Thursday, 27 November 2014

More Short-Sighted Measures

Shui On's Vincent Lo suggests using country park land for affordable flats
More tycoons are giving suggestions on how to help young people have a home.

Yesterday it was building more hostels for them so that they could save up to buy a flat.

Now others are saying homes should be built for first-time home buyers in Hong Kong's country parks. Talk about the thin edge of the wedge, down the slippery slope, tip of the iceberg... any more metaphors to add?

Vincent Lo Hong-sui, chairman of Shui On Land said, "We have to give hope to young people that they will be able to have a decent place. Otherwise, why do they want to stay here?"

Uh, young people very much want to stay in Hong Kong, but not way out in the country parks! And aren't they supposed to be protected land by the government?

Lo doesn't seem to think that's the issue. "If you have no house, it is no use having nice country parks. Land supply is the biggest issue. If we have more land supply, property prices won't rise the way they have done."

Development Secretary Paul Chan has the same idea...
Methinks Lo doesn't go hiking much, nor does he seem to care that Hong Kong's country parks are an asset to the city. He only sees it as a gold mine that needs to be exploited.

Allan Zeman has also chimed in saying only 3-5 percent "a small fraction" of country parks should be converted for affordable housing.

Again we'd like to ask -- how are these people going to get to and from these homes in the middle of nowhere? That just further alienates them and transportation costs alone would keep them at or near poverty.

These are property developers using the protesters as an excuse to push the government to release more land to be converted into flats.

Unfortunately the Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po has not ruled out the idea of using country park land for flats -- having floated it himself in early September in his blog.

However laws stipulate that country parks are designated for the purpose of nature conservation, countryside recreation and outdoor education.

So can the tycoons and Chan please go back to the drawing board and rethink how they can reuse existing land in the city? There are many brown sites or abandoned ones that could and should be developed. Surely there's another solution than destroying virgin land?


  1. Leave the country parks alone! I'd like to suggest the conversion of golf courses like the ones in Fanling and Deep Water Bay into housing areas -- and yes, (re)develop brown or abandoned sites.

    1. Hi YTSL -- it just shows you how out of touch these people are and their quick fix solutions that don't take into account what life will be like for future generations in Hong Kong....

  2. I agree with YTSL, why not just redvelop the golf courses in Fanling and Deep Water Bay as well as reclaim more land along Kowloon Bay, Hung Hom, and Clear Water Bay and build only public estates so everyone can have a roof over their heads...

    1. The idea has been floated before, but of course the elites can't stand the idea of not having golf courses they can play at...