The Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Wednesday said the government will not give up a proposed massive reclamation project off Lantau and will push ahead with securing funding for the relevant studies.
In her Policy Address, she defended the Lantau Tomorrow Vision project, which is aimed at creating a new metropolis by building artificial islands.
She said although the government has already identified land for building flats that will meet demand for more than 10 years, it won't meet people’s medium and long-term housing needs.
Green groups strongly oppose the Lantau project which involves the reclamation of 1,000 hectares of land and is set to be the city’s most expensive, with a price tag of HK$624 billion. They say it will drain the public coffers, damage the environment and fail to bring flat prices down.
But Lam hailed the proposal, saying it will be the largest project of its kind in Hong Kong, providing the greatest amount of land.
She also listed other advantages such as optimising Hong Kong's transport network, boosting the commercial development potential of North Lantau, and bringing "enormous economic benefits" to the territory.
She said the idea of large-scale reclamation in the area has been explored and discussed by the community for almost a decade and should not be delayed further.
Lam urged people to be objective and fair, and to consider the city’s long-term interests.
She noted that the government has already secured support from Legco’s public works subcommittee for a study on the project, but it hasn’t obtained funding approval.
“For the sake of Hong Kong’s future, the current-term government will not give up on the Lantau Tomorrow Vision and will strive for the early commencement of the relevant studies,” she said.
“I pledge that the government will continue to listen to the views of various sectors of the community and proactively explore new financing options for the project in the course of the studies.”