Gov’t Chooses Reclamation sites due to ‘lack of opposition’

Gov’t Chooses Reclamation sites due to ‘lack of opposition’

Five potential sites for reclamation were selected because there was “less opposition,” said the vice chairman of the government’s Task Force on Land Supply, Greg Wong Chak-yan.

Wong and chairman Stanley Wong Yuen-fai told the media after the task force meeting on Tuesday that the group endorsed near-shore reclamation in the five sites: Lung Kwu Tan, Siu Ho Wan, Sunny Bay, Ma Liu Shui and Tsing Yi Southwest.

These sites, in addition to the East Lantau Metropolis, will provide at least 1,400 hectares of land with little environmental impact although Chinese white dolphins are known to live there, Stanley Wong said on Tuesday.

Speaking on a radio program yesterday, Greg Wong said during the land supply task force meeting, no member raised any opposition to selection of these five sites.

“Many task force members believed reclamation is an effective method to secure land, but no member advised against reclamation,” he said. “By agreeing we only mean we’ll continue discussing this method, and when the advised information is ready the government should publicize it for public participation.”

Wong also said the task force would decide whether to officially endorse the near-shore reclamation of the five sites next October.

He admitted that task force members only received documentation on reclamation five days before the meeting. He also admitted that some members knew little about reclamation.

A member of the Citizens Task Force on Land Resources, Thomas Yam Hin-bong, said the government and its task force ignored that an opinion poll some years ago showed that 46 percent of respondents were against reclamation.

Wong explained that the interviewees were concerned that the environment near their homes would be affected by the reclamation. Yam blasted Wong for distorting a random sampling survey, which could represent general opinion of Hong Kong citizens. “You can’t invalidate a poll result you don’t like by referring to interviewees’ background.”

Yam also slammed the government for concentrating too much on land supply while neglecting the demand for land.

“Any such reclamation and infrastructure can let people to live there at least 30 years later, so the government should have based the study on the population and economy 30 years hence, which will show that much of the so-called demand will have disappeared,” Yam said.

Wong said although certain methods of land supply were controversial, the task force could not simply reject the methods. “It would be irresponsible to people living in cages,” he said.

But Yam said the government often intentionally concealed some crucial information during land-related consultations. “The government hopes to cheat under cover of a diversion in these large-scale projects.”

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