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Drop Lantau plan, urges former observatory chief

2018-10-11 HKT 18:45
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  • Lam Chiu-ying says if the government must go ahead with the artificial islands project, steps need to be taken to ensure it can withstand climate change. File photo: RTHK
    Lam Chiu-ying says if the government must go ahead with the artificial islands project, steps need to be taken to ensure it can withstand climate change. File photo: RTHK
Legislator Chu Hoi-dick
A former head of the Hong Kong Observatory, Lam Chiu-ying, has added his voice to criticism of the government's newly announced "Lantau Tomorrow Vision" project, which involves reclaiming islands spread over a massive 1,700-hectares

Lam said from a scientific perspective, it's best not to go ahead the project, in light of the huge costs involved and climate change risks.

But he said if the government must build the mega project, it should only be done in phases, otherwise officials will not be able to halt construction in case there is a sudden change in the global economic or political landscape.

Lam said a feasibility study of the plan needs to consider risks posed by climate change over the next two centuries, such as stronger downpours, storm surges, rising sea levels and more frequent super typhoons.

He said there needs to be proper breakwater and flood discharge facilities in place for the islands, to avoid disasters.

Lam said the government should also consult its own specialists at the observatory when it studies the potential effects of climate change, because outsourced consultants would probably not be experts on meteorology.

And the former observatory director said there must be a financial analysis and risk assessment to avoid the project causing financial damage that could affect the government's normal recurrent spending.

Council Front lawmaker Chu Hoi-dick, meanwhile, said he thinks the project will place a heavy financial burden on the government, forcing it to maintain what he called a "high property price" policy, adding that real estate tycoons will "rule" the SAR for decades.

Chu also accused Chief Executive Carrie Lam of doing exactly the opposite of guarding against a looming climate change crisis.

He pointed out that the United Nations recently warned that the world has only about 12 years to arrest global warming, or there will be widespread drought, storms, floods, extreme heat and increased poverty.