SDEV speaks to the media

Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Development, Mr Michael Wong, at a media session after attending a radio programme today (October 20):

Reporter: Yesterday a green group has released a study about a finding of butterflies near Tai Lam Country Park, and they said they found more than 100 rare butterflies there. Would that in any way change the Government's plan, or possible plan, to develop housing in that area?

Secretary for Development: It's too early to speculate. From the Government's perspective, we have no firm plan to develop any land at the country park concerned yet. There is no firm plan yet. What is being done at this stage is the Housing Society has been asked to conduct a study. They will be starting the study sometime next year, and the study is expected to take over a year. It's because you do need to take data for four seasons. And I understand that in the course of the study, the Housing Society will actually engage the public, probably including the organisation which conducted the study that you have just referred to. So at this stage, there is no firm view yet. A lot will depend on the outcome of the study. And at the end of the day, we have to balance ecological and environmental concerns with society's need for more public housing, and in this particular case, elderly housing. We also have to consider whether any adverse environmental or ecological impact, if any, can be mitigated suitably. So a lot still hangs in the air, but we will look at the study outcome objectively and fairly.

Reporter: The study also found 20 hectares of brownfield sites near Tai Lam Country Park. Is that something that the Government will look at?

Secretary for Development: The Government is always prepared to tackle brownfield sites. But brownfield sites have to be tackled in a wholesome and comprehensive manner, and that's why as I said in my earlier interview that if you look at the new development areas that we are working on, Fanling North, Kwu Tung North, Hung Shui Kiu, Yuen Long South, and in the future New Territories North, together we will tackle over 500 hectares of brownfield sites. That's against a total of roughly 1,300 hectares of brownfield sites, so you can see the determination. But it will be difficult to simply talk about a particular site without the necessary background of the study. I hope you understand.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Friday, October 20, 2017
Issued at HKT 12:03