Around this time next year Mui Wo’s population will undergo a sharp expansion with the completion of two new public housing projects.
The new estates, Ngan Ho Court and Ngan Wai Court, will provide 700 new apartments, enough to support approximately 2000 new residents. That means the current Mui Wo population of around 5,500 will increase by 35% or more.
The bigger of the two will be Ngan Ho Court, at the end of Ngan Kwong Wan Road. It comprises two blocks, one 18 and the other 16 storeys, altogether containing 529 apartments.
Ngan Wai Court, which faces the rear of the Mui Wo clinic on Ngan Kwong Wan Rd, is a single 16-storey block with 170 homes.
Q: Why Mui Wo?
The Hong Kong government has built subsidised public housing since the 1950s. Today, 46% of the population lives either in public rental or subsidised sale flats. These new apartments are built under the Home Ownership Scheme (HOS), one of several different programmes aimed at increasing the supply of affordable housing. Dozens of HOS estates provide housing for hundreds of thousands of people, including in Yu Tung, Tung Chung, and Lung Hin, Tai O.
Q: Why this part of Mui Wo?
Most land in Mui Wo belongs to indigenous villagers whose privileges are enshrined in the Basic Law. Ngan Ho is officially zoned in Mui Wo Fringe, while Ngan Wai falls into no zoning plan at all. No indigenous villager in Mui Wo is giving up any of his entitlements to alleviate the housing crisis.
Q: When will people start moving in?
According to the builders, both housing estates will be completed by August 31 2018. New residents will start moving in after the date.
Q: Are these units to be rented or for sale?
For sale. The sale is carried out by ballot and according to certain eligibility criteria.
Q: These aren’t the first public housing projects in Mui Wo, right?
They’re not even the first on Ngan Kwong Wan Rd. The Ngan Wan Estate, built in 1988, has 400 rental apartments in four tower blocks, with a population capped at 1,300.
Q: That’s a lot of extra people moving in. Can our transport services cope?
We don’t know. The New Lantao Bus Company is considering running double-decker buses to Mui Wo. It says details of its preparations will be contained in a five-year plan for the Transport Department.
New World First Ferry said, in response to a query from Bob Bunker of Living Islands Movement:
“We are collecting the data from related governmental departments in order for us to review and devise the overall sailing arrangements in the following years. Please be assured that we will closely monitor the change of passenger demand and provide appropriate sailing arrangements.”
We will post the Transport Department’s reply when it arrives.