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More on land supply and private residential market (13/9/2015)

In My Blog in mid-July, I shared some of my observations on the private residential market, including a foreseeable substantial increase of housing supply in the coming few years; a narrowing gap between the prices of first-hand and second-hand flats or, in some cases, first-hand flats cheaper than second-hand flats in the same district; developers actively putting up their first-hand flats for sale, and intensifying competition in the property market. My intention was to give the public a more comprehensive picture of the private residential property market, which has undergone some fundamental changes due to the current term government’s efforts to increase land supply over the last few years. At the same time, I also wished to make clear some concepts to avoid misunderstanding of certain news reports......

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Remembering history and treasuring peace (6/9/2015)

Last Thursday, both the Central People’s Government and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government organised activities to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese people’s war of resistance. Warfare may seem far away and unfamiliar to the young people of Hong Kong today, but the civilians and veterans who experienced the Japanese invasion and occupation can hardly hide their pain when reminded of those bleak days. In our city, there are still many monuments and buildings related to this part of history, standing silently and telling us the stories of those times. I would like to introduce a couple of these monuments and buildings to you, and revisit some episodes of history together.....

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WSD: total dedication to the public (30/8/2015)

The Government is extremely concerned about the discovery of excessive amounts of lead in the drinking water of some public housing estates since early last month, and has taken follow-up actions and contingency measures to deal with the issue using a multi-pronged approach. In the past few weeks our colleagues in the Water Supplies Department (WSD) have been fully devoted to the task of providing a temporary water supply for the affected residents. They have worked with the Housing Department in a timely manner to set up water wagons and temporary water tanks at suitable locations, and laid down temporary standpipes on the ground floors of the affected housing estates to facilitate water collection by residents. In addition, the WSD also followed the Government’s move to gradually expand the coverage of water sampling tests in public housing estates, and has taken more than 2 800 drinking water samples for testing so far. Here, I would like to point out that water sampling has to follow stringent procedures to ensure the accuracy of the results......

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Our professional and sophisticated “Underground Order” (23/8/2015)

As a densely populated international city, Hong Kong needs not only good urban planning above the ground, but also large-scale and sophisticated underground facilities to maintain safe and effective operation of our city. These underground facilities include pipelines serving various functions, such as conveying potable water and flushing water, stormwater drainage, and sewage treatment and disposal. Moreover, there are also innovative underground works to stabilise our slopes and to increase our land resources through rock cavern and underground space development. While we may not see these underground pipelines or facilities very often in our daily lives, they are just like the blood vessels in our bodies and quietly support the functioning of our city......

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Utilising industrial land as the times require (16/8/2015)

Hong Kong’s manufacturing and light industry boom in the 1970s and 80s coincided with our flourishing economy at the time, as well as with the growth of a whole generation of Hongkongers. With Hong Kong’s transformation in economic structure, the focus of our economic activities has shifted from a conventional manufacturing to a service sector base. Nonetheless, many industrial buildings in old industrial areas are still providing space for different industrial-related economic activities. Over the past decade or so, we have been reviewing these precious land resources, and some of these “Industrial” (“I”) areas (particularly those located in metro areas) have been rezoned to “Other Specified Uses” annotated “Business” (“OU(B)”) or residential uses to facilitate the transformation of old industrial areas as required today. Privately owned industrial buildings in old industrial areas still take up most of the gross floor area (GFA) among the various types of buildings that are used for economic activities in Hong Kong......

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