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LCQ6: Economic development of Lantau Island and opportunities to be brought about by Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area

Following is a question by the Hon Jimmy Ng and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Eric Ma, in the Legislative Council today (May 17):

Question:

According to "Hong Kong 2030+: Towards a Planning Vision and Strategy Transcending 2030" published by the Government in December last year, Lantau Island will become the focal point of Hong Kong's future development. Moreover, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB), upon its commissioning, will link up Lantau Island and other cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area (Bay Area) which is under planning. As such, the industrial and commercial sectors have great concern for the economic development of Lantau Island as well as the opportunities to be brought about by the Bay Area. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

 (1) given that some Hong Kong people are worried that Hong Kong will lose its autonomy if it participates in the economic planning of the adjacent regions, but will be marginalised if it does not, whether the Government has consulted and lobbied the authorities of neighbouring cities on the planning of the Bay Area with a view to securing for Hong Kong a positioning which is conducive to its long-term development, and avoiding vicious competition between Hong Kong and its neighbouring cities; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;
 
(2) given that the Government has pointed out that Lantau Island will become the confluence of the Greater Pearl River Delta and the "double gateway" of Hong Kong, and some members of the commercial sector consider that the Bay Area is a brand and Lantau Island is the brand of brands possessing immense economic value, whether the Government will, having regard to the planning of the Bay Area and leveraging on the increasingly comprehensive and well connected transport network of Lantau Island, further revise the industry planning and market positioning of Lantau Island, such as developing high value-added logistics and storage industries and establishing a Hong Kong brand industrial park integrating manufacturing, retail and tourism industries; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(3) given that HZMB is scheduled for completion at the end of this year, and the Humen Second Bridge and the Shenzhen-Zhongshan estuary passage are expected to be commissioned in 2019 and 2023 respectively, and these three transport infrastructures, upon their commissioning, can boost the economy of Pearl River East, and such effect generated therefrom will radiate to Pearl River West, whether the Government has, in respect of these three infrastructures, conducted any integrated assessment on their daily throughputs, the economic benefits to be generated and the regional collaboration opportunities arising; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply:

President,

Having consulted the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, the Transport and Housing Bureau and the Planning Department (PlanD), my reply to the various parts of the question is as follows:
 
(1) The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government will participate in the drawing up of the development plan for a city cluster in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area (the Bay Area development plan) in accordance with the principle of "one country, two systems". In this connection, the HKSAR Government believes that Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau should coordinate efforts and complement each other's advantages. Through consensus-building, various cities within the Bay Area could distinguish their respective development positioning, with a view to developing the entire Bay Area into a more globally competitive world-class city cluster.
 
(2) Hong Kong is an international city. Our development has all along had strong relationship with the neighbouring region (including cities in the Guangdong Pearl River Delta (PRD) Region) in terms of culture, people movement, logistics and capital flow, etc. Indeed, it has become a global megatrend that mega-city regions are the nexus of economic growth and as a model of city development. Examples are the San Francisco Bay Area and New York Bay Area in the United States, as well as Tokyo Bay in Japan. The Development Bureau and PlanD are responsible for the work relating to land planning, including the strategic planning and conceptual spatial framework under the "Hong Kong 2030+: Towards a Planning Vision and Strategy Transcending 2030" ("Hong Kong 2030+"), as well as the blueprint for development and conservation of Lantau anticipated to be published later this year, the formulation and consultation of which have commenced since 2015. Both have taken into consideration Hong Kong’s positioning in the regional development.

Leveraging the existing strategic infrastructures and those under planning and construction including the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao-Bridge (HZMB), the Hong Kong International Airport and the Three-Runway System, the strategic location of Lantau in the Greater PRD will be further elevated. Lantau will become the "double gateway" of Hong Kong to the world and Greater PRD. In formulating the conceptual spatial framework under "Hong Kong 2030+" as well as the blueprint for development and conservation of Lantau which will be published later this year, we have taken into consideration the geographical advantages and development opportunities of Lantau, and the proposed market positioning of the major economic land uses in North Lantau.

According to "Hong Kong 2030+", a number of major commercial developments in North Lantau including the Airport North Commercial District, Topside Development at Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities Island of HZMB, Tung Chung New Town Extension, the Siu Ho Wan and Sunny Bay Developments, together with Tuen Mun West and Hung Shui Kiu New Development Area (NDA), will form the Western Economic Corridor to create greater synergy. This corridor will also serve as a new platform for economic growth. The proposed East Lantau Metropolis will further reinforce the development of this corridor. The developments on Lantau can provide land for various uses such as housing, business, retail, hotel, recreation and tourism, high value-added modern logistics, warehouse, etc. In the next stage of detailed planning for strengthening the economic land uses along the northern shore of Lantau, we will further study the proposed "Hong Kong Branding Industries Park" having regard to considerations such as compatibility with the surrounding land uses, environmental and traffic impacts, as well as market responses, economic benefits and financial arrangements, etc.

Apart from North Lantau, the developments of Northwest New Territories (NWNT) and northern parts of the New Territories (NT) are also complementing the Bay Area development plan. The Hung Shui Kiu NDA under planning is located between three new towns, namely Tuen Mun, Tin Shui Wai and Yuen Long. It is also located at the landing point of the Shenzhen Bay Bridge and connected with the existing New Territories Circular Road and West Rail, as well as the Tuen Mun - Chek Lap Kok Link in the south. The NDA will be developed as the Regional Economic and Civic Hub of NWNT in future. Apart from being a major source of housing land supply providing 61 000 flats, it will provide many sites for economic development, which is estimated to provide about 6.4 million square metres of commercial and industrial gross floor area. "Hong Kong 2030+" also proposed the New Territories North as a strategic growth area, utilising the potential developable areas in the northern part of NT for the future spatial development of Hong Kong. Both of the above planning would fully leverage the advantageous geographical location of NWNT and northern part of the NT so as to seize the future development opportunities.

(3)­ The HKSAR Government has not conducted any comprehensive assessment on the daily traffic flow, economic benefits and opportunities for economic cooperation arising from the Shenzhen-Zhongshan cross-river expressway and Humen Second Bridge as they involve various technical and policy details of different parties. We will continue to monitor the development of regional transport infrastructure and examine their potential impact on Hong Kong.

As regards the HZMB, according to the Feasibility Study of the HZMB project completed in 2008, upon the initial stage of the commissioning of the HZMB, the traffic flow is expected to be 9 200 to 14 000 vehicles per day. There are abundant human and land resources in the West PRD. Upon the commissioning of the HZMB, the travelling time between Hong Kong and the West PRD can be greatly reduced. This could provide a great deal of opportunities for trades in Hong Kong to expand their business in the Mainland, which is beneficial to various sectors including tourism, finance, commerce and logistics, etc. of the two sides.

Ends/Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Issued at HKT 14:30

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