Land task force chief urges caution on country park development

The chairman of the land supply task force has warned on the need to “proceed with caution” in building homes in country parks.

Speaking after the task force’s latest meeting, Stanley Wong said the idea needs to meet higher thresholds than existing statutory requirements, RTHK reported.

He said the government “had not formed a view on whether or how to develop country parks” and would “leave it to the public engagement” to see the level of support.

However, despite Wong’s careful words, the task force has already mapped out the process in which country parks can be turned into housing:

Source: Task Force on Land Supply

The previous Chief Executive, CY Leung, asked a non-profit developer, the Housing Society, to evaluate two possible park locations as possible sites for housing development. The Housing Society expects to make a preliminary report as early as Q2 2019.

After the meeting, Wong accepted a petition from 14 local green groups, including Greenpeace, Designing Hong Kong, Trailwatch and LBA.

They said in a statement that the Country Parks Ordinance forbids development in the city’s parks, and called on the government to re-examine the use of idle land, brownfields land and land used by golf and other private clubs to meet housing needs.

One clear decision the task force seems to made is to have rejected a proposal to fill in Plover Cove Reservoir for housing.

A paper submitted to the group  pointed out that as the site was “located at an area of relatively high ecological and conservation value and away from major transport infrastructures, it did not conform with” the city’s planning framework.

Photo: Stanley Wong meets green group representatives (Greenpeace Hong Kong)

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