Citizens group assails land task force on reclamation

A non-government group has attacked the new government land task force, saying it has already breached its commitment to examine all of the city’s land supply options.

The Citizens Task Force on Land Resources, an independent group created as a civil society counterpart to the government body, says when established the task force promised it would have no pre-conceived ideas about land supply options and would consult widely.

But in its first public statement earlier this week, the government committee expressed its support for the East Lantau Metropolis (ELM) and five other reclamation projects, including two on Lantau.

Task force chairman Stanley Wong Yuen-fai had already declared land reclamation as “one of the most appropriate and practical ways of increasing land supply,” with public consultations going ahead next year, the citizens group said in a statement.

It said the task force had ignored other means of adding to the land supply, including 1300ha of brownfield land, more than 800ha of short-term lease land, 3300ha of temporary government land and 140ha of vacant land government sites.

It warned that the 1000ha ELM in the central waters between Lantau and Hong Kong Island involved complex economic, environmental and technical considerations and was already “a huge controversy” in the community, adding:

[We] cannot imagine how the task force can agree on such a huge and complex reclamation plan in such a short period of time

Members of the citizens group include legislators Eddie Chu and Andrew Wan, Paul Zimmerman from Designing Hong Kong, academics, engineers and representatives of other NGOs.

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