MOST people who support reclamation outside Victoria Harbour (維多利亞港) are senior citizens over 60, earning over HK$30,000 a month and own properties, according to a survey by Our Hong Kong Foundation (團結香港基金).
Its poll showed 47 percent of respondents favoured reclamation and 34 percent opposed such a move.
The think tank polled 1,002 people – aged 18 and above – between 21 and 28 March before the Task Force on Land Supply (土地供應專責小組) started a public consultation last Thursday that listed reclamation among 18 choices.
Stephen Wong Yuen-shan (黃元山), the foundation’s deputy executive director, said reclamation has always been a major source of land supply for the development of Hong Kong’s new towns.
He said 47 percent of the respondents supported reclamation if the government would promise to minimise the impact on the environment.
He said respondents aged between 18 and 29 were lukewarm to reclamation as only 28.7 percent of them favoured this option.
However, the rate of approval in this age group rose to 35.1 percent if the government would provide a guarantee that the impact to the environment would be minimised.
Wong said the older generation had witnessed the success of developing new towns in Sha Tin (沙田), Tsuen Wan (荃灣) and Tung Chung (東涌) in the past two to three decades. They believe such a model could solve Hong Kong’s land supply and housing problem, he said.
“We saw how Tseung Kwan O (將軍澳) was developed from scratch and a lot of people are living there now, making it easier for us to accept reclamation. But it’s hard for young people to envision this,” he said.
The think tank believes that the results of its survey indicated a general consensus that Hong Kong urgently needs a large supply of land and reclamation could be a handy solution.
Edward Yiu Chung-yim (姚松炎), a former lawmaker for the architectural, surveying, planning and landscape functional constituency, decried the survey as misleading as the questions only required yes or no answers, unlike other surveys that gave respondents different land supply options.
“The organisation had a stance and it wanted to create an impression that many people supported reclamation,” he said.
He cited the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK, 中文大學) survey in 2013 which showed that more than 80 percent of respondents opposed reclamation and only 5 percent were in favour.
Financial Secretary (財政司司長) Paul Chan Mo-po (陳茂波) earlier said reclamation was a good way to ease the housing shortage because it does not force people to move out during construction.
(This article is published on Student Standard on 11 May 2018)