Govt accused of 'concealing' vast swathes of land - RTHK
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Govt accused of 'concealing' vast swathes of land

2018-09-18 HKT 16:40
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  • The Liber Research Community says it has identified enough idle government land to provide over 90,000 interim housing units. Photo: RTHK
    The Liber Research Community says it has identified enough idle government land to provide over 90,000 interim housing units. Photo: RTHK
Jimmy Choi reports
A development concern group said on Tuesday that the government is effectively concealing from the public the fact that it has hundreds of hectares of idle or under-utilised land that could be used for interim housing.

The Liber Research Community found about 530 plots of such government land around the territory, totalling over 300 hectares. It said while some of the sites have been left completely idle, others are used for temporary storage or have been leased out to serve as car parks or bus depots.

While these sites are scattered around the city, the group found that about 60 hectares of them are located in the Kwai Tsing district – the largest amount to be found among the city's 18 districts.

A member of the group, Brian Wong, accused officials of misleading the public by exaggerating Hong Kong’s land shortage problem.

He said the public should have been given the option of developing these sites in a public consultation exercise by the Task Force on Land Supply. This suggestion is not listed as one of the 18 options to boost land supply in the document

If utilised properly, the group said, these sites could together provide over 90,000 interim housing units, 43 sports complexes and elderly care homes for 120,000 people.

“These government lands are all conveniently located within the urban centre. Or if they are not, they are in new towns or accessible by roads," Wong said.

"These lands are government lands. The government will not have to sell them, will not have to go through complicated procedures before releasing these lands to build housing, especially interim housing”, he said.

Wong urged the administration to boost its transparency and make public how much land it actually has so that the community can hold a thorough discussion on how best to utilise the city’s land resources.

The Lands Department was yet to respond to the allegations.