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Old February 23rd, 2014, 04:02 AM   #1701
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
How nice it would be if these huge mega projects actually mimicked the surrounding hills, thus complementing them vs conflicting. Stepped buildings with cascading greenery would look so much better.
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Old February 25th, 2014, 03:38 AM   #1702
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Kuk pushes mega mall at border
The Standard
Tuesday, February 25, 2014



The Heung Yee Kuk wants a huge mall built in Sha Tau Kok, saying such a complex could divert cross-border shoppers from crowded areas on Hong Kong Island and Tsim Sha Tsui and ease anti-mainlander sentiment.

Besides the mega shopping center on border-crossing Chung Ying Street, members of the powerful New Territories grouping want hotels, exhibition facilities and offices in the vacant Lok Ma Chau Loop area.

Hau Chi-keung, chairman of the Sheung Shui Rural Committee and a leading member of the kuk, offered the thoughts on easing strains caused by droves of mainland visitors.

Chung Ying Street, which straddles the Hong Kong-mainland border without fences or walls, is open to Hongkongers with closed-area permits issued by the police. The boundary is designated solely by a few marker stones.

The street was once a top spot for shopping for foreign goods before the mainland opened up more than 30 years ago.

Now, the kuk would like to see mainland and Hong Kong authorities opening Chung Ying Street for people from both sides.

"We hope the need for Hong Kong people to obtain police permits will be abolished so that residents with return permits can enter the northern side of the street, which is part of Shenzhen," Hau said. "There are already retail stalls in the street. We can build a giant shopping mall that can help divert some tourists looking to buy daily necessities like milk powder."

North District Council member Tang Kun-nin backed Hau, saying "most mainland tourists are now packing Tsim Sha Tsui and other prime areas for shopping."

"Such a proposal could be a win-win situation for both mainland visitors and Hong Kong people.

"It would also help create more job opportunities for Hong Kong residents in the northern New Territories districts."

But a spokesman for the Security Bureau said last night there are no plans for a border control point in Chung Ying Street.

The proposal comes after a chorus of outrage following a rowdy protest in Tsim Sha Tsui on February 16 against "locusts" - the disparaging reference used by local activists who want controls on the number of mainland visitor-shoppers because they are supposedly overwhelming the SAR and hogging its resources.

The State Council's Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office has added to condemnations led by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying about the 100 or so protesters who marched from the Star Ferry pier to Canton Road - lined with luxury goods stores - and shouted insults against cross-border visitors.

Police intervened when scuffles broke out between protesters and people opposing them.

Yet there were smirks as well as raised eyebrows on Sunday when only about a dozen people answered an online call and walked through Mong Kok dragging suitcases and shopping bags behind them in a crude parody of mainland shoppers.

The number joining the action was far less than expected as about 200 people had gone online to support the call for the mimickry in Mong Kok.
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Old February 25th, 2014, 06:59 AM   #1703
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Owners whose properties are acquired or resumed for the implementation of redevelopment projects should be offered fair and reasonable compensation
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Old March 1st, 2014, 05:17 PM   #1704
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Blame falls on MTR for slowing land supply
The Standard
Friday, February 28, 2014

Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po blamed the MTR Corp's failure in tendering out sites for dragging down home supply.

He also said the government has changed its mind and wants to use the Lee Wai Lee site for special education instead of for residential purposes.

At the unveiling of the land sale program for 2014-15, Chan said as many as 30,000 flats could be on the market through government tenders and other projects, including those of the MTR and Urban Renewal Authority.

These include the 15,500 flats from the total 34 residential sites to be put up for tender in the coming year, the 5,800 flats from MTR developments, the 3,000 flats from URA and other land lease modification projects.

But amid worries that some projects may be non-starters, he said the supply target is 18,800 flats.

"None of the projects by MTRC has been successfully tendered out over the past three years, like those at Tai Wai and Tin Wing Stop," Chan said, adding both parties have to work harder together.

Between April and June, six residential sites will go up for sale, offering 1,500 flats. Chan said the figure could be 3,200 if the 1,700-unit URA project in Kwun Tong is also considered.

The sites are in Tuen Mun and Ma On Shan - two each - Yeung Uk Road in Tsuen Wan and Schooner Street in Wan Chai. There is also a commercial site on Middle Road in Tsim Sha Tsui that will be up for sale.

Centaline Surveyors director James Cheung King-tat said the seven plots will cost more than HK$9 billion.

The Tsuen Wan plot is expected to fetch HK$3.8 billion and the one in Tsim Sha Tsui HK$3.4 billion.

Meanwhile, Chan said the former Lee Wai Lee campus in Kowloon Tong will be taken out of the program and considered for use in special education.

Baptist University has been fighting to use the 94,700-square-foot site for a Chinese medicine school. A spokesman welcomed the decision.

The Town Planning Board's approval is needed for the switch. It is on the agenda for its March 10 meeting.
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Old March 2nd, 2014, 06:21 AM   #1705
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Where can Hong Kong reclaim more land for development?
24 February 2014
China Daily



Financial Secretary John Tsang recently made it clear that land reclamation will be an option in Hong Kong. Land reclamation is efficient, relatively cheaper (as compensation to the indigenous residents is not needed) and can be used for designated purposes. The government has the full right to use reclaimed land. There are numerous advantages stemming from land reclamation. Most importantly, land can be reclaimed for a specific use.

Firstly, no one expects land reclamation to be around harbor areas, but it can be done in remote regions and for purposes which will enhance future economic development. Secondly, with newly reclaimed land, land use can become more flexible, including the possibility of switching from one type of use to another to maximize social benefits. Thirdly, other than having more residential land in mind, newly reclaimed land can foster new industries and activities. These can widen Hong Kong's industrial and economic base so more jobs will be available. In other words, one cannot expect any results in the short term, but land reclamation is a long-term policy and both resources and time are needed.

There could be opposition, typically from the environmental protectionists and those who do not want growth in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong economy is more or less at full economic capacity, but further growth and expansion is still needed to provide more opportunities for future generations. Thus, while additional land can be reclaimed, the process of land reclamation should also consider environmental factors.

In addition, the Hong Kong population is growing and additional employment is needed. The economy cannot stand still, but must create more opportunities and new areas. Land reclamation can also be politicized, as controversy will arise as to which districts get more and so on. The major concern is the welfare of the more than 7 million residents in Hong Kong - not just a section of residents. The intention is to allow Hong Kong to expand its economic pie so everyone, especially future generations, can have a piece.

In fact, now is the right time for making long-term commitments in the widening of land resources because we do not face an immediate crisis. The government has the fiscal capacity for infrastructure development. Of course, one can make numerous suggestions about land reclamation. But the proposals must maximize the gains and minimize the losses. One can start by looking at the four directions of Hong Kong: east, south, west and north. In the northern part of Hong Kong, there has been talk about developing a border zone, but nothing much has been done, nor has the possibility of land reclamation been discussed.

The western part of Hong Kong has a greater chance, especially along the Pearl River Delta and the new bridge linking Hong Kong with Macao and Zhuhai. This will provide new opportunities in the western part of Guangdong. One need not destroy the coastlines, but build a man-made island outside the coast of western Tuen Mun along Urmston Road. We could also make use of Sha Chau and Lung Kwu Chau islands. A bridge or tunnel can be built to link to Tuen Mun or even the airport. The geographical location of such a man-made island will be perfect for use as a container port, as it is right outside the Pearl River. There, cargo can be delivered without passing the interior of Hong Kong. More land space will be made available for a future container port. Along with this suggestion, we could relocate the existing container ports in Tsing Yi and Stonecutters Island to the man-made island west of Tuen Mun. One can imagine the amount of land available for residential, commercial and industrial usage from the existing container port area.

What Hong Kong has most in terms of natural resources is the sea. Economic development should make a good use of the sea. In the southern part of Hong Kong, one suggestion is to make use of the few islands between the east of Lantau Island and west of Hong Kong Island. These are the three smaller islands of Peng Chau, Sunshine Island, and Hei Ling Chau, and two bigger islands of Cheung Chau and Lamma Island. Land can be reclaimed from the three smaller islands to make space.

Another viable possibility is Tolo Harbour, east of Taipo. Other than the Plover Cove Reservoir, which has to be preserved, there are four islands of Yeung Chau, Yim Tin Tsai, Ma Shi Chau and Centre Island. This area of sea is quite stable as it is limited by the Tolo Channel. One can think of the city of Amsterdam where residential buildings are separated by rivers, or Venice where river transport is needed. A "Hong Kong-Amsterdam" can be developed using these four islands for residential purposes, where buildings are separated by rivers.

In a nutshell, Hong Kong has many possibilities. Land reclamation enriches land resources. These in turn could boost growth potential and employment opportunities. Although different sectors in Hong Kong are seeking different goals, economic growth should be apolitical. It is the only way to enlarge Hong Kong's future capacity. For the sake of Hong Kong's future, let's give economic growth a chance.

The author is associate professor of the Department of Economics and Finance at City University of Hong Kong.
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Old March 14th, 2014, 04:45 PM   #1706
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Site selected to separate poultry
The Standard
Monday, March 10, 2014



Work will soon start on a center in Ta Kwu Ling to segregate local and mainland poultry.

"Basically we have identified the site," Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man said yesterday.

"The construction work involved is still under discussion. But if we are to complete all the work as planned, it may require more than four months.

"It is necessary for the site to have a water and sewage system first before we start importing chickens in four months. The other construction work can be done later even after the center comes into use."

The site will be used to temporary store and check local chickens when the Cheung Sha Wan market is closed. The chickens will then be transported directly to retail markets.

"We do not need to use this emergency plan if the imported live poultry test negative for H7 when the import of mainland chickens resumes in four months. It will be used only if Cheung Sha Wan market has to be closed should any chicken be found to have H7."

Ko said although the construction work schedule has been set, he cannot guarantee the holding center can be completed in time.

"Our target is to resume the import of live chickens in four months."

Ko said the long-term target of a segregation center needs more time for discussion.
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Old March 16th, 2014, 01:03 PM   #1707
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Plan to double Lamma Island's population stokes fears over higher ferry fares
15 March 2014
South China Morning Post

A development plan for a quarry on Lamma that would almost double the population of the island has triggered concern over transport, with warnings of higher ferry fares or bigger subsidies for the operator.

Members of the Town Planning Board raised concerns at a meeting yesterday, a day after the government unveiled a revised scheme for the 20-hectare site on the northern coast of Sok Kwu Wan. The project would include homes for 5,000 people and a tourist resort. A public consultation was launched yesterday and runs until May 17.

Questioned about the plans and their impact on transport by board members, government consultant Theresa Yeung Wing-shan said ferry services between Central and Sok Kwu Wan would have to run every half hour. On weekdays, ferries run at 11/2 to two-hour intervals now. Ferries run more frequently between Central and Yung Shue Wan, the island's most populous area.

A new ferry pier would serve the development, meaning the Sok Kwu Wan ferry would make an extra stop, said Yeung, who works for Arup, the engineering firm working on the project. But board members raised concerns about the service and its likely cost. "You can't simply require the ferries to run more frequently. It needs an operator willing to do this business. Outlying island routes have been operating at a loss for years," said board member Roger Luk Koon-ho.

The government has set aside HK$190 million in the next three years to subsidise six loss-making outlying island ferry routes, including the Central to Sok Kwu Wan service operated by Hong Kong and Kowloon Ferry.

Board vice-chairman Stanley Wong Yuen-fai questioned whether fares would have to go up. Fellow member Janice Lai Wai-man asked if the extra services would mean the government having to raise subsidies.

But Yeung said it was wrong to assume the route would remain unprofitable given the expanded customer base. The ferry operator wants to raise the one-way fare between Sok Kwu Wan and Central from HK$19.80 to HK$21 from Mondays to Saturdays and from HK$28 to HK$29.80 on Sundays and public holidays.

Some 1,200 private flats and 700 subsidised flats under the Home Ownership Scheme would be built, taking Lamma's population from 5,900 to nearly 11,000.
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Old March 17th, 2014, 08:11 PM   #1708
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High costs mean Lamma housing plan doesn’t add up
15 March 2014
South China Morning Post

An early spanner has been thrown into government plans to provide housing for 5,000 people in a 20-hectare development to be built on the site of the old quarry adjacent to Sok Kwu Wan on Lamma island.

The idea is that one third of the new residents would live in subsidised housing, and the development would also feature a resort with a 260-room hotel and centres for outdoor recreation and water sports.

On RTHK’s Backchat programme, Roger Nissim said the plan was unviable. “Nobody has spoken to the developers,” said Nissim, a land and planning consultant who worked for the Lands Department for 20 years. He told Lai See that construction costs had gone up 60-70 per cent over the past three years. Land cost for a conventional site was between HK$3,000 and 4,000 per square foot, but would be higher for this site given that it is a remote area and material would have to be shipped in. Also, a sewage treatment system along with water and electricity supplies would be needed, and a pier constructed.

He points out that with flats in Discovery Bay selling for between HK$6,500 and 7,000 per square foot, a developer of the Sok Kwu Wan site would be paying close to that for construction and infrastructure alone. He also poured cold water on the idea of having people in subsidised housing. He said travelling from the island to the urban centres involved significant travel costs.

So we wonder why the Planning Department seems to think this is such a good idea. It is well known that this government is desperate to find housing sites. The Sok Kwu Wan plan appears to be a reflection of that desperation and pressure from the Housing Bureau and Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to find sites.
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Old March 18th, 2014, 06:11 PM   #1709
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PLA HQ recladding
3/17

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Old March 21st, 2014, 05:13 PM   #1710
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Pressure on MTR over pace of property rollout
3 March 2014
South China Morning Post

Corporation could be asked to surrender the right to develop property on top of its train stations

The MTR Corporation could be asked to surrender the right to develop property on top of stations should it fail to roll out projects in a more orderly manner in the next two to three years.

The warning by Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po yesterday came just days after he expressed dissatisfaction with the railway company for not doing enough to help the government ease the housing shortage.

In a TVB interview yesterday, Chan also said the government was negotiating with the corporation over the fate of a site in Tin Shui Wai that the MTR Corp had planned for private housing. The government wants to reclaim it for public housing development, after two failed attempts by the company to find a contractor.

He declined to discuss what options were being considered for the site, but did reject suggestions put forward by some critics that the government should offer the MTR Corp another site elsewhere for developing property.

Speaking after the TVB interview, Chan said: “We are talking with the MTR Corp with the aim of enabling its property projects to be rolled out in a more orderly way in coming years. We understand that is also its objective. Both of us are working hard together [towards that aim].”

Asked if the government would consider taking back property development rights from the railway company, Chan said he would not comment at this stage but added: “I can tell you that we have done many studies and preparatory work [on this issue].” He said it involved very complicated legal issues.

A corporation spokesman said the so-called railway-property model had worked effectively for decades and provided tens of thousands of homes.

It is government policy to grant the MTR Corp the right to develop property atop stations as a means to subsidise its rail development projects, which involve huge capital investment and are not always financially viable.

One example of an MTR property project in recent years is Lohas Park, at Lohas Park station.

Last week, Chan said the railway company had not been doing enough to help solve the city’s housing shortage, and asked the MTR Corp to “try harder”. Such criticism was seen as unusual, given the government is a major shareholder in the company.

The MTR Corp has not launched a single project in the past three years, with its projects often receiving a tepid response at tender.

The latest failure saw the corporation withdraw in January a project at Tin Wing light rail station in Tin Shui Wai, saying all three bids it received failed to satisfy the financial requirements.

It was the corporation’s second attempt to put the project out to tender.
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Old March 24th, 2014, 06:03 PM   #1711
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Ma On Shan site draws keen response but Peng Chau plot fails to excite
22 March 2014
South China Morning Post


Ma On Shan plot



The tender for two residential sites in Ma On Shan and Peng Chau received sharply different responses from the market yesterday, in a sign that developers are less interested in suburban sites, given poor sentiment.

A spokesman for the Lands Department said the site in Ma On Shan attracted 11 bidders, but the small Peng Chau site received only three bids.

"I'm not surprised that the Peng Chau site received three bids as the housing demand is limited to local people on the island only and the construction cost is higher than that in inland [areas]," said surveyor Albert So Chun-hin.

Developers have to take on a higher investment risk for this kind of development under the shadow of a weakening property market. He said it clearly affected the interest of developers.

The Peng Chau site at Kau Yuk Road covers an area of 18,751 square feet and could provide a gross floor area of 14,063 sqft. It is worth HK$19.68 million to HK$30 million, or HK$1,400 to HK$2,133 per square foot.

The sites in Peng Chau attracted large developers such as Sino Land to join the bidding in 2012. But the developer was not present yesterday.

The last site in Peng Chau sold for HK$31 million or HK$2,153 per square foot in September 2012.

"The location of the site is far away from the pier and Tung Wan. The view of the site is poor. It affected developers' interests," said Vincent Cheung Kiu-cho, national director of Greater China at consultant Cushman & Wakefield.

Surveyors estimated the Ma On Shan site could range between HK$1.72 billion and HK$3 billion, or between HK$4,000 and HK$7,200 per square foot.

The 405,803 sqft site in front of Double Cove, a new residential project, could yield a maximum gross floor area of 430,560 sqft.

It attracted bids from Cheung Kong, Kerry Properties, KWah International, K&K Property and the joint venture of Paliburg and Regal Hotels International. The developers of Double Cove, New World Development and Henderson Land Development, also teamed up to join the bidding.

Quinly Wan Tsz-mei, general manager of KWah Real Estate, said the company joined the bidding as the site could develop a low-density project with landscape development.
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Old March 25th, 2014, 02:29 PM   #1712
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PolyU Student Residence in Ho Man Tin
3/18

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Old March 26th, 2014, 02:26 PM   #1713
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Ma On Shan site bags far less than 2012 plot
The Standard
Wednesday, March 26, 2014



Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) paid HK$1.85 billion yesterday for a residential plot in Ma On Shan - 18 percent less than a similar site nearby, tendered in late 2012.

Costing an average of HK$4,241 per buildable square foot, the price of the 405,803 sq ft plot at Whitehead also came in below most market estimates.

Surveyor estimates for the plot ranged between HK$1.72 billion-HK$2.58 billion.

Outbidding 10 other, the world's third largest developer plans to invest HK$5 billion in a low-rise development at the site, deputy managing director Victor Lui Ting said.

Alvin Lam Tsz-pun, director at Midland Surveyors, said the proposed project reflects that flat supply in the district is sufficient. Henderson Land Development (0012) still has three new phases to launch at Double Cove.

Cushman & Wakefield's national director of Greater China Vincent Cheung Kiu- cho said the price was good considering as much as HK$5,160 per buildable sq ft was paid for a nearby plot in November, 2012.

Cheung Kong Holdings (0001) paid more than HK$2.9 billion for a residential site in Lok Wo Sha, 5 percent above market estimates then. Cheung said developers had submitted a lower bid as future developments on the former Whitehead Club premises are likely to block the view.

Also yesterday, a small 18,751 sq ft residential site on Peng Chau was awarded to Fame State Investments Limited - controlled by the son of Chan Cheuk-yin, vice chairman of Agile Property Holdings (3383) - for HK$21 million, or HK$1,493 per buildable sq ft, within estimations.

Regal Hotels International Holdings (0078) and affiliate Paliburg Holdings (0617) also won the 110-unit project on Shun Ning Road of the Urban Renewal Authority.

In the primary home market, Sino Land (0083) sales director Victor Tin Siu-yuen expects to launch the 1,091-unit low-rise development at Pak Shek Kok, Tai Po - Mayfair I & I I - by the next quarter.

Part of the project is a joint venture with KWah International Holdings (0173).

Cheung Kong is to sell the first 216 flats at Trinity Towers in Cheung Sha Wan this Saturday
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Old March 27th, 2014, 09:44 AM   #1714
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Baptist fights on for teaching hospital
The Standard
Thursday, March 27, 2014

Baptist University said yesterday it will continue to push its proposal for a Chinese medicine teaching hospital after the Town Planning Board resumed the use of part of a site in Kowloon Tong.

Following a six-day meeting, the board decided to keep the southern portion of the former Lee Wai Lee campus for "government, institution or community use."

The government earlier suggested rezoning the site for residential use while the Education Bureau was considering whether to use it for a school for children with special needs.

Baptist University vice chancellor and president Albert Chan Sun-chi said in a written statement that the council remains keen to engage in a dialogue with the government in the hope that the site will be considered for the university's long-term development.

He said the university has submitted a master plan for the integrated redevelopment of the whole site to the government. It will include a 1,700-place student dormitory, a Chinese medicine teaching hospital and a center for education.

Town Planning Board spokesman Louis Kau Kin-hong said it received 25,843 valid deliberations on the issue, with many against the rezoning compared to just 11 in favor of it.

"Considering all suggestions, expressions and government information, we agreed to keep it for government, institutional and community use," Kau said.

The board said its decision had not been influenced by government plans for special education needs, as it was not the only factor.

Chan welcomed the decision, adding there should be more discussion on which location will be the best for the special needs school.

Asked whether Baptist has won the battle, its council chairman, Cheng Yan-kee, said it was just a town planning procedure.
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Old March 28th, 2014, 06:28 PM   #1715
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Cold water poured on uni's hospital dream
The Standard
Friday, March 28, 2014

Baptist University's plan to build a Chinese medicine hospital on a controversial site in Kowloon Tong site has failed to gain any traction.

Health chief Ko Wing-man said such a hospital will be built instead in Tseung Kwan O with the participation of universities.

This comes after the Town Planning Board decided to keep the southern site of the former Lee Wai Lee campus for government, institution or community use. That followed the administration changing its mind about rezoning it for residential use.

Ko was referring to a Tseung Kwan O site that was originally earmarked for private hospital development.

He said the administration is aiming to seek a non- governmental organization to run the hospital, with universities providing the training in Chinese medicine.

"We truly hope the universities can join and lead the hospital to become a platform on collaboration of Chinese and Western medicine and a platform for teaching, clinics and scientific research on Chinese medicine," Ko said.

The treatment of strokes, chronic pain and terminal cancer could be provided, though Ko said health planners had open mind on possibilities.

"As we hope to partner with an NGO to run the hospital, we would fully consider the affordability of patients in respect to fees and charges," Ko added.

A spokesman for Baptist University said: "We believe Hong Kong needs more than one Chinese medicine hospital."

While the university has long eyed the Lee Wai Lee site to develop a Chinese medicine teaching hospital, the Education Bureau is considering it for a special education school.

Commentator Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, City University's chair professor of political science, said the administration was being pressured by public opinion when it abandoned its plan to rezone the site for residential use.

"I don't think it is a setback to Baptist University as it has won the first stage of the battle, and it has a fair chance to get the land," Cheng added.
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Old March 30th, 2014, 10:28 AM   #1716
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Villagers and governmentlocked in land ‘game’
29 March 2014
South China Morning Post

Chief of a Sai Kung village exaggerates demand for land to build houses, while government drafts plan for park without verifying demands

A village chief has dismissed the government’s allocation of land for village houses as a bargaining game, as the Planning Department conceded there had been no verification of villagers’ demands when drafting a plan for an enclave in Sai Kung East Country Park.

“Of course I have asked for more than the actual need. It’s only a game,” said Kong Sai-ying, a Tung A village representative.

The government would never agree to the full amount of land demanded by a village chief, so he could only bargain for more by asking for more, Kong said. “To me, the number is meaningless.”

His comments came as the Town Planning Board agreed yesterday to increase the existing zone by 1.98 hectares for 79 new indigenous houses in Tung A and Pak A villages. The government had previously decided not to incorporate the enclave into the country park without giving a specific explanation. In a paper submitted to the board for discussion yesterday, the department said village representatives had asked for 80 and 148 housing sites in Tung A and Pak A respectively.

Those estimates covered demand from 148 male indigenous villagers living overseas who have drafted plans for building new houses in the two villages within 10 years. “The number is just a rough estimate. Many of the next generation are staying in the UK and are unsure if they will come back,” Kong said. The villages currently have only about 50 residents in total.

The department said Tung A villagers had previously asked for just eight housing sites and it had not verified whether plans had been drafted by villagers for each requested site. “The latest figure of 80 … is based on a village representative’s latest communication with villagers but there is no verification by a district land officer,” the department wrote.

The additional requested land would satisfy about 35 per cent of the total 10-year demand forecast for small houses in the area, a popular hiking destination south of the High Island Reservoir.

But Kong said he had no objections. “It’s hard to realise our right [to build a three-storey house] these days and I have to face that reality.” He said there was little flat land in the area, making the construction of small houses very costly.

Under the new outline zoning plan, to be presented to the District Council and Heung Yee Kuk for consultation, village land will account for about 17 per cent of the enclave. Green-belt land will account for more than 65 per cent, while 13 per cent will be designated as a coastal protection area.
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Old March 31st, 2014, 12:52 PM   #1717
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Desalination assessment in the pipeline
The Standard
Monday, March 31, 2014

The technical assessment of desalinated seawater will be conducted early next year, says Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah.

The assessment will include the desalination process - the process of extracting freshwater from seawater - and the intake of seawater.

Writing in his personal blog, Tsang said that Hong Kong lacks freshwater resources and desalinated seawater may become an important water resource in future.

The desalination plant in Tseung Kwan O will open in 2020 at the earliest.

The plant will have an output capacity of 50 million cubic meters per annum, with provisions for future expansion to 90 million.

Based on the projected population of about 7.6 million in 2020, the plant will meet about 5 percent of total demand by that time.

Tsang said extreme weather is becoming more frequent due to climate change.

Besides affecting the local catchment, it also affects the water sourced from Dongjiang that supplies 70 to 80 percent of Hong Kong's water. He said this water source is of great importance in the Greater Pearl River Delta as it supplies other cities in Guangdong including Shenzhen and Dongguan.

These cities make increasing demands on Dongjiang water.

"Hong Kong as a member in the economic zone in the Greater Pearl River Delta should not be overreliant on water from the Dongjiang, but should bear the responsibility to explore other new water sources, to prepare for the challenges of water supply in the future."

Tsang said the Water Supplies Department has been monitoring the development of reverse osmosis - a new technology to remove salt from seawater.

In 2007 the department confirmed the feasibility of using this technology to produce water that reaches drinking water standards of the World Health Organization.

He said the department has reserved a 10-hectare site in Tseung Kwan O to build a desalination plant.

In 2012, the government started to study the cost- effectiveness and the feasibility of water transmission facilities' construction as well as the evaluation of the construction such as the impact to the environment, transportation and drainage.

The desalination technology has developed quickly so the cost to produce water has declined from HK$35 in the 1970s to HK$12 per cubic meter at present.

Although it is still a bit more expensive than other water sources, it is still acceptable, he said.
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Old April 3rd, 2014, 12:05 PM   #1718
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Chan denies homes policy end
The Standard
Thursday, April 03, 2014

Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po said the "Hong Kong land for Hong Kong people" policy has not been scrapped although the market has stabilized.
Home purchases by non-locals only accounted for just 2 percent last year following the implementation from October 2012 of two property curbs including the Buyer's Stamp Duty and the Special Stamp Duty, he told lawmakers yesterday.

Thus, Chan said, there was no urgent need to further release sites or come up with "Hong Kong land for Hong Kong people" legislation. A pilot scheme was implemented at two residential sites in Kai Tak sold to state-owned China Overseas Land & Investment (0688) in June.

"But we have never said [the policy] has come to an end or has been shelved," he added.

The comments come a day after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said there are less foreign buyers in the property market and more measures can be put forward when necessary.

Lawmaker and Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing complained the measure is as good as gone. The Civic Party's Kwok Ka-ki criticized the government for suddenly freezing the measure as its not even sure if current home supplies will prove sufficient.

Home transactions fell 30.7 percent in March from a year back to 3,141 deals, the Land Registry said yesterday. This also represents a 0.6 percent drop from February and a third consecutive month decrease after rising to a high annual monthly record of 4,667 deals in December. Total transaction value fell 2.5 percent month on month to HK$20.6 billion. In particular, secondary homeowners continued to offload their flats with price cuts. A 1,397 square-feet flat at Scenic Garden in Mid-levels West was sold for HK$25 million after the price was cut by HK$1.8 million.

The commercial property market, meanwhile, saw the 20,000-sq-ft former Kingswood Richly Plaza in Tin Shui Wai being subdivided into a total of 189 100-sq-ft units put up for sale at around HK$1 million with rental yield reaching as high as 5 percent yield, agents said.
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Old April 4th, 2014, 05:18 AM   #1719
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Schools or homes, city planners must strike a balance
4 April 2014
South China Morning Post

Even the supposed havens from development, our country parks, are not safe from the probing search to identify land to meet Hong Kong's future housing needs. So when it comes to a prime vacant site among the universities, schools and kindergartens in the upscale residential area of Kowloon Tong, only a brave man would bet against a flats development winning out in the zoning process. In this case he would have won the bet. But it is really a story that illustrates the difficulty of striking a balance between competing social needs.

After withdrawing the former Institute of Vocational Education site from the land sales list, the government did not drop an application for residential rezoning. In the end the Town Planning Board retained the zoning for educational purposes in a six-day closed hearing.

Meanwhile, the Education Bureau had revealed interest in building a 24-classroom special-needs school on the site. The board has, understandably, called on officials to communicate better on zoning, while defending a consultation on residential zoning because the land was lying idle. The future of the site next to Baptist University is far from settled, pending a further consultation and a final government decision. The university wants it for a Chinese-medicine teaching hospital for students who currently have to go to the mainland for an internship, plus a 1,700-student hostel and a general education centre. It would also be open to internships by Chinese medicine students at the University of Hong Kong and Chinese University.

A residential development on such a prime site is unlikely to have improved the supply of affordable housing. Nonetheless the affair is a reminder that housing and education are equally critical social infrastructure and that it is not the last time that planners will have to strike a balance. In this case 28,000 registered objections played a part in the demise of the flats plan. Given the shortage of schools to cater for legitimate special needs, it is to be hoped that public sentiment does not weigh unduly against the Education Bureau's plan.
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Old April 4th, 2014, 05:21 AM   #1720
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Visionary, Tung Chung
4/2


IMG_6830 by Jon Whitton, on Flickr
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