Locals split on mega reclamation Public unsure of project costs and schedule

OPINION on the two proposed artificial islands east of Lantau (大嶼山) is still divided, with a survey showing almost half of the public supporting it and nearly 40 percent
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuetngor’s (林鄭月娥) ‘Lantau Tomorrow Vision’ (明日大嶼願景) project, announced in her policy address last year, aims to build an island of
1,000 hectares at Kau Yi Chau (交椅州) and another 700-hectare island at Hei Ling Chau (喜靈州).
The plan has ignited fierce debate. The Chinese University’s Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies conducted the survey from 18 to 26 April with 707 people over the
Around 46.7 percent of the respondents supported the idea, with 67.5 percent of them saying the major reason they were in favour of it was due to land shortage.
Furthermore, 46.8 percent said they supported the plan as it “helps to solve the housing problem”, while 23.1 percent said the “government can afford the project”.
However, 37.9 percent were opposed, among which 51.3 percent said that was because they were worried that the construction process would have an impact on the environment.
With the 1,000-hectare island expected to cost HK$624 billion, 49.7 percent believe “the cost is too high”, while 48.3 percent feel “there are other practisable methods to
increase land supply”.
The government estimated that the Lantau Tomorrow Vision project can create 260,000 to 400,000 flats.
On the whole, 42.4 percent found the figure “appropriate”, while 22.6 percent said it was “too low” and 10 percent said it was “too high”.
The government has promised that 70 percent of the flats would be reserved for public housing.
With that in mind, 58.6 percent found the ratio “appropriate”, while 15.1 percent felt it was “too low” and 14.9 percent said it was “too high”.
However, respondents generally lacked confidence that the government will finish the project on time, especially considering that it said the first group of residents will be
able to move in by 2032.
Secretary for Development Michael Wong Wai-lun (黃偉綸), when explaining the portion of the Appropriation Bill 2019 concerning the Development Bureau (發展局) in the Legislative
Council on 8 May, said the first phase of the Lantau Tomorrow Vision project – the artificial island at Kau Yi Chau – will provide enormous economic and social benefits.
He said he understood the concerns of some legislators about the financial burden, but stressed that the government could handle it.

(This article is published on the Student Standard on 17 May 2019)