Chief Executive Carrie Lam told lawmakers on Thursday that they should not "scare people off" by claiming that a mega artificial island plan proposed for waters off Lantau would dry up Hong Kong's fiscal reserves.
The “Lantau Tomorrow Vision" involves the reclamation of 1,700 hectares of land, and government sources indicate it will cost at least HK$500 billion, which is about half of the SAR's current reserves.
But Lam said during a question and answer session on the Policy Address that the project will be developed in phases. She said while it may cost the government around HK$50 billion a year, the total cost will be spread across a period that lasts for more than a decade.
Civic Party lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki and several other pan-democrats described the mega project as a "white elephant" and said it would be akin to "dumping money into the sea".
Kwok also asked Lam if the islands will be built for "new Hongkongers" to live in. Lam responded by saying there is no concept of "new Hongkongers", but there is the "Greater Bay people".
The CE said that everything done by the government is for the people of Hong Kong.
Kwok Wai-keung, from the pro-Beijing Federation of Trade Unions, asked if the government had considered taking back Fanling Golf Course for housing development.
Lam said this is a controversial idea, and would take some time to complete because of the need for new transport facilities and relocating tombs at the site.
The Chief Executive added that she is looking forward to a report being submitted by the Land Supply Task Force at the end of the year.