The first phase of Lantau Tomorrow Vision project can make up two-thirds of the housing shortage over the next 30 years, head of the Sustainable Lantau Office said.
Announcing preliminary details of the 1,000 hectares artificial island at Kau Yi Chau in March, secretary for Development Michael Wong Wai-lun had said Hong Kong lacks over 200,000 flats, counting for all development plans, including reconstruction plans of developers.
But the head of the Sustainable Lantau Office Michael Fong Hok-shing said the shortage should be 390,000 flats.
He said 380,000 flats could be built from 210 government rezoned sites for housing development and other development plans such as that at Anderson Road, while another 230,000 flats could be obtained from new development areas such as Kwu Tung North, Fan Ling North and Hung Shui Kiu.
Given that the development strategic study “Hong Kong 2030+” projected that Hong Kong would need one million flats by 2046, there would still be a shortage of 390,000 apartments in the next 30 years.
“Even with all those development projects completed smoothly, we are talking about 610,000 flats only, and Kau Yi Chau artificial island will provide up to 260,000 flats in time,” Fong said.
The Kau Yi Chau artificial island was the first phase of the Lantau Tomorrow Vision, which also includes a second phase of an artificial island at Hei Ling Chau with 700 hectares.
The Kau Yi Chau artificial island, together with facilities, is estimated to cost HK$624 billion, and can build 150,000 to 260,000 flats, with 70 percent public housing and the rest private.
But a member of the Citizen Task Force on Land Resources Thomas Yam Hin-pong said the actual cost would be more than HK$1 trillion, and the 2030+ plan would raise the total housing occupancy to nine million.
“The population now is 7.4 million, and the peak is 8.2 million in 2043, declining to 7.8 million in 2066, so where are the people coming from?” Yam asked. He stressed housing would be in surplus, and the money for the artificial island should be spent on other needs such as universal retirement protection and building hospitals.
But Fong said the government always targeted housing for 8.2 million people. “We have the capacity to cater to nine million, but it doesn’t mean that we plan housing for nine million.”
Fong said the deputy director of Planning Ivan Chung Man-kit has said some of the demand for one million flats needed for the next 30 years came from old district rehabilitation, with 110,000 flats currently 70 years of age, rising to 300,000 by 2036.
Chinese University of Hong Kong geography professor Ng Mee-kam said there are many other ways to obtain land, such as vacant schools and short term tenancy sites for short-term needs, and about 9,690 hectares of totally unplanned land, nine times the area of the artificial island, for long-term use.