Govt has plans for another huge Lantau reclamation

The central government is reported to be planning another massive reclamation project near Lantau, this time on Guishan Island off the island’s southern tip.

Officials are studying the feasibility of creating an artificial island around Guishan and leasing it to Hong Kong for public housing, HK01 reported this week, quoting unnamed pro-government sources.

The idea was put forward by DAB members of the Hong Kong delegation to China’s ‘two sessions’ last month, although it was originally proposed by Regina Ip’s New People’s Party in 2018.

It is one of a number of proposals being considered by communist party leaders to “support Hong Kong” after the implementation of the national security law, sources told HK01.

Those backing the idea believe the area west of lightly-inhabited Guishan is shallow water and suitable for reclamation, HK01 said.

“According to preliminary estimates, the shallow water area can provide at least an additional 1,000 hectares of land, which is sufficient for large-scale planning and development. If 20% of the land is used for residential purposes, it will provide 160,000 to 200,000 units”

The island lies about 2km southwest of Fan Lau, Lantau’s most southern point, and belongs to to Zhuhai city.

The DAB proposal suggests adopting the ‘Hengqin model,’ referring to a Macau real estate project on an island leased from the Zhuhai government.

Regina Ip told HK01 she hadn’t heard of the central government interest in Guishan, but says she had told mainland officials that it was a better idea than the Lantau Tomorrow Vision (LTV) scheme in Hong Kong central waters.

It is a much more modest proposal than the 1700-hectare LTV, the biggest project in Hong Kong’s history. It encompasses public and private housing and a new central business district and would connect with Hong Kong Island and the Shenzhen border by freeway and rail connections.

By contrast, the Guishan backers envisage connecting to Central by a “30 to 45 minute” ferry ride.

But that raises the spectre of another Tin Shui Wai, the remote new town in northwest New Territories plagued by unemployment and other social problems because of its distance from services and jobs.

The LTV scheme is estimated to cost HK$624 billion for the first 1200ha- stage alone. Legco is yet to approve a government request for HK$550 million for a feasibility study.

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