Chief Executive John Lee said on Wednesday that he will personally lead a steering committee to coordinate the development of the Northern Metropolis with a view to developing it into a new international innovation and technology city as he pledged to push forward at full steam on the project.
Delivering his maiden Policy address, Lee said the steering committee would provide high-level policy guidance and supervision for the huge project in the northern New Territories.
In addition, an advisory committee, to be chaired by Financial Secretary Paul Chan and comprising experts and stakeholders will be set up to assist the development of the area. Meanwhile a dedicated government department devoted to the scheme will be created next year.
"The Northern Metropolis is the foothold for Hong Kong's strategic development as well as the new engine for Hong Kong to scale new heights," Lee said. "The current-term government will take forward the development of the Northern Metropolis in full steam."
He said the government would work to formulate a concrete plan and an action agenda for the development "within next year", to make sure it integrates "quality life, new economies and culture and leisure".
The administration also planned to compile a new “proactive conservation policy” to gradually resume private wetlands and fish ponds, and develop them into a conservation parks system, Lee told lawmakers.
The government will also initiate the statutory procedures for designating about 500 hectares of land in Robin's Nest as a country park in 2024, and gradually open up Sha Tau Kok the same year for cultural and eco-tourism activities, the CE said.
“Innovative urban design will help promote home-job balance, green living and the co-existence of development and conservation,” Lee said.
Among other initiatives, Lee said the government is looking to start land resumption procedures for all development projects in the Northern Metropolis within five years, and to complete 40 percent of the new flats within 10 years.
He said the government would also adopt higher plot ratios for both residential and commercial buildings in the area to make the best use of land.
“As a guideline, the maximum plot ratio for residential sites will be 6.5 – higher than that of five for earlier generations of new towns like Sha Tin – while that for commercial sites will be 9.5,” he said.
The CE also said the metropolis' proximity to the mainland gives it the advantages of creating synergy with Guangdong, Shenzhen, and other cities in the Greater Bay Area, in aspects such as industrial development, land use and ecological conservation.