Hong Kong Island


---Victoria Harbour

---Pokfulam / Route 7
---Pokfulam / Sandy Bay

---Aberdeen Harbour


- Lantau North
---Macau Bridge
---Lantau East - Route 10

- Lantau South
---Hei Ling Chau Prison

New Territories

---Sham Tseng
(Castle Peak Road)

---Shekou Bridge

---Tseung Kwan O
(formerly Junk Bay - proposed Western Coast Road)

Lamma Island
--- Yung Shue Wan

--- Kai Tak Redevelopment


Castle Peak Road - Sham Tseng
Copyright © 2003. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Thursday May 29 2003

Greens hail shelving of reclamation
by Chloe Lai

It will bring long-term benefits for the property market, says Centaline chief

Environmentalists yesterday welcomed government moves to stall three major reclamation projects.

'Finally the government is starting to make sense by cutting down on all the reclamation work,' said Winston Chu Ka-sun, chairman of the Society for the Protection of the Harbour.

Mr Chu, who has sought a judicial review to challenge the government's decision to reclaim 26 hectares of land on the Wan Chai harbour front, said the Sars outbreak had helped the administration recognise the importance of the environment.

The vice-chairwoman of the Conservancy Association, Betty Ho Siu-fong said she was glad the coastline of Western District, Tsuen Wan Bay and Sham Tseng had been spared.

'The other two projects did not gain as much attention as the one at the Western District, but I am happy to learn all the three will be put on hold,' she said.

The veteran town planner said she was not always opposed to reclamation.

'It depends on its impact to the environment and it also depends on the planning work involved, because reclamation does have the effect of creating more land and space for a community,' Ms Ho said.

'The problem of reclamation in Hong Kong is that it always involves the reclaiming of land for the construction of high-rise buildings and the planning usually fails to integrate the original community with the new land.'

Ms Ho said the southeast Kowloon project was an example of a reclamation project being essential to improving the environment of the area, given the polluted state of the nullah around the old Kai Tak airport.

The South China Morning Post reported yesterday that the government has decided to put on hold the three projects amid the sluggish property market and record budget deficit.

The projects were scheduled to create 126 hectares of land to provide housing for 114,000 people. The Western District work aroused the most attention, with residents keen to protect views of Victoria Harbour.

Meanwhile, the chairman of Centaline Property Agency, Shih Wing-ching, said the decision would have a positive impact on the property market within five years.

'One of the problems now is the imbalance between demand and supply,' Mr Shih said.

'We are facing a serious oversupply of flats.'

Property prices have dropped by more than 60 per cent since their peak in 1997.

The number of vacant flats flooding the market has reached 70,000.


Wednesday May 28 2003

Reclamation schemes put on hold
by Chloe Lai

Three reclamation projects have been put on hold by the government amid the sluggish property market and record budget deficit.

The projects affected are the Western District Development Scheme, the Tsuen Wan Bay reclamation works and the Sham Tseng project. The plans involved creating 126 hectares to provide housing for 114,000 people.

A government official said the administration did not now believe Hong Kong would need the extra land because the growth in population had slowed. The budget deficit - which is expected to reach $67.9 million for this financial year - and the flagging property market were the other reasons to put the projects on hold.

'Even if we need land resources in the future for accommodation, we still have plenty in the new towns, such as Kwu Tung and Hung Shui Kui in the north New Territories,' the official said.

According to the government's forecast, Hong Kong's population, which currently stands at 6.7 million, will grow to only 8.7 million by 2031 because of a low birth rate and an increasing number of people moving back to the mainland.

On Monday, plans to build a $4.9 billion headquarters for the government on the Tamar site were shelved to allow the administration time to review its priorities in the wake of Sars.

It is also believed the proposed Tseung Kwan O reclamation works for the construction of an artificial island for water sports will be abandoned.

And a major reclamation project in Wan Chai is the subject of a court challenge by the Society for the Protection of the Harbour.

The only major reclamation project still due to go ahead is the Southeast Kowloon development at the old Kai Tak airport.

A spokeswoman for the Housing, Planning and Lands Bureau said: 'The government is conducting a review of long-term housing and land supply, therefore it has no timetable on when to commence the reclamation projects.'

The Planning Department said that minor projects, such as one on Lamma to reclaim a hectare of land for building facilities, will go on.

Among the projects being put on hold, the Western District Development Scheme is the most controversial, with green groups having opposed the idea for years.

Under the plan, 79 hectares of land would be reclaimed off Kennedy Town to house 70,000 people.

Twenty-nine hectares of land would be reclaimed in Tsuen Wan to create homes for 30,000 people, and 18 hectares were intended to be formed at Sham Tseng waterfront to house 14,000 people.