An artificial island between Hong Kong Island and Lantau could accommodate 400,000 to 700,000 people within the next 15 years, Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po said.
The project, to be located four kilometers from Hong Kong Island, was first mentioned in Chief Executive Leung Chun- ying’s policy address last year.
Chan said the government has moved on to the long- term strategic planning for the island, which is part of a framework set to give broad directions for land supply and town planning for a time horizon up to the year 2030.
The government is aiming to develop a core business district on the island in addition to Central and Kowloon East to promote economic development and provide job opportunities.
“Together with the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and other developing infrastructure that links Lantau, the artificial island has the potential to become the third core business district in Hong Kong,” Chan said.
“This will help ease the traffic intensity in the other business areas and balance out the overall geographical distribution of the city’s economic activities.”
He said the island may form an East Lantau Metropolis together with other projects such as the third airport runway, Airport North Business District and Tung Chung new town.
Chan said its design is still at an initial stage and that a public consultation will be conducted.
But Save Lantau Alliance convener Eddie Tse Sai-kit said the group expects the scope of the consultation to be limited within practical arrangements and specific land use rather than one that engages the public in core discussions of the development direction.
“We suspect the building of this island may be one of Leung Chun-ying’s moves to hand in homework to the Beijing government rather than to meet local needs,” Tse said. “The whole of Lantau is set to be developed for tourism and not to suit the relaxed lifestyle of many Lantau residents.”
Tse added that the noise generated by challenges to the government’s plan of building the island has been much less compared with that arising from private land resumption.
“Not many people in Hong Kong are concerned about the public space of the sea,” Tse said.