Building on country parks: Contrasting views on Lantau development

Rural committees feel that the government's development plans fall short, while an expert raises eyebrows regarding its economic benefits.

Lantau Confidential ( reports that a number of Islands District Council members, namely representatives of South Lantau, Tung Chung, and Tai O have, in a recent meeting, called for development of the locale's country parks.

These numerous conservation sites, they argue, are of low ecological value, and could be utilised for housing and roads. These include a thus far shelved coastal road from Tung Chung to Tai O, and a new highway linking Chek Lap Kok and North Lantau and the planned East Lantau Metropolis.

The project, which involves the construction of an artificial island that joins Hei Ling Chau and Kau Yi Chau via reclamation, is to be a commercial and residential district that will house up to 700,000 people and provide 250,000 jobs. The new island will also bridge the East Lantau coast to Hong Kong's Central district.

Many have voiced concerns, including real estate expert Leo Cheung. The Icon City Head of Business Valuation put into question the project's environmental feasibility, as well as its cost-effectiveness, stating that it would raise issues should it fail to create at least 100,000 jobs.

Elected council members, including pro-government constituents, have maintained reservations, particularly on the purported economic opportunities linked to these developments, its environmental impact, and if the endeavour is merely a scheme to raise property prices.

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