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RTHK Backchat Special: Do you share the Lantau Tomorrow Vision?

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If you have been following the development of the Lantau Tomorrow Vision in the news but haven’t had a chance to contribute to the discussion, now is your chance. On May 1, RTHK Radio will host a special episode of the Backchat programme devoted to the Lantau Tomorrow Vision. Backchat is RTHK Radio 3’s current affairs programme, regularly hosted by Hugh Chiverton and Queenie Man, featuring expert panels and listener participation. The programme airs every weekday from 8.30am to 9.30am.

This May Day, a special Backchat wants to know if you share the Lantau Tomorrow Vision. The Lantau Tomorrow Vision is the Hong Kong’s government most ambitious plan in the city’s history to build new islands connected by road and rail, a new central business district and housing for a million people. It’s estimated to cost more than HK$600 billion in its first stage.

Critics say it’s overpriced and unnecessary. The Government says it will instil hope among Hong Kong people for economic progress and improved livelihoods. In the special Backchat programme on May 1, Hugh and Danny Gittings will moderate a panel discussion with government officials and others, including: Michael Fong,Head of Sustainable Lantau Office; Ng Mee-kam, CUHK Professor, Department of Geography and Resource Management; and Tom Yam, a member of the Citizens Task Force for Land Supply. Hugh and Danny also hope they hear from you as listeners are invited to join the debate. You can either participate in the live discussion as part of the studio audience in the Kowloon Tong studios at 12 noon on May 1, or have your say by calling into the programme on 2338 8266, posting on Backchat’s Facebook , or send an email to [email protected] If you would like to join the studio audience, please arrive at the Broadcasting House by 11.30am.


Backchat Special: Do you share the Lantau Tomorrow Vision?

Date: May 1 (Wednesday)
Time: 12pm – 1pm. Please arrive at the Broadcasting House by 11.30am
Hosts: Hugh Chiverton, Danny Gittings
Venue: Studio 1, RTHK Broadcasting House, 30 Broadcast Drive, Kowloon Tong. (Take 29A minibus or taxi from Kowloon Tong MTR)

 


The estimated total cost for the Lantau Tomorrow Vision, also known as the East Lantau Metropolis (ELM), is around HK$624 billion. According to RTHK, this would make the ELM the largest infrastructure project in the city’s history. The project was officially announced in Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s October 2018 policy address. It would involve reclaiming a total of 1,700 hectares of land around Lantau Island in order to address Hong Kong’s serious housing crisis.

In an article by the Standard, the development of the area around Kau Yi Chau, Hei Ling Chau and Peng Chau is to cost HK$256 billion: HK$140 billion in land reclamation and HK$116 for additional infrastructure. Land reclamation and infrastructure development around Sunny Bay, Lung Kwu Tan and Tuen Mun is estimated to cost up to HK$95 billion.

Officials justify these high costs by claiming that this will increase the quality of people’s lives by generating economic and social development. These benefits will come about from the 105,000 to 182,000 new residential blocks, and 200,000 job opportunities.

Development Secretary Michael Wong announced that the artificial island will be transformed into Hong Kong’s third business center, which will generate approximately HK$141 billion in yearly revenues.

The high cost of the project is fueling widespread controversy. Lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick argues that the budget is based on 2018 prices which have risen due to inflation. According to Chu, the total cost could exceed HK$1 trillion.
Others are also concerned about the environmental impact of the development, which will put further strain on Hong Kong’s aquatic life. In October, protests in Central and in the New Territories sought to challenge Lam’s assertion that the ELM Project has widespread support.

On Tuesday, Wong dismissed environmental concerns over climate change potentially leading to flooding on the artificial islands, by responding that the islands will be six to seven metres above sea level.

According to RTHK, Developers aim to begin the reclamation project by 2025 and have the first residential blocks finished by 2032.

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