Task Force on Land Supply holds fifth meeting

The Task Force on Land Supply (Task Force) held its fifth meeting today (December 5). The meeting discussed two issues, namely developing the periphery of country parks and reclaiming the reservoirs.
The Task Force Chairman, Mr Stanley Wong, said the Task Force discussed the suggestion of allocating certain areas in country parks as one of the land supply sources, as well as some possible perspectives in examining this issue. The Task Force considered that country parks, which constitute about 40 per cent of the land area of Hong Kong, are our precious assets for their leisure, recreation, conservation and outdoor education values. The community must strike a balance between development and conservation needs when considering whether to develop any part of country parks as a possible land supply option.
Mr Wong said that the Task Force noted the studies on land on the periphery of country parks to be undertaken by the Hong Kong Housing Society soon, and that the Government has not formed any view on whether or how to develop country parks. Whether individual areas in country parks could be developed would be subject to various detailed studies on ecology, environment, development potential, etc. Hence, at this stage and for the upcoming public engagement, it would be difficult to indicate simply support or otherwise to the suggestion. On the contrary, the question to be put forward for discussion should be whether developing parts of the country parks to increase land supply is worthy of exploration, and what considerations are relevant in the process.
Mr Wong emphasised that the Task Force at present only explored the relevant principles and perspectives to be considered as mentioned in the paper, so as to facilitate future public engagement and discussion in the community.
On reclaiming the reservoirs, the Task Force Vice-chairman, Dr Greg Wong, said most of the reservoirs in Hong Kong are within country parks, and hence all the relevant considerations in respect of developing country parks shall also apply to the suggestion of reclaiming the reservoirs. In addition, reservoirs play a strategically important role in Hong Kong's water supply. The proposed reclamation of reservoirs will have long-term impact on the stability of water supply and the water supply arrangement in Hong Kong. Before taking forward the suggestion, its corresponding mitigation measures and the operation mode of raw water supply must be carefully assessed and considered.
Dr Wong said, "As reclaiming the reservoirs will likely affect the environment including the sites with archaeological and conservation values, as well as the important ecology, a detailed environmental impact assessment must be conducted."
In view of the need to carry out various studies for the two options, members of the Task Force generally considered that even with support from the community, the suggestions could only be long-term land supply options.
The Task Force will continue to examine other different land supply options.
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, December 5, 2017
Issued at HKT 22:21