Tung Chung New Town Extension Project in good progress
The Government has been planning to further develop the Tung Chung New Town (TCNT) into a comprehensively planned new town with a larger population capacity and adequate local and regional community facilities. Earlier, the joint subcommittees of the Lantau Development Advisory Committee (LanDAC) and I visited the site of near-shore reclamation of the TCNT Extension (TCNTE). There, we were briefed by the Head of the Sustainable Lantau Office (SLO), Mr FONG Hok-shing, Michael, and his colleagues on the planning of the extension area and the latest works progress.
The first batch of land available for “piling and construction” next year
The TCNTE is the first new town extension project via reclamation since 2003, following the completion of the last new town development projects in Tseung Kwan O and Tung Chung by reclamation. It is also one of the major initiatives under the Government's multi-pronged approach to increase land supply. The reclamation works concerned commenced in the end of December 2017 and are making good progress in terms of time and financial control. We are confident that the first batch of land will be ready for handover to the Housing Department next year (2020), which means converting “potential sites” into “disposed sites” that it will become ready for “piling and construction” for public housing development. The whole reclamation and advance works are expected to be completed in 2023.
First population intake in 2024
The Head of the SLO, Mr Michael FONG, says the TCNTE project covers the areas on the eastern and western flanks of the existing TCNT. It will provide some 50 000 residential units (about 32 000 of which will be public housing units) and more than 800 000 square metres of commercial floor area, accommodating an additional population of over 140 000 and creating some 40 000 jobs. He expects that the first population intake can commence starting from the first quarter of 2024. There will be near-shore reclamation in Tung Chung East but not in Tung Chung West of any kind, whereas site formation and conservation works will be carried out.
Extension planning taking care of both development and conservation
The Chief Engineer of the SLO, Mr WONG Kwok-fai, Alfred, adds that the reclamation in Tung Chung East will create 130 hectares of land and provide some 40 000 residential units, which is expected to accommodate an additional population of some 120 000. The planning of the Tung Chung East reclamation takes care of both development and conservation, under which land will be reserved for constructing an approximately 4.9-kilometre-long waterfront promenade and providing 24-hectare landscaped open space, equivalent to about 1.25 times of the Victoria Park in size. Besides, the impact on the natural environment during construction will be minimised. For example, in the course of works, a non-dredged method named deep cement mixing is adopted for reclamation to reduce the impact on water quality and recycled materials are used as reclamation materials, such as inert construction materials composed of rock pieces, asphalt and rubbles.
First project adopting eco-shorelines
The Tung Chung East Extension area is also the Government’s first public works project adopting eco-shorelines, with an objective to enhance seabed biodiversity by providing a suitable habitat for marine species through mimicking the physical conditions of natural inter-tidal zones as far as practicable. At the future Tung Chung East waterfront, there will not only be just man-made concrete seawalls, but also with shorelines composed of mangroves and bio-blocks.
Mr Alfred WONG introduces three different types of eco-shorelines to members. He says that rocky eco-shorelines will be provided at locations relatively susceptible to wave actions or with insufficient sunlight, where bio-blocks with varying levels and sizes of cavities will be placed at inter-tidal zones to retain sea water during low tide conditions, with a view to providing appropriate habitats and shelters for marine species. Mangrove eco-shorelines will be provided at inter-tidal zones along seashores less susceptible to sea waves. As regards vertical eco-shorelines, they will feature with pots, cavities and eco-tiles, etc, providing uneven surfaces for easy attachment and growth of marine organisms smaller in size.
Pushing forward more conservation projects
In 2016, the LanDAC put forward various proposals on formulating the development vision, strategic positioning and planning principles for Lantau, followed by a series of public engagement activities. In the following year, the Government announced the future development principle of “Development in the North; Conservation for the South” for Lantau. The Deputy Head of the SLO (Planning and Conservation), Ms KIANG Kam-yin, Ginger, says that in parallel with development, SLO has been proactively taking forward conservation initiatives to enhance conservation of ecological habitats, history and culture, as well as the traditional rural characteristics of Lantau, such as the ongoing Ecological Study for Pui O, Shui Hau, Tai O and Neighbouring Areas, and the Environmental Education and Community Action projects, etc conducted with non-governmental organisations. In taking forward conservation initiatives, the Government attaches great importance to public engagement and invites participation of local communities.
Thanks to the hard work of our colleagues, the TCNTE has achieved recognition from various organisations. Last year, the project won the Bronze Award of the Construction Industry Council’s Sustainable Construction Award. This year, the design of the Tung Chung East waterfront was awarded the Grand Award of the Hong Kong Institute of Urban Design Awards for its water-friendly and eco-friendly design. I am very pleased about having this site visit with members of the joint subcommittees and further exchange the views on future planning and development. This project marks the Government's determination to do its best to increase land supply. I look forward to the timely completion of the reclamation works so as to provide land for meeting the housing, economic and social development needs in Hong Kong.
3 November, 2019