Housing minister Winnie Ho said on Sunday that the Kai Tak site earmarked for light public flats will be returned to developers five years after the units are completed, stressing that the long-term plan to develop the area as Hong Kong's second core business district remains unchanged.
Some Kai Tak residents have opposed the plan to build around 10,000 temporary flats there, saying they feel the government had broken its promise of developing the area as a business area.
After a meeting with a lawmaker and district councillors, the housing secretary stressed the idea is to use the site for temporary housing for five years, and then return it to the Development Bureau for business development.
"We emphasise that the vision [to create a second core business district] is unchanged, and borrowing the undeveloped land for light public flats in the short-term gap not only can help the grassroots in trouble, but also allow the site originally used for parking and storage to serve a greater function," Ho wrote in a social media entry.
"[We] can definitely write a heart-warming Hong Kong story by helping grassroots people together."
Ho said the councillors she met agreed with the social value of light public housing, quoting them as saying that while Kai Tak residents are not against the overall policy to build such affordable homes, it's important for them to have confidence in the future of the district.
She also said they discussed what sort of community support facilities will be needed, pledging that officials will continue to listen to the needs of residents there.
Separately, a survey by the Federation of Trade Unions (FTU) found that more people prefer light public units in the urban area than in the New Territories.
According to a recent online survey, almost 60 percent of 347 respondents said they were interested in applying for flats in the Kai Tak site, and 46 percent were interested in the Ngau Tau Kok site.
Less than 10 percent said they would consider sites in Tuen Mun, Yuen Long and Sheung Shui.
More than 70 percent of the respondents said their current living environment is not satisfactory, and of them, two-thirds are interested in applying for light public housing.
FTU lawmaker Bill Tang said the main reasons why people are attracted to the scheme include cheaper rent and better living conditions.
Last updated: 2023-02-05 HKT 17:22