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Forget reclamation. Hong Kong should build a floating city

32 0 7
10.01.2019

It is a universally acknowledged truth that there is an enormous amount of land in Hong Kong’s New Territories that could be developed. Sitting on a dilapidated but seaworthy boat sipping a rum recently, the whole of Tseung Kwan O lay before me as a large catchment area of poorly utilised land.

One would hope that the hapless Stanley Wong Yuen-fai and his Task Force on Land Supply has spotted this one, as the land area is not far short of half the size of Kowloon. A short MTR extension and it would be as big as Sha Tin or Tuen Mun, and just as convenient.

Unfortunately, his rug was well and truly pulled from under him by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who came out of the left field with her Lantau Tomorrow Vision plan. More a case of double vision after a New Year party, the plan is an unimaginative, and ultimately futile, way of creating more land for building. One would have thought Typhoon Mangkhut’s four-metre tidal surge and the spectre of sea-level rises due to global warming would have made the idea dead on arrival.

Not a bit of it. Lam even described concerns about the mind-numbing cost as “narrow-minded”. Well, let’s put on the blinkers and see how the project works financially. The Lantau Folly is estimated to cost HK$500 billion (US$64 billion) to build. These projects always overshoot – just ask MTR Corporation or........

© South China Morning Post