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LCQ5: Lantau Development Advisory Committee

Following is a question by the Hon Frederick Fung and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, in the Legislative Council today (May 7):

Question:

The Government set up the Lantau Development Advisory Committee (LanDAC) at the beginning of this year. Although LanDAC adopted a system of declaration of interests at its first meeting held on March 8, information on the interests declared by its members has not yet been made public to date. Some groups are concerned that there are problems of potential conflicts of interests as some members of LanDAC are associated with developers that have lands on Lantau Island. Regarding the work of LanDAC and declaration of interests by its members, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the progress of the declaration of interests by LanDAC members; what other mechanisms, apart from the system of declaration of interests, that LanDAC has in place to ensure that members with potential conflicts of interests will abstain from the discussions and voting on related agenda items;

(2) of the concepts and objectives of LanDAC with regard to the development and conservation of Lantau Island, and whether it will continue to adopt the planning approach contained in the "Concept Plan for Lantau" published by the Government in 2007, i.e. one which balances the development and conservation needs by focusing urban development and major economic infrastructure in North Lantau while protecting the natural environment of Lantau Island; and

(3) whether the Government will review the objectives, operation and composition of LanDAC, and whether it will adopt a broad and neutral approach in collating public views on the development of Lantau Island, so that conservation and sustainable development of Lantau Island will be taken into consideration; if it will not, of the reasons for that?

Reply:

President,

With the successive completion of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) and other major transport infrastructure projects in the years ahead, Lantau will become a key transport infrastructure hub linking Hong Kong, Macao and western Pearl River Delta (PRD), boosting its development potential and playing a strategic role in the sustainable development of Hong Kong. Besides, given its abundant ecological resources and cultural heritage as well as various tourist attractions, Lantau is suitable for the integrated development in conservation, leisure and tourism. In this connection, the Chief Executive has established the Lantau Development Advisory Committee (LanDAC) to formulate the long-term development strategy of Lantau. In collaboration with the relevant bureaux, the Secretary for Development will solicit concrete proposals through the LanDAC to capitalise on the benefits brought by various major infrastructures and maximise the development potential of Lantau and adjacent areas while striking a balance between development and conservation, thereby contributing significantly to the sustainable development of Hong Kong in social, environmental and economic aspects.

The Committee established its house rules, including the system of declaration of interests, at its first meeting on March 8. The discussion paper that set out the house rules has been uploaded onto the webpage of the Development Bureau.

My reply to the three parts of the question is as follows:

(1) The LanDAC established a system of declaration of interests for its Members at the meeting on March 8. The Members agreed to adopt a system more stringent than those of similar advisory committees. The system covers two areas. In the first place, the Members are required to complete the "Registration of Interests" form provided by the Secretariat, to declare any interests relating to Lantau or the adjacent islands/areas within the designated boundary. All Members have completed and submitted the "Registration of Interests" forms. The checking of the forms is scheduled for completion this week and they will be available for public inspection by then. Secondly, if Members have any pecuniary or personal interests in individual agenda items of the LanDAC, they are required to declare such interests for the Chairman to decide whether it is appropriate for the Members concerned to discuss the respective agenda items. All declarations of interests related to the individual agenda items, together with the names of the Members concerned, will be recorded in the minutes of meetings, which will also be uploaded onto the webpage of the Development Bureau for public inspection.

(2) With various strategic major transport infrastructure projects (including Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link) in Lantau starting implementation successively in recent years, it is anticipated that Lantau will become the regional transport-cum-economic hub connecting Hong Kong, Macao and the western PRD and bringing social and economic development opportunities for Hong Kong. In view of this, the LanDAC will assist in reviewing the overall development direction of Lantau including that "Revised Concept Plan for Lantau" published in 2007, and in preparing the economic and community development strategy for Lantau under the principle of balancing land development and nature conservation. The principle of sustainable development and conservation has been fully reflected in the terms of reference of the LanDAC (www.devb.gov.hk/en/boards_and_committees/landac/terms_of_reference/index.html).

(3) The development of Lantau is a strategic project for Hong Kong. We need to solicit views from the community sectors, plan ahead with vision, and study and take forward the development and conservation of Lantau in scientific and objective manners. As such, composition of the LanDAC covers wide spectrum of the community and includes, other than representatives of bureaux and departments, relevant professionals, representatives of trade associations, academics, councilors and members from local areas. With their rich experience and comprehensive knowledge in the relevant professions/sectors and local communities, they can actively make contribution to the formulation of development strategy of Lantau under the principles of balancing sustainable development and conservation as well as meeting the needs of local community.

We are well aware of the keen public concerns about the work of the LanDAC and will upload the agendas, those discussion papers that can be made public and minutes of meetings etc. of the LanDAC onto the webpage of the Development Bureau for public inspection.  Members of public may also express their views on the development of Lantau and the work of the LanDAC to the Development Bureau. The Secretariat will forward them to the LanDAC for due consideration.

Ends/Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:23

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