Concept Plan for Lantau (Feb 2005)
1. The Consultation Paper sets out a broad framework for future development on Lantau Island. The Institute welcomes Government’s consultation with the public at such an early stage of planning and supports the broad development principle to concentrate developments in the northern shore of Lantau and preserving south Lantau in its natural setting and for passive recreation uses. However, we have concerns on the high level of development proposed on northern Lantau and the extensive reclamation which would be required to accommodate such uses.
2. The Institute supports the proposals for South Lantau including the preservation of Tai O village, new resorts at selected locations, development of a comprehensive cycle track network, the improvement of facilities in country parks and a possible new marine park. It is believed that such improvements / preservation would help sustain South Lantau’s existing natural and cultural heritage.
3. Many developments and infrastructure projects are proposed in north Lantau. These include :
the extension to the Tung Chung new town (North Lantau New Town)
Hong Kong - Zhuhai - Macao Bridge (HZMB) and the North Lantau Highway Connection (NLHC)
cross-boundary transport hub at Siu Ho Wan MTR depot site
reclamation from Tung Chung East to Siu Ho Wan (to accommodate a logistics park at Siu Ho Wan, extension to logistics park and recreational use at Tai Ho Wan, and possible theme park at Tung Chung East)
leisure and entertainment node at Sunny Bay
golf course cum resort at Tsing Chau Tsai East
From a land use planning perspective, the Institute would query whether all these developments need to be accommodated mainly on reclamation in Lantau. We set out below our views on some of the proposals.
Extension to the Tung Chung new town (North Lantau New Town)
4. From the concept plan and the plan on Page 11 of the Consultation Digest, the North Lantau New Town appears to involve extension areas on reclamation on the east and west of the existing Tung Chung New Town. The ultimate population quantum would increase 3.5 times compared to the existing population. The Institute wishes to urge Government to pay special attention to the local community needs in the future planning of Lantau, particularly with regard to social support network, open space, medical facilities, employment opportunities and transport costs.
Hong Kong - Zhuhai - Macao Bridge (HZMB)
5. The Institute notes that various options for HZMB and the North Lantau Highway Connection (NLHC) are still under investigation. One of the options seems to show that traffic from the HZMB would pass through the Tung Chung New Town via the existing North Lantau Highway. This would create major concern on the environmental impacts to the local residents. Given the topographical characteristics of Tung Chung and worsening regional air pollution, the negative impacts of such road proposal, even as an interim measure, would need very strong justifications. Apart from air quality, the cumulative environmental impacts of HZMB particularly with regard to the Chinese White Dolphins, the traffic implications on the North Lantau Highway and the effect on visual amenity of the area will need to be carefully assessed.
Reclamation from Siu Ho Wan to Tung Chung East
6. Extensive reclamation is being proposed from Siu Ho Wan to Tung Chung East. Except for the logistics park, the reclamation is proposed for recreation uses. We are concerned about the adverse impact on the natural coastline and the disruption of vista along the Airport Express and the North Lantau Highway from the urban design point of view.
7. The logistics park is proposed on reclamation. Whilst there is already policy endorsement for such a facility, the cost and benefit of such development should be carefully examined, particularly having regard to similar land extensive developments in Shenzhen.
8. Another reclamation has been proposed at Tai Ho Wan for possible logistics park extension or recreational uses. The ecological and sustainability impacts on Tai Ho Wan and the Tai Ho SSSI have not been substantiated and are of major concern. It is noted from the Consultation Digest that one possible recreation use being considered for this location is a motor racing circuit. The details of such racing circuit are not clear, e.g. whether it is for recreation or international competition standards etc. In any case, there is insufficient ground to support such use at this locality if it is to be accommodated on reclamation. There are locations in other parts of the Territory that could better accommodate such use.
9. The reclamation for the possible theme park / recreational uses to the west of Tai Ho Wan also appears to be in an inappropriate location. Despite its proximity to the mass transit network and the airport, a number of factors including its highly urbanized setting adjacent to the new town extension and its direct exposure to the airport and aircraft noise appear to render the site unsuitable for theme park development.
Cross Boundary Transport Hub
10. The proposal to provide a cross boundary transport hub consisting of a public transport interchange, park-and-ride facilities and a MTR station at Siu Ho Wan MTR depot site to encourage transfer of travellers from HKMB to rail is supported. If successfully implemented, this scheme should be helpful in reducing the pressure of external traffic on the urban road network and hence preserve the urban living environment.
Leisure and Entertainment Node at Sunny Bay
11. The area marked for the leisure and entertainment node is enormous and extensive reclamation would be involved. While located close to the Sunny Bay MTR Station is a plus, the need for such extensive reclamation will need to be carefully assessed and justified.
Golf course cum resort at Tsing Chau Tsai East
12. The area circled in for the golf course cum resort at Tsing Chau Tsai East appears to be on very steep topography. Development of a golf course in this area will involve extensive site formation and may be contrary to the principle of preserving the natural landscape character of Lantau. The site overlooks the industrial uses at Tsing Yi, which is not visually compatible with a resort setting.
An Alternative Proposal
13. It is considered that the early implementation of the Tuen Mun - Chek Lap Kok Link will unleash the development potential of Tuen Mun in providing logistic and other spin-off uses from the Airport without the need to reclaim extensively along the north shore of Lantau. This link will have several other benefits. First, it will provide more diversified employment opportunities in Tuen Mun. There are large parcels of land under government and private ownership that can be developed for land-extensive uses. Secondly, the road link will provide an alternative vehicular route from the Airport to the New Territories in case of emergency and a more direct vehicular access between NWNT and the Airport. Needless to say, the natural shoreline of Lantau can be preserved and reclamation would only be proceeded with, if at all, in the longer run. This represents a wise use of our limited land / water resources, which is in line with the concept of sustainable development.
14. All in all, the Institute is supportive of the strategy to concentrate development in the north of Lantau and preserving / enhancing natural assets on other parts of the Island. However, we are concerned about the extensive reclamation being designated on the concept plan, which will affect the natural shoreline and the vista along the Airport Express and North Lantau Highway. The Institute supports the provision of a cross-boundary transport hub at the Siu Ho Wan MTR depot and considers that there is considerable merit in building the Tuen Mun - Chek Lap Kok Link early and to accommodate some of the proposed uses in Tuen Mun where land is available.
15. The Institute also notes that there are some controversial proposals coming out from the consultation exercise, not least of which is development of a casino/gaming center. If not carefully considered, Lantau may end up with a hotchpotch of unco-ordinated uses. Needless to say, the development of Lantau cannot be considered in isolation and the overall development of Hong Kong and that of the Pearl River Delta should be taken in account.
Public Affairs Committee
Hong Kong Institute of Planners