特首林鄭月娥在剛推出的2018年施政報告中，提出「明日大嶼」計劃，目標在東大嶼 填海1700公頃，建造多個人工島。作為建築、測量、都市規劃及園境界別的選委代表 ，我們對推出的目的、規模、程序及模式均有所保留：
Declaration on the "Lantau Tomorrow Vision" by Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape Subsector Election Committee Members
Lantau Tomorrow - Who is it for？
In the 2018 Policy Address, Chief Executive Mrs. Carrie Lam announced the "Lantau Tomorrow Vision" which targets to construct artificial islands with a total area of about 1700 hectares through massive land reclamation. As Election Committee members of the Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape Subsector, we have reservations on the objective, scale and procedures of the proposal:
Oversupply of land, who is it for?
According to the projection of the Census and Statistics Department, population of Hong Kong will reach its peak at 2043 which means there will be an increase of 880,000 people compared to the current population. Population will then decrease gradually. If we disregard the current land and housing development and vacant residential units, the proposed artificial islands alone can accommodate 1,100,000 people. Why do we have to create more supply than demand?
Important information like planning visions and land use plan was not announced, justification of reclamation scale and site selection was also absent. This is unusual and far from satisfaction for such a massive development proposal. The CE claimed that the proposal is for "making Lantau a 'Double Gateway' to the world and other Greater Bay Area cities." This makes people speculate whether the land created will be for solving housing problem in Hong Kong?
Public Opinion Ignored
The public consultation on land supply has just completed and the Task Force on Land Supply has not concluded the public opinions. During the consultation process, a lot of ideas were discussed and submitted. The feasible land supply options include: brownfield sites, military sites, sites under private recreational leases, vacant government land and near-shore reclamation. Surprisingly, the CE announced the massive reclamation proposal before the report of the Land Supply Taskforce, without paying respect to the consultation and all public opinions collected. Moreover, comparing to massive reclamation, the options raised in the consultation process cost less, face less technical difficulties and have less impact to the environment. Professional knowledge is apparently not thoroughly considered in the proposal.
Not Cost Efficient
The CE mentioned the cost of reclamation will be "roughly 4-5 hundred billions". However, engineering experts estimated that, including all the connecting roads and railways with consideration of recent trend of infrastructure over budget, the cost of constructing the artificial islands will be at least a thousand billions ---- this will be equivalent to half of Hong Kong's foreign currency reserve. If unforeseen conditions were encountered during construction, such as drifting of artificial island in the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge construction, the cost will be further soared. When we assess whether a project is cost efficient, we will try to see whether there is any lower cost alternatives that can achieve the same objective. The one-thousand-billion artificial islands are obviously not cost efficient as there are other options that cost a lot less such as developing the Fanling golf course and developing brownfield sites in the N.T.
Balanced Resources Allocation
Land and housing problems need to be solved in 3 stages: short-term, medium-term and long-term. Resources have to be allocated appropriately to all stages in order to have a coherent result. If a thousand billions were invested in a single long-term project, the resources for short-term and medium-term solutions will inevitably be limited. Such resource imbalance cannot create the desired social return.
Living with Natural Harmony
Our memory is fresh with the destruction of Typhoon Mangkhut which we experience the consequence of global warming. Massive reclamation is a bad response to climate change. It will spend massive energy, vast amount of carbon emission and it will bring irreversible impact to the ecosystem. Although our CE claimed that "climate risks can be mitigated", natural force is nothing human being can be compared. In addition, this scale of massive reclamation will need incredible amount of marine sand. It will bring forth ecological disaster to the reclamation area as well as the marine sand mining area. For sustainable development, land supply shall adopt methods that are harmonious with the environment and design that balance between human habitat and nature. Just following the "New Town Development" mode that was used a century ago is not going to be a good solution. Even reclamation is inevitable, progressive reclamation along the coast shall be considered first which is more friendly to the marine ecology and less impactful to climate change.
As Architects, Surveyors, Planners and Landscape Architects, we are deeply concerned with the land and housing problems in Hong Kong. We also understand this is an urgent issue that we have to face and tackle immediately. However, we doubt whether the "Lantau Tomorrow Vision" can solve the problem, indeed, we worry that it will even bring us irreversible impacts.
In the past 5 months during the public land consultation, the official land task force and many civil research groups have proposed many feasible solutions for land supply. We urge the CE, for the sake of sustainable development in Hong Kong and for our generations to come, suspend the "Lantau Tomorrow Vision" proposal. Let’s work together with the people for a better Hong Kong and bring hopes to our future.