Following is a question by the Dr Hon Fernando Cheung and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, in the Legislative Council today (July 6):
The Chief Executive announced in the 2014 Policy Address that the Government would explore ways to develop the eastern waters off Lantau Island and neighbouring areas with a view to developing an East Lantau Metropolis ("ELM") for accommodating new population and serving as the third core business district of Hong Kong. Subsequently, the Lantau Development Advisory Committee proposed to carry out reclamation in the waters near Kau Yi Chau and Hei Ling Chau Typhoon Shelter in order to develop ELM. Moreover, the public engagement exercise for the proposed development strategy for Lantau was completed at the end of April this year. The Development Bureau has indicated that after consolidating opinions from the public and the relevant information, a blueprint for Lantau development is expected to be published at the end of this year. On the other hand, during the inspection visit of a Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee cum Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress ("the Chairman") to Hong Kong last month, the Secretary for Development made use of a model to brief the Chairman on the blueprint for Lantau development. It has been reported that the components of the land to be reclaimed near Kau Yi Chau and Hei Ling Chau were included in the model, with roads and railways connecting the reclaimed land to Mui Wo. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) when the aforesaid model was made; of the costs and time involved in the production of the model;
(2) whether the model was displayed in the aforesaid public engagement exercise; if so, of the dates and venues concerned; if not, the reasons for that;
(3) as the authorities have planned to publish the blueprint for Lantau development at the end of this year and officials of the Development Bureau have repeatedly emphasised that the ELM project is merely a preliminary concept with no finalised plan on the reclamation site and area, of the reasons why the Secretary for Development, under such circumstances, had included the components of the land to be reclaimed near Kau Yi Chau and Hei Ling Chau in the model he used for briefing the Chairman; whether such an act reflects that the Development Bureau has in fact drawn up an ELM draft in mind; if so, of the details;
(4) given that, according to the minutes of a meeting of the Islands District Council held on February 1 this year, the Development Bureau pointed out that the area of reclamation near Kau Yi Chau would be about 600 to 800 hectares but further studies were necessary before it could ascertain the actual reclamation site and area, of the justifications and information based on which the Development Bureau initially came up with the aforesaid reclamation site and area for the production of the relevant components in the model; and
(5) of the location where the model is currently placed; whether the authorities will make the model available for public viewing; if they will, of the application procedure for viewing?
During the visit of the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress to the Development Bureau in May 2016, we briefed him on the major work of the Development Bureau including the major preliminary proposals on Lantau Development. The proposals concerned were formulated by the Lantau Development Advisory Committee (LanDAC) and were stated in the First-term Work Report of the LanDAC submitted to the Chief Executive in early 2016.
The production of the physical model concerned was completed in mid-May 2016. The model has facilitated a clear introduction of the preliminary development concepts of Lantau during the above visit, and can also be viewed by the public by appointment.
The following is the reply to the Dr Hon Fernando Cheung's question:
(1) The physical model was made during mid-April to mid-May 2016 and the production cost was about HK$280,000.
(2) The physical model was not shown in the Public Engagement Exercise of Lantau Development from January to April 2016 as its production was finished in mid-May 2016. However, to enable the public to fully understand the overall proposed development strategy for Lantau, we provided at the aforementioned exercise various information, including the detailed Public Engagement Digest and display boards, etc., and to brief them in detail with the aid of presentation slides. The above information has contained the proposals related to spatial planning concept and strategic traffic and transport infrastructure that are shown in the physical model.
Members of the public can view the physical model by appointment with details given in part (5) of this reply.
(3) The proposals on the spatial planning, land use, and strategic traffic and transport infrastructure for Lantau shown in the model completely tally with those set out in the Public Engagement Digest on Lantau Development. The Secretary for Development, in his blog published on May 22, has already stressed and clarified publicly that the concept of Lantau Development shown in the model (including the East Lantau Metropolis project) was not a finalised proposal. There is no need for the public to worry too much.
(4) The reclamation location and area near Kau Yi Chau shown in the model are conceptual in nature. The specific proposal of the project could only be confirmed after further studies. As a matter of fact, the study related to the artificial islands in central waters could only commence after funding approval by the Legislative Council.
(5) The model is now placed at the Hong Kong Island and Islands Development Office of the Civil Engineering and Development Department for public viewing by appointment. Details of the arrangement have been published at the website of Lantau Development (www.landac.hk/en/future-lantau/physical-model-display).
Ends/Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Issued at HKT 11:43