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Reclaimed seabed, man-made islands and miles of road and railways for Lantau in development plans released quietly online

Report released with minimum fanfare draws ire of environmentalist who said island should be kept largely intact to protect ecology

Dozens of hectares of reclaimed seabed, man-made islands and more highways and railroads to link with the urban areas are all part of a package of ambitious proposals seeking to turn the tranquil island of Lantau into Hong Kong’s new commercial hub, as well as a tourist haven.

The ideas were contained in the first-term report of the government-appointed Lantau Development Advisory Committee, which was discreetly released online yesterday, following about two years of study.

The 33-page report, entitled “Space for All”, was available in Chinese, with only an English summary for now and a full version “to be provided” later.

The plans split the island into four major development areas: a northern Lantau corridor, near Tung Chung and the airport for economic and housing developments; an area for leisure and tourism on between 60 and 100 hectares of reclaimed seabed off Sunny Bay and an expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland; a new core business district in the east, to be created by the reclamation of one or more artificial islands; and the development of 14 recreation and tourism areas, mostly to the south, including Sunny Bay, Mui Wo, Tai O and various Buddhist monasteries, and the Tung Chung valley.

An adventure park was to be built in Sunny Bay, with facilities such as indoor surfing and indoor skydiving. Campsites and observation decks will be provided at Sunset Peak for stargazing.

The waters off eastern Lantau will see massive reclamation to develop Hong Kong’s newest core business district and a new town housing up to 700,000 people. It will also become a major source of land supply for Hong Kong’s development beyond 2030.

Environmentalist and Green Sense chief executive Roy Tam Hoi-pong criticised the idea of developing Lantau and said the island should be kept largely intact to protect the ecology there.

“Like Sai Kung, Lantau is a garden in Hong Kong’s backyard. The last thing you want is to bulldoze it down to build high-rises,” said Tam.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying yesterday said he had received the report and hailed the committee’s proposals as having “fully considered the current situations of various districts in Lantau, including the conservation needs and the development potential.”

He added: “Large-scale infrastructure, including a Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok link, Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge and the third runway of the airport will turn the geographical condition of Lantau from an outlying island to a significant region of Hong Kong.”

There was no official announcement of the release of the report. Its publication was mentioned in an article posted to the official blog of Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po.

In his article, Chan said the committee appreciated that Lantau is rich in ecological habitats and these should be preserved.

“The committee is of the view that conservation and development should not be considered mutually exclusive. Simply leaving things intact does not necessarily mean effective conservation… we should improve and make better use of the natural environment in a responsible manner, so as to allow the public to appreciate, understand and enjoy the environment.”

In his 2014 policy address, Leung raised the idea of making Lantau a converging point of traffic from Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau. He announced the setting up of the advisory committee to explore strategies for the economic and social development for Lantau.

Proposals for development under various themes


Sunny Bay:
Indoor adventure park, indoor surfing, indoor skydiving

Mui Wo:
Outdoor adventure park, hillside slides, war game, aqua park, mountain bike
Lantau history museum

Splurge and indulge

Shopping, MICE tourism, international ice rink


Siu Ho Wan:

Sunset Peak:
Stargazing facilities, campsite

Yi O:
Revitalisation of abandoned land, farm stay

Culture and heritage

Tai O:
Wushu retreat, Tai Chi centre, culinary heritage centre

Relaxation and wellness

Cheung Sha:
Development of spa and resorts, water sports centre, wedding centre, cycle track

Soko Islands:
Facilities for extreme sports, rock climbing.

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CE receives Lantau report

Chief Executive CY Leung today received the first-term work report submitted by the Lantau Development Advisory Committee.

Mr Leung said the committee has fully considered the current situations of various districts on Lantau Island, including conservation needs and development potential, and put forward its vision and its recommendation on short-term work.

Large-scale infrastructure including the Tuen Mun-Chep Lap Kok Link, Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and the third airport runway will turn Lantau from an outlying island to a significant region of Hong Kong, he said.

Noting the report has been uploaded to the Government website, he called on people to continue to provide comments to develop Lantau.

Mr Leung thanked the committee and the Development Bureau for their efforts.


Hong Kong officials must explain how they will reach anti-pollution goals

The Environment Bureau of the Hong Kong SAR government has published the “Hong Kong Climate Change Report 2015”. It says, “This document updates the actions the government has taken so far in order to set the stage for considering further actions in the future”.

It is a very well put together report and it is a good read. Everybody in Hong Kong should get hold of a copy and read it carefully. It is about the long-term future for our children.

The report exposes some common confusions and illusions of the subject matter.

To start with, the messages from principal officials read as if one has already accomplished. However, when I refer to the figure about the greenhouse gas emission trends for Hong Kong 1990-2012 in the report, I can see that from the point of view of the earth, little has been achieved to ease the pain the planet has suffered in the last 23 years. There is a long way to go.

Games of smoke and mirrors have been played. The best example is how one accounts for our carbon emission: absolutely, on a per capita basis or by this metric called carbon intensity. We may pick our own cherries, but from the earth’s point of view, which one is more relevant?

As an architect, I am particularly interested in the built environmental aspects of the report. To aim for an 80 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, 90 per cent of which are from our buildings, over the next few decades as recommended in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, I wonder if the Development Bureau will say how that can be achieved.

I hope this report will be followed, maybe shortly after the COP21 global summit on climate change, by corresponding reports from each of our bureaus. This must be our government’s policy. Useful targets, action plans and road-maps, and a transparent, accountable monitoring and reporting mechanism must be provided.

Most dear to me is the part on vulnerable groups, such as our elderly, outdoor workers, and poor families in windowless rooms. The most-at-risk group is also the most-in-need group.

Professor Edward Ng, school of architecture,Chinese University of Hong Kong

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