Following is a question by the Hon Wu Chi-wai and a reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, in the Legislative Council today (October 14):
Last month, the Lantau Development Advisory Committee (LanDA) endorsed the overall spatial planning and conservation concepts as well as the proposed recreation, tourism and social development strategies for Lantau Island (Lantau development proposals). The Lantau development proposals include: developing the East Lantau Metropolis which can accommodate a population of 400 000 to 700 000, thereby increasing the population of Lantau Island to about 1 million; constructing roads to connect Mui Wo and the future North Lantau development areas; and exploring the reprovisioning of the correctional facilities at Hei Ling Chau as well as the consolidation and relocation of other correctional facilities on Lantau Island, in order to release some of the penal sites for residential, recreational or other purposes. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the data or premise based on which the Government put forward the proposal of increasing the future population of Lantau Island to about 1 million; given that the authorities have told LanDAC that the country parks and the southern part of Lantau Island would be reserved for conservation and recreational purposes, and yet the aforesaid roads proposed to be constructed will significantly increase the traffic flow on Lantau Island, whether the authorities have assessed if the construction of such roads will run contrary to the concept of conserving South Lantau; if they have assessed, of the outcome; given that a member of LanDAC proposed at its meeting in March this year that the Shek Pik Reservoir be reclaimed to provide land for housing development and to improve the traffic on Lantau Island, of the Government's specific response to this proposal;
(b) whether the Government will review the distribution and planning of the correctional facilities throughout Hong Kong before drawing up plans for the consolidation and relocation of the correctional facilities on Lantau Island; whether it has plans to build a large-scale prison somewhere on Lantau Island for relocating the existing correctional facilities on the island; if it has such plans, given that the Government shelved in October 2004 the project for building a large-scale prison at Hei Ling Chau due to strong public objection, of the Government's justifications to persuade the public nowadays to consent to the building of a large-scale prison on Lantau Island; and
(c) whether the Government intends to replace the Revised Concept Plan for Lantau (Concept Plan), which was formulated in 2007 after public consultation, by the Lantau development proposals; if it does, given that the development concepts set out in the Concept Plan were that "the development of major economic infrastructure and tourism uses should focus on North Lantau ... whereas the rest of Lantau should be preserved for nature conservation and environmentally sustainable recreational uses", why the Government revised the Concept Plan substantially?
According to the planning background, latest development advantages and constraints of Lantau as well as the overall strategic planning direction of Hong Kong, the Lanatu Development Advisory Committee (LanDAC) has formulated the strategic positioning, planning vision and direction of Lantau and drawn up a set of "Overall Spatial Planning and Conservation Concepts for Lantau" (the Concepts).
The Concepts cover four major regions (please refer to Plans 1 and 2 attached):
(1) The Northern Lantau Corridor focusing on economic and housing developments to create synergy and economies of scale;
(2) The North-eastern Lantau Node for leisure, entertainment and tourism through reclamation at Sunny Bay and extension of Hong Kong Disneyland;
(3) The East Lantau Metropolis (ELM) as a strategic growth area with a core business district by capitalising on the geographical advantages of the central waters being close to Hong Kong Island; and
(4) The predominant part of Lantau for conservation, leisure, cultural and green tourism.
My reply to the three parts of Hon Wu's question is as follows:
(a) According to initial analysis and making reference to the scale of existing new towns, the Concepts initially estimated that the ELM may have potential to accommodate a population of about 400,000 to 700,000 which would create economies of scale and critical mass for the population and economic activities. If the existing and planned population of about 300,000 for Lantau are also added, it is estimated that the population of Lantau could be increased at most up to near 1 million in the long term. However, we must emphasise that this estimation on capacity was made on the assumption that all the proposed development projects included in the Concepts would be implemented after being confirmed by detailed feasibility studies as feasible and endorsed by the society. As the actual uses, development scale, feasibility and implementation arrangement of each proposed development project have yet to be studied, the estimate is only a set of reference figures for the long-term development of Lantau. It is one of the possible options for source of land supply beyond 2030 for Hong Kong as a whole. At the same time, the Government has also commenced the preliminary feasibility study on development of the northern area of New Territories as another possible option for the consideration of the society.
The Concepts have suggested a set of strategic transport network to complement the development proposals, especially the ELM. However, since the proposed transport network is only at a preliminary conceptual stage, detailed studies will be conducted after the feasibility of concerned development proposals and future development directions of Lantau are studied and confirmed. The studies will comply with the conservation principles and planning directions under the Concepts, and will not affect the planning direction of south Lantau for conservation, leisure, culture and green tourism.
The Shek Pik Reservoir, which falls within the South Lantau Country Park, collects about 12 per cent of total rainwater gathered in Hong Kong. As the major source of local freshwater supply, the Shek Pik Reservoir is the third largest storage capacity reservoir in Hong Kong supplying freshwater for Lantau, Hong Kong Island, Peng Chau, Cheung Chau and Hei Ling Chau. Moreover, the Shek Pik Reservoir is located in remote area, and the existing transport and infrastructure facilities are limited. As such, we consider it not appropriate to fill up the Shek Pik Reservoir for land development.
(b) The idea of consolidating and relocating the correctional facilities at Lantau and Hei Ling Chau is put forth in the Concepts. Apart from the proposed relocation of the scattered correctional facilities at Hei Ling Chau to match with the development of the ELM, based on the planning principle of optimising the use of land occupied by existing government facilities, we will study if it is possible to consolidate and relocate the correctional facilities spreading over the other parts of Lantau to release land for tourism, recreational, residential and other uses. This idea is still at a preliminary conceptual stage, the actual details including the correctional facilities to be consolidated, possible locations for re-provisioning, implementation framework and the future uses of the vacated sites etc., would be subject to further study. The idea of consolidating and relocating correctional facilities has no association with the past proposal from the Government to construct a prison complex at Hei Ling Chau, and the Government has no plan to review together the distribution and planning of all correctional facilities in the territory.
(c) The Government promulgated the "Revised Concept Plan for Lantau" (the Revised Concept Plan) in 2007. The overall vision of the Revised Concept Plan is to balance the needs of development and conservation, and to promote the sustainable development of Lantau. Along with the development of Hong Kong, the Government has announced some decisions having far-reaching impacts on the planning circumstances of Lantau after the publication of the Revised Concept Plan. They include the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB), Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link, development of North Commercial District on Airport Island, topside development at the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities Island of the HZMB, the Airport Third-Runway System, etc. Together with the Tung Chung New Town Extension to be taken forward soon and the studies for reclamation at Siu Ho Wan and Sunny Bay, all these have brought new development circumstances to Lantau. At the same time, with the increasingly closer connection between Hong Kong and the Greater Pearl River Delta, the HZMB would induce more and better development opportunities for Lantau as a regional hub. Besides, in consideration of the long term social and economic development need of Hong Kong beyond 2030, the Government consider it necessary to review the development strategy of Lantau and established the LanDAC to take forward the concerned work. As shown in the aforementioned evolution of the planning concepts for Lantau, it can be seen that the latest overall development direction of Lantau is still striving to strike a balance between the two important directions of development and conservation.
Ends/Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Issued at HKT 15:40