Monday, 5 February 2018

Nowhere Near Solving the Housing Crisis

Would you like to see part of this Fanling golf course developed into flats?
A trial balloon was floated up a month ago -- a study released by the government showed 5,000 flats could be built on part of the 170-hectare golf course in Fanling.

Immediately a ruckus erupted -- golfers were up in arms that their beloved golf course would be considered as potential land, while others felt 5,000 flats wasn't enough -- that there should be more built on the eastern part of the golf course that comprises a car park and part of what is known as the Old Course.

And then there was a fiasco that meetings to decide this issue have been postponed twice, and some of the people on the committee were Fanling golf club members and should be excused from the discussion.

Green groups are opposed to developing east Lantau
Then today Daniel Liu Ping-kwong, immediate past chairman and now honorary president of the Hong Kong Golfers Association hit back, asking why they don't have a say.

He said if golf members are barred from the task force, then members of other private recreational clubs should be as well. Which practically means everyone because most government task forces are made up of well-heeled committee members.

Professional international golfers have also raised their concerns about losing the historic course, but are they aware of the serious housing crisis we're in?

I asked a relative what he thought of the issue. He said there shouldn't be an construction on the site because it's green space that people can enjoy. However I pointed out it was a private club and he said yes -- that's the problem -- they should open it further to the public because it's owned by the government.

Does Paul Chan have any more ideas to create more housing?
If you develop that land, he says, then you have fewer public open spaces. He had a point. He suggested further developing Lantau, but there are many green belt areas there that cannot and should not be touched.

Following in that vein Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po is pushing the idea of more land reclamation, re-floating the idea of a 1,000-hectare artificial island east of Lantau. However green groups shot it down last November because they were concerned about the welfare of marine life in the area.

So the debate continues -- how are we going to solve the housing crisis? Where are we going to put everyone? How much will these homes cost?

It's a tough decision, which is why the government needs to be brave. Very brave.

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