This is the first of our Q&As with candidates standing for Lantau in the coming District Council election. Each will be asked the same ten questions and the answers published in full (the original in Chinese, the English edited slightly for length).
Randy Yu (candidate no. 1) is the establishment candidate, taking the place of the retiring Rainbow Wong. He is already an appointed Islands District Council member, but this is his first tilt at an election.
Yu is a Tai O native and has the backing of all four Lantau rural committees – Mui Wo, Tai O, Tung Chung and South Lantau. He also enjoys the support of Uncle Fat himself – the long-time Heung Yee Kuk chairman and kingmaker Lau Wong-fat is his father-in-law. His responses are below.
Why are you standing for the Islands District Council?
I am a Lantau person. I was born and raised here, so I have a strong sense of belonging and very strong feelings towards the place, and so I give special attention to Lantau’s sustainable development. I hope to continue to contribute my personal work experience, my connections and professional knowledge for the community. I look forward to the future of the district and hope it brings balanced and harmonious development.
What are the main issues for South Lantau?
Through my election platform I am committed to the following:
(i) Transport network
Improve the problem of insufficient parking spaces; widen South Lantau Rd; improve public transport service quality; strengthen the Tai O-Tung Chung holiday ferry service.
爭取改善大嶼山泊車位不足問題; 要求擴闊南大嶼山道路; 爭取改善公共交通服務質素; 要求加強大澳至東涌假日渡輪服務
(ii) Social welfare and education
Additional rural ambulance services; additional dental services for the elderly at North Lantau Hospital; re-open the Southern District Secondary School in Mui Wo.
要求增設鄉郊救護車服務; 要求北大嶼山醫院增設長者牙科服務; 爭取復辦南約區中學
(iii) Community facilities
Improve Lantau telecommunications services; speed the construction of village sewage systems; ensure the digital TV signal fully covers Lantau.
爭取改善大嶼山電訊網絡服務; 爭取加快建設鄉村污水系統; 爭取數碼電視訊號全面覆蓋大嶼山
(iv) Sustainable Development of Lantau
Sustainable development of fisheries and agriculture; integration of different ethnic groups into the community; conservation of Lantau culture, history and ecology; optimisation of Lantau’s transport networks; district economic development.
關注漁農業可持續發展; 關注多元種族社區共融; 關注保育人文歷史及環境生態; 要求優化島內交通網絡; 關注大嶼山地區經濟發展
If elected, what will be your priorities?
In the short-term I will hold discussions as soon as possible with relevant departments on priority tasks – improving the transport network, reinforcing the Lantau telecom network and other community facilities.
I believe large and hasty changes in Lantau are inadvisable. It is Hong Kong’s rear garden. How to develop Lantau’s tourist industry and also carry forward the local community culture are worth careful consideration. What is a balanced and appropriate approach? The ideal way is to first understand clearly that local residents enjoy their existing lifestyle, and only then to start making plans, and in this way avoid forcing ‘urbanite’ planning models on rural areas. I believe Lantau can achieve planned sustainable development and healthy growth as long as it is no longer losing population, and if the government continues to provide the community with additional, optimised facilities.
What is your view of the plan to open up S. Lantau roads to extra tourist buses and some private cars?
Before solving the parking space shortage and problems of basic road and transport facilities, it is not advisable to think about road opening arrangements. I am opposed to the government opening up South Lantau Road before committing to the improvement of our transport infrastructure, including but not limited to a standard road and additional parking facilities.
How can we improve public transport, ie, taxi, bus and ferry services?
This is an issue that has long been of concern to me. With regard to taxis, many Hong Kong residents and tourists visit Lantau and they have always found taxis in short supply. For many years [as a member of the] Islands District Council Traffic and Transport Committee I have proposed an increase in the number of taxis. In managing Lantau’s future development, as well as in response to the increase in population and visitor numbers, the government announced the issue of new taxi licences in June this year – but how many new licences should it issue? I believe the government is best advised to be guided by Lantau’s population numbers and to balance out the voice of the taxi industry.
Apart from increasing the number of buses and bus routes, we need to review all Lantau transport arrangements, including the possibility of building an island bicycle path and increasing Tai O-Tung Chung ferry services on holidays. With regards to the dredging problem [in Tai O], we need to mitigate the nuisance felt by local people.
How to improve S. Lantau roads? Do we need a round-island highway?
In improving South Lantau Road, I believe enhancing it to a standard road, including expanding the width and reinforcing the roadbed, is very important, as is the straightening of the many tight bends on Keung Shan Road. We also must increase to the right level the number of parking spaces within villages.
As for the round-island highway, I believe that before building it it is essential to win the consent of the majority of Lantau people. Currently, the Transport Department may be reconsidering its 1990s plan. It needs to first conduct a public consultation on the highway, and when there is consensus carry out a feasibility study in order to meet the needs of Lantau’s future development.
How to balance development, in particular tourism, and the South Lantau environment and lifestyle?
As stated, I have always held the position that rapid change here is inadvisable. How to develop Lantau’s tourist industry and at the same continue local community culture, allowing residents to maintain their lifestyle, is one challenge. A more balanced solution would be to understand local residents’ lifestyle and then make plans according to their choices.
What other things can we do to improve South Lantau as a place to live and raise families?
Improving our transport network and facilities, speeding construction of village sewage systems, improving walking paths between villages, and giving attention to integration of our multi-racial community are prerequisites for improving the quality of life. Additionally, I will also push for a village ambulance service for residents, for an increase in dental services for the elderly at North Lantau Hospital, and for the reopening of the Southern District Secondary School in Mui Wo.
What is your view of the plan for the East Lantau Metropolis?
For Hong Kong as a whole, the East Lantau Metropolis is an issue for study. But before carrying it out, apart from studying the technical feasibility we also need to carry out the needs analysis study as proposed by the Living Islands Movement (LIM). Because this is a new issue, I believe everybody must first deeply understand and discuss before taking action. I have already made this point to the authorities, and they have already agreed to carry out a needs analysis study. I also hope that the authorities can become more transparent to allow stakeholders to further understand the project, and to make a final decision only after fully consulting stakeholders.
Name & Age 姓名與年齡: YU Hon Kwan (Randy) 余漢坤, 53
Occupation: Islands District Councillor, Corporate Executive
職業 : 離島區議會議員、公司行政人員
Political Affiliation 政治立場: Independent Candidate 獨立候選人
Education & Qualifications 學歷及專業資格
Graduate of Reading University, UK 英國雷丁大學畢業
1985: Honours Degree in Material Measurement, Reading University, UK 1985: 年獲大學頒發物料測量名譽學位
1989: Admitted to Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
Community Experience 社區經驗
8 years as Islands District Councillor 八年擔任離島區議會議員
Tai O Cultural conservation work: including planning and managing Revitalising Historic Buildings Through Partnerships Scheme & Old Tai O Police Station project