Why government should drop expansion plans for Disneyland

August 28, 2019 18:47
Abandoning the Disneyland expansion project will unlock 60 hectares of land in Penny's Bay for building homes. Photo: HKEJ

We often hear people say 70 percent of Hong Kong’s land is within our country parks or conservation zones, parts of which are under the protection of international conventions and hence off-limits to housing projects.

As to the remaining land, 25 percent has already been developed. Therefore, only 5 percent of our land is still available for building homes.

Apparently, our city is facing an acute land shortage.

And even if the government has proposed to build artificial islands off the eastern coast of Lantau under the Lantau Tomorrow Vision project, it will probably take about 10 to 20 years to complete.

In other words, there won’t be any new major land supply available for housing development in our city anytime soon.

Or is this really the case? Actually, it's not.

There are still 60 hectares of vacant land in Penny's Bay in northeastern Lantau on which basic infrastructure and railways have already been built. The area is perfectly ready for the immediate development of housing projects.

The site was initially designated for the second phase development of the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, but has been lying idle for more than a decade.

The decision to develop the Disneyland expansion project has been postponed because there are lots of doubt about the wisdom of pursuing the initiative given that the amusement park has been unable to attain long-term profitability.

In my view, since the park’s profit outlook is anything but promising, the government must face the harsh reality and abandon its second-phase development plan on the site so that the 60 hectares of land in Penny's Bay can be unlocked for building homes.

In fact, I think Hong Kong simply doesn’t need a second theme park apart from Ocean Park.

What’s the point of expanding the existing Disneyland and letting it compete viciously with the one in Shanghai?

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Aug 17

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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HKEJ contributor