of the reclamation near Kau Yi Chau between Hong Kong Island and the main island of Lantau will be well under control because the supply of sand for the project will not be a problem.
The first phase is expected to create 1,000 hectares of land for the government to build residential units to ease the current housing shortage, Wong said after attending a District Council meeting.
It is part of the “Lantau Tomorrow Vision”, which Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor unveiled in her policy address earlier this month. It is estimated to create as much as 1,700 hectares of land through large-scale reclamation in the seas off Lantau.
While some people warn that the mega reclamation project will be extremely expensive, the administration has not released any overall cost estimates.
Wong said the cost estimate for the Kau Yi Chau reclamation is based on a reclamation contract the government awarded in January for an infrastructure project near Tung Chung.
FactWire News Agency recently reported that the price of marine sand imported from the mainland has been rising due to decreased supply.
Authorities are aware of the problem, Wong said after attending a District Council meeting.
He told reporters that Hong Kong itself can find sources of sand supply for the reclamation project and thus the cost will be under control.
The development chief said as much as 150 million metric tons of construction waste is created in Hong Kong every year and that can be used to reclaim 60 hectares of land, adding that there is also organic sand available for reclamation.
Some quarters have suggested that the government should give priority to the development of brownfields as they cost less than reclamation.
Wong said most brownfields are located in New Territories North, which is 30 to 40 kilometers away from downtown areas, while the distance between Kau Yi Chau and Central is only about 10 kilometers.
As such, developing brownfields will not be more cost-effective as it will also require the building of railways and roads, he said.
Brownfields refer to land zoned for industrial or commercial use but are now used for other purposes such as storage dumps.
FactWire earlier reported that the Airport Authority’s third runway under construction may go over the budget because marine sand needed for the project is being imported from Qinzhou in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
But in response to media inquiries, the authority said the budget for the project is unchanged at HK$141.5 billion while construction work remains on target for completion in 2022.
The authority said a deep cement mixing method is being used for the reclamation for the third runway project.
However, Edward Yiu Chung-yim, a former lawmaker from the architectural, surveying, planning and landscape functional constituency, said that since the size of the Lantau reclamation project is three times bigger than that of the new runway, it can be reasonably assumed that shortage of sand and a rise in sand prices will only become more severe.
– Contact us at [email protected]