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Island’s unique character is under threat – Letters to the Editor

I refer to Tammy Tam’s column (“Lantau: The next big chance to build new HK town”, January 18).

It has been argued that developing Lantau Island could be a way of dealing with Hong Kong’s inadequate housing infrastructure and strengthening the economy.

However, I do not think it would be a good idea to build a new “new town” on Lantau. First of all, such a project would damage the island’s natural environment. Hong Kong’s largest island has unique biodiversity which attracts thousands of locals and tourists. That unique character could be lost if Lantau becomes commercialised.

Building thousands of new housing units would not be compatible with existing infrastructure. Also, residents could find their lives disrupted by noise from aircraft if apartment blocks were built near the airport.

This would be similar to the problems Kowloon City residents experienced because of their proximity to the old Kai Tak airport. And if a lot of blocks were built near Disneyland this might make the theme park less attractive to visitors.

I have no doubt the development of Lantau could bring new opportunities and make a lot of money for some Hong Kong citizens. However, as I said, it is a flawed proposal. The government must take serious note of the views expressed by people during the public consultation, especially if it emerges that most citizens are opposed to it.

Any projects must be based on the principle of sustainable development and any white elephant plans which waste taxpayers’ money should be rejected.

Anson Sin, Tseung Kwan O
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