The Task Force on Land Supply (Task Force) held its third meeting today (November 7). The meeting discussed the optimal use and management of vacant government sites, and two other items relating to the creation of new land resources, namely "Reclamation outside Victoria Harbour" and "Making Use of Rock Caverns and Underground Space".
The Task Force Chairman, Mr Stanley Wong, said the Task Force noted that about 6 percent of the total land area of Hong Kong is formed by reclamations. However, there has not been any large-scale reclamation project since 2000s. The Task Force agreed that reclamation can on one hand create a large piece of new land for comprehensive planning of a new community to better cater for the daily needs of people, while providing, on the other, space for relocating special industries or "Not-in-My-Backyard" facilities away from the urban areas, thereby freeing up land for other uses. Acknowledging that reclamation is one of the most suitable and practical ways to build up a land reserve, members considered that potential environmental impact arising from reclamations should be properly addressed.
As regards making use of rock caverns and underground space, the Task Force Vice-chairman, Dr Greg Wong, said the Task Force agreed that rock caverns and underground space can provide solution space for suitable public facilities or infrastructures. Optimal use of these less visible land resources may offer new opportunities for Hong Kong's planning and development. However, development of rock caverns and underground space is costly and takes time. Besides, the space so provided is generally not suitable for residential use, and may not be suitable for high-density development as a land supply source. Nevertheless, rock caverns and underground space can assist the relocation of certain at-grade facilities, which will indirectly increase the amount of surface land for development in the long run.
On vacant government sites, Dr Wong said, "The Government's land use reviews over the past few years have reviewed the sites under short term tenancy (STT) and temporary government land allocation (TGLA). Rezoning proposals have been made for those with housing development potential. Most of the remaining STT and TGLA sites may not be suitable for high-density development as one of the major land supply options given their nature. Members also noted that to optimise land utilisation, the Government will put those sites currently without any long-term use or development programme to different short-term uses, and is planning to make more relevant information publicly available, including more transparent publication of information on the some 900 vacant government sites available for greening and community uses, so as to facilitate non-governmental organisations' application for the use of such sites."
The Task Force will continue to examine other different land supply options in the coming few months.
The discussion papers of this meeting have been uploaded onto the Development Bureau’s website:http://www.devb.gov.hk/en/boards_and_committees/task_force_on_land_supply/index.html
Ends/Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Issued at HKT 20:43