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Government responds to pan-democrats' request to postpone funding application for KTN/FLN NDAs advance site formation and engineering infrastructure works

Regarding the request of some pan-democratic Legislative Council (LegCo) members made to the Government today (June 17) to postpone the funding application for the advance site formation and engineering infrastructure works at Kwu Tung North (KTN) new development area and Fanling North (FLN) new development area (NDAs), a Government spokesman reiterates that the two new NDAs are not only new generation extensions to the new towns planned for Hong Kong people, but also an important source of housing and land supply for Hong Kong in the medium and long term.

The NDAs will provide approximately 60 000 residential units in total, of which 60 per cent (about 36 000 units) will be public rental housing (PRH) or Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) , whereas about 24 000 units will be private housing units. They are expected to accommodate approximately 175 000 additional population and provide around 37 000 job opportunities. According to the current schedule, the first batch of approximately 16 000 units will be completed in stages starting from 2023, of which 13 000 units are PRH or HOS, including units for locally affected residents who qualify for rehousing.

Legislators should have noted that the request of those people protesting against the funding application in the past two weeks is for "no demolition and no clearance", which is tantamount to asking for the withdrawal of the funding application. The housing and land supply in Hong Kong continues to be tight. For the interest of the society and the public as a whole, the Government will not and cannot agree to postponing the funding application. On the details of the implementation of this large project, the spokesman said that there would still be scope for discussion. The present application to the LegCo is only for the funds required for advance works at the NDAs, including detailed design of the infrastructure and ground investigation works. The funding application for the main works is yet to be submitted to the LegCo.

The concerns of the affected stakeholders including existing local residents, business operators and farmers are well understood. Under the principles of fairness and reasonableness and with public interest in mind, the Government will continue to explore more appropriate packages for compensation and clearance. We shall take care of the interests of the local residents and maintain close liaison with the affected parties after the LegCo's approval of funding.

The NDAs were originated from the North East New Territories New Development Areas Planning and Engineering Study commissioned in 2008. Three stages of public engagement activities and extensive consultation were conducted during the study to gauge public views. Many legislators agreed that the development should be implemented as soon as possible when it was submitted to the LegCo Panel on Development in June 2012. When the Development Bureau announced the result of the study in July 2013, the plan has been amended substantially in response to the aspirations of members of the public and stakeholders. We have consulted the LegCo Panel on Development and the Public Works Subcommittee of the Finance Committee (FC) on February 25 and March 19 this year respectively, and the North District Council on December 12 last year. We have obtained their support to the funding application. The funding application thus fully conforms with the relevant LegCo procedures.

The Government would like to appeal to legislators not to delay the deliberation on the funding application just because of the drastic actions of some people and to pass the funding application for the advance site formation and engineering infrastructure works at the FC meeting to be held this Friday.

Ends/Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Issued at HKT 22:56