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Old November 1st, 2008, 09:54 PM   #21
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天水圍濕地公園對開兩地改用途,區內潛在私樓供應減3800伙
(經濟通)10月27日

天水圍濕地公園對開兩幅用地,原可作住宅發展,但現時政府計劃有變,其中第115區用地交予房協發展長者屋,而第112區用地則作建造業訓練中心及商業區,作五年短期出租,令該區潛在私人樓宇供應大減3800伙。

按政府原擬定的規劃,天水圍區未來最少有4幅用地,可供興建私樓之用,其中兩幅為港鐵(00066)代為招標出售,包括輕鐵天水圍站上蓋項目,可建1600伙,以及西鐵天水圍站上蓋項目,可建2500伙,兩地暫時未落實招標日期。

至於另外兩幅可供私樓發展用地,坐落於濕地公園對開,分別為天水圍第112區及115區,均為政府用地,並規劃為「綜合發展區」,分別佔地91﹒6萬及69萬平方呎。

早前經規劃署就兩地用途檢討後,為要配合濕地公園的設計規範,降低兩地的發展密度,由地積比約2倍減至1﹒5倍,兩地可建樓面面積共240﹒9萬平方呎,提供3800伙,政府原計劃把該兩幅用地加入勾地表內,供發展商申請。

天水圍第112區及115區兩幅用地,曾一度計劃最早可於2007至2008年度列入勾地表內供申請,但一直未有落實。

及至近日,兩地的發展出現變數,發展局局長林鄭月娥於本月中宣布,坐落於濕地公園以南的天水圍115區,整幅佔地69萬平方呎用地,獲行政會議原則上同意透過換地批予房協,並發展有「富貴長者屋」之稱的綜合長者社區計劃,預算可於明年開始動工,5至6年後竣工。

《香港經濟日報》
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Old November 1st, 2008, 09:59 PM   #22
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施政報告:天水圍興建醫院料2015年落成
(星島)10月15日 星期三 12:42

行政長官曾蔭權今早在立法會發表新一份的《施政報告》。曾蔭權表示,天水圍新市鎮近年發展迅速,因應該區的服務需求,我們計劃在天水圍興建一所醫院,加強區內的醫療服務。預計工程可在2011年展開,並於2015年完成。
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Old November 13th, 2008, 04:11 PM   #23
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Clean, green and friendly - new towns won't be modelled on the past
13 November 2008
South China Morning Post

The government will join landowners to develop three new towns in northeast New Territories to create low-carbon-producing communities, it says in a consultation paper to be discussed by the Town Planning Board tomorrow.

Citing the undesirable example of Tin Shui Wai - an isolated town which lacks employment opportunities and has been the site of several suicides - the government said plans for the new towns would be people-oriented. The paper, to be released for a one-month public consultation after the board gives its views, also proposes different forms of partnerships with landowners.

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, in his policy address delivered last year, said the government would press ahead with new developments in Kwu Tung North, Fanling North and an area covering Ping Che and Ta Kwu Ling.

The new developments, aimed at creating communities that will contain 180,000 people, were initiated in the 1990s but were shelved in 2003 as population growth and housing demand slowed.

The paper highlighted potential uses like mixed-residential developments, tertiary educational facilities and special industries. The Planning Department said the new towns would be no more than a quarter of the size of present similar towns and a low-carbon economy would be promoted.

Consideration would be given to treating sewage produced by the new towns for reuse, and rubbish recycling, renewable energy and non-fossil-fuel-based transport like walking, cycling and railway transport would also be encouraged.

Recreational and social facilities for non-working mothers and young people would be provided.

The department said the new towns would be integrated with developments in Lok Ma Chau Loop and the new border crossing at Heung Yuen Wai.

Given that most land in the area is privately owned, the government will propose eight models of public-private partnership to choose from. For example, landowners are encouraged to submit development proposals and set up a development company to participate in new projects.

In some models, private developers are allowed to amalgamate private land for development consistent with government plans. The government might also build a business park or technology park to attract more private investments in the new towns.

Frank Chan Shung-fai, chairman of Ta Kwu Ling District Rural Committee, said three types of non-polluting land use, including fashion outlets, medical tourism and a software centre, had emerged from discussions among villagers there.

Mr Chan said residents mainly preferred either selling their land to the government or submitting development proposals. "Many of us want to contribute ideas and participate in the development, because our roots are here," he said.

Ng Mee-kam, associate professor in urban planning and design at University of Hong Kong, said local partnerships could help to avoid creating an isolated dead space, but to preserve community networks and raise sense of ownership.

According to the government, development plans will be drafted next year and detailed plans will be ready by 2010. The new towns are expected to be established by 2019.
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Old December 2nd, 2008, 03:39 AM   #24
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Idea of HK-Shenzhen financial zone praised
Economists hail proposed border precinct

14 November 2008
South China Morning Post

A financial co-operation zone between Hong Kong and Shenzhen will be a big step forward, but its success will depend on what schemes Beijing will allow, economists and industry players say.

They were commenting after Shenzhen Deputy Mayor Li Feng vowed to work more closely with the Hong Kong government to battle the financial crisis and set a long-term objective of building a financial co-operation zone straddling the border, for which he said a number of pilot schemes would be launched.

He said such a zone could provide experience "for opening up of the whole nation's financial sector".

Mr Li was speaking at a meeting at which Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen and Shenzhen Mayor Xu Zongheng also signed five new agreements on issues including development of the Lok Ma Chau Loop, tourism and education.

Mr Li also pledged to expand yuan business in Hong Kong, pushing for development of a system that would allow payments for imported goods to be settled in yuan, and to encourage more Shenzhen companies to seek a public listing in Hong Kong.

Economists and financial industry players applauded the move towards a financial co-operation zone, describing it as a big step forward in the mainland's efforts to open up its financial sector.

They said both cities as well as the whole Pearl River Delta would benefit from it, but the key for its success was how many high-level schemes the central government would allow.

"At the initial stage, the co-operation is expected to be limited to services that are simple and easily regulated," said Qu Jian, director of the China Development Institute's Shenzhen Economic Research Centre. He said the central government would not allow activities that could have a huge and abrupt impact on the whole nation's financial sector, because of Beijing's capital controls.

In August last year, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange unveiled a policy that would allow mainland residents to trade Hong Kong stocks themselves under a pilot scheme. However, the "through-train" programme was vetoed by the central government, worried that a huge capital outflow would undermine the mainland market.

Stanley Wong Yuen-fai, an executive director at ICBC (Asia), said it would be hard to establish a physical platform for co-operation in financial areas. "Some co-operation, such as linking the settlement networks of Hong Kong and Shenzhen, would facilitate some transactions conducted in both areas in light of closer economic integration between Hong Kong and the mainland," he said.

Daniel Chan Po-ming, a senior investment strategist at DBS Bank (Hong Kong), said the benefits could be great if the scheme allowed capital to flow in and out of Shenzhen, but this would not be easy to achieve.

"Something like allowing Hong Kong companies to borrow money in the mainland with their Hong Kong assets as collateral would provide much smaller benefits to the city," Mr Chan said.
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Old December 9th, 2008, 04:46 PM   #25
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Loop must wait until 2020 for roads, drains
8 December 2008
South China Morning Post

A border site proposed as Hong Kong's answer to Silicon Valley will only get basic roads and drainage by 2020 - 23 years after the area was made available for development.

The timetable, highlighted by a senior official yesterday during a seminar on proposals to develop the Lok Ma Chau Loop area, drew immediate criticism.

Samson Tam Wai-ho, who represents the information technology sector in the Legislative Council, said: "Ten years from now technology might have developed to a level beyond our imagination. I am not amused to hear that we have to wait until 2020 to have some basic things for a hi-tech hub."

Wong Chung-kiu, of the Hong Kong Computer Society, also said the government should not miss the chance to develop the border site.

The Loop - a pocket of land on the border - covers 84 hectares. It was part of Shenzhen before 1997 but came under Hong Kong jurisdiction after flood prevention work saw the Shenzhen River straightened.

How the loop should be developed has been hotly debated. Previous proposals included developing a light-industry estate or a residential complex for the elderly.

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen announced in his policy address last year that the area would be developed with Shenzhen as one of 10 major infrastructure projects.

But it was not until last month that Hong Kong and Shenzhen signed an agreement to study the development of the site jointly. Three options were agreed - using the land for higher education, for hi-tech research or for creative industries.

Permanent Secretary for Development Raymond Young Lap-moon told yesterday's seminar at City University that construction of infrastructure could start in 2015 and be completed in early 2020.

Legislator Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, also the convenor of the Lok Ma Chau Loop Development Alliance, said she was shocked by the timetable.

But Mr Young said the timetable took into account the normal procedures and added: "We have not [yet] gone into details with Shenzhen."
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Old December 15th, 2008, 06:37 AM   #26
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Consultant sought to advise on Lok Ma Chau Loop toxic mud
2 December 2008
South China Morning Post

The government is seeking a consultant to study ways of handling a vast amount of putrid mud dumped on the Lok Ma Chau Loop, the piece of border land that has been selected as a key site for development.

The mud, dumped on the land sliced off from Shenzhen during straightening of the heavily polluted Shenzhen River in the 1990s, is a major obstacle to plans to develop the loop for higher education, hi-tech research and creative industries.

The Planning Department said in a paper issued yesterday that a contaminated-soil assessment would be made as part of a year-long planning and engineering study to be launched in the middle of next year.

The document, prepared for consultants interested in taking on the job, says the project will include a study of how mud can be treated on the site, and how it can be disposed of, if that is not possible.

The study will also look into the amount of contaminated mud and the level of the contamination.

The consultant is advised to investigate options that minimise dredging and decide the best way of transporting the mud.

The Development Bureau and its Shenzhen counterpart decided last month to press ahead with development of the loop, which is owned by Shenzhen but under Hong Kong administration because it now lies south of the river.

Earlier planning studies have estimated that more than 4 million cubic metres of mud was dumped in the area, a quarter of which was contaminated, which would cost billions of dollars to treat on-site.

A leading environmentalist, Man Chi-sum, said treating the contaminated mud on-site was preferable but more costly and time-consuming, which might defer future development.

But Dr Man, chief executive officer of Green Power, objected to the idea of dumping the mud in seabed pits off Chek Lap Kok - used for contaminated mud dredged from sites within Hong Kong - saying that the toxic chemicals could threaten the habitat of Chinese white dolphins in the area.

"One possibility is to transport the mud to Guangzhou for treatment at its mud-treating facilities. But it should be closely monitored," he said, adding that both governments should share the cost.
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 09:58 AM   #27
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Taking toxic mud from Loop 'a risk to bird life'
1 January 2009
South China Morning Post

Fish ponds adjoining the Mai Po wetlands - and the waterfowl they support - could be threatened by the removal of a million cubic metres of toxic mud from the Lok Ma Chau Loop to allow development of the site, the government admits.

The health of site workers and future users of the area could also be at risk, it says.

Plans to clear the toxic mud are likely to include dumping it in underwater pits to be excavated at Sha Chau. But that area adjoins a habitat of the endangered Chinese white dolphin.

Green groups say the contaminated soil should be treated on site.

The Lok Ma Chau Loop is a 96-hectare site created by the straightening in the 1990s of the Shenzhen River which marks Hong Kong's border with the mainland. While the site is on the mainland side of the river, it is Hong Kong territory.

The Hong Kong and Shenzhen governments have agreed to jointly develop 84 hectares of it for higher education, hi-tech research and creative industries.

The mud is contaminated with chromium, copper, zinc, lead and inorganic materials from industrial waste discharged into the river. The toxic mud is in abandoned fish ponds which have been covered over.

In a project profile detailing the impact of development, the Civil Engineering and Development Department said there was a risk that pollutants from the toxic mud could leak into the wetlands nearby.

The site is close to the WWF's Mai Po nature reserve, the Inner Deep Bay site of special scientific interest and the wetlands at Hoo Hok Wai. The area is a globally significant habitat for migrating water birds and for indigenous wildlife. It is also home to the last population of Eurasian otters in southern China.

The department said the water quality of Deep Bay could be further degraded if contaminated sediment leaked during construction work. Mitigation measures would be adopted to avoid leaks, including avoiding excavation in the rainy season.

The profile, submitted to the Environmental Protection Department yesterday, will be considered as part of the environmental impact assessment for the project.

Last month, the Planning Department commissioned consultants to study ways to treat the toxic mud.

The consultants will study how much it would cost and how long it would take to treat the mud on site, where to dispose of it if it is removed and how to replace the material removed.

Meanwhile, the Development Bureau said it would create four more mud pits at Sha Chau, north of Chek Lap Kok, where contaminated mud dredged from the city's container port is dumped.

Alan Leung Sze-lun, WWF senior conservation officer, said Sha Chau and The Brothers islands nearby were the only dump sites available and both were significant dolphin habitats.

He said treating the mud on site seemed the best option, though it would cost more.

Man Chi-sum, chief executive of another environmental group, Green Power, said new development should not be undertaken at the expense of the city's marine environment.

"Toxic mud should not be dumped into our waters any more. It is in conflict with the government spending billions of dollars to improve the harbour's water quality," he said. The mud could be purified on site, transported to a mud-treating facility in Guangzhou or burned in an incinerator.
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Old January 7th, 2009, 11:58 AM   #28
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Gov't Press Release:
LCQ12: North East New Territories New Development Areas
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Old February 16th, 2009, 05:47 PM   #29
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Delta team to promote financial co-operation
22 January 2009
South China Morning Post

Hong Kong and Guangdong finally agreed yesterday to set up a taskforce to promote monetary co-operation after years of discussions, in an attempt to facilitate cross-border capital flow.

Making the announcement after meeting Guangdong Vice-Governor Wan Qingliang, Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen said: "The taskforce will work on a number of projects; in the long run, financial resources will be able to move freely in the Pearl River Delta."

A total of 21 taskforces, ranging from environment to transport, have been formed under the Guangdong-Hong Kong Joint Co-operation Conference. But none of them have dealt with financial co-operation despite years of discussions.

Both sides also agreed to set up a committee on how to implement the newly announced Pearl River Delta Development Framework, which the National Development and Reform Commission drafted to guide the delta's growth.

Experts welcomed the move, saying financial co-operation would give Hong Kong a big hinterland and eventually consolidate its status as an international financial centre.

They also said the future of Hong Kong and Guangdong were inseparable and that pursuing co-operation was the "right direction".

Charles Li Kui-wai, associate professor of City University's economics and finance department, said: "Setting up a taskforce on financial co-operation means they are narrowing down the discussion. It will be easier for them to reach a consensus."

Mr Wan, meanwhile, reiterated the provincial government would spend 1 billion yuan (HK$1.1 billion) to help Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwanese exporters through the global financial crisis.

He said the 30 rescue measures mainly focused on cutting costs, such as reducing fees and taxes, and assistance to those wanting to enter the mainland market.

The two governments also took the opportunity to map out their 2009 work plan, vowing work on the long-awaited Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai bridge would begin this year.

The Legislative Council yesterday approved HK$230 million in the first batch of funding reserved for the bridge's early design and surveying.

While both sides will speed up the Lok Ma Chau Loop's development, making it a university town, they agreed there should be a division of labour among ports and airports to ensure effective use of resources.

Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macau will examine how to set up a framework to promote co-operation in the Pearl River Delta.

"Implementing the central government's development framework for the delta is the provincial government's most important task," said Qiu Shan , professor at Guangdong's Academy of Social Sciences. "Forming a Hong Kong-Guangdong committee on the framework's execution will be beneficial to both sides."
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Old February 20th, 2009, 05:42 AM   #30
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$33m sought to draw up Lok Ma Chau Loop scheme
Hong Kong Standard
Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The government will spend HK$33.7 million to study the development of the Lok Ma Chau Loop.

After years of discussions on the Loop, both the Hong Kong and the Shenzhen governments are finally tackling the specifics of the project.

The HK$42 million planning and engineering study of the 87-hectare development will be equally shared by the two governments.

In addition to its HK$21 million share, the SAR government will also conduct a HK$12.7 million study of the area outside the loop which covers the Lok Ma Chau Terminus, Lok Ma Chau Control Point and the Kwu Tung areas.

A government spokesman said approval will be sought from the Legislative Council Finance Committee in April to obtain the HK$33.7 million needed for the endeavor which will start in June and will be completed in 28 months.

Two public consultations will be held in early 2010 and 2011 respectively and the study will be completed by late 2011.

An Environmental Impact Assessment will be carried out particularly to examine the contaminated mud under the Loop.

A government spokesman said there is no estimate at the moment on the cost of clearing the mud but it is believed to be "enormous."

"The mud-clearing cost will not hinder the development," the spokesman said. "We plan to establish universities and research institutions. I don't think the contaminated mud will affect the users much."

A Heritage Impact Assessment will also be conducted, he added.

Despite the progress, the spokesman said the ownership of the Loop has not been resolved but he believed both governments will come to an agreement in future meetings.

He added that according to the framework for the Pearl River Delta announced by the central government, the two governments can go ahead with their decisions on the Loop and need not wait for central government approval.
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Old February 27th, 2009, 10:11 AM   #31
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Study of Loop plan starts in June
18 February 2009
South China Morning Post

The government is set to begin a HK$33.7 million study in June for the proposed development of the Lok Ma Chau Loop.

The study, to be completed within 28 months, will carry out planning and technical assessments on the land use, and studies on environmental impact, cultural heritage, traffic, infrastructure, engineering, air ventilation and landscape.

A Development Bureau spokesman said yesterday that Hong Kong and Shenzhen would split the cost of the study, which was HK$42 million. Hong Kong will spend another HK$12.7 million for a study on connecting the city's neighbouring transport and infrastructure facilities with the Loop.

The study will be discussed in a Legislative Council development panel meeting on Tuesday.

The Lok Ma Chau Loop is a 96-hectare site created by the straightening in the 1990s of the Shenzhen River, which marks Hong Kong's border with the mainland. The two sides have agreed to develop 87 hectares of the site.

Last year, Hong Kong and Shenzhen agreed on developing higher education as the leading use of the Loop. It will also include hi-tech research and development facilities, and creative industries.

The two sides signed a co-operation agreement on introducing universities and research institutions of international and advanced standards into the area last month. According to the Development Bureau, the study process will be split, with the first stage focusing on planning and the second stage on engineering. Consultations with the public, the Legislative Council, Heung Yee Kuk, district councils, local communities and environmental groups will also be conducted.

The government promised that the study would not affect the environment or heritage sites.

However, it said the development and individual projects such as roads and sewage pumping stations would require an environmental impact assessment. In addition, a heritage impact assessment would also be conducted to cover all monuments and historic sites that the Antiquities and Monuments Office identified.
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Old April 29th, 2009, 09:38 AM   #32
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Officials in loop over border area land use
Hong Kong Standard
Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A competition to design a passenger terminal building for the fifth boundary control port at Laintang/Heung Yuen Wai is to be organized by Hong Kong and Shenzhen authorities.

Work on the control port, which is set to open by 2018, will start in 2013. Details of the competition will be released at a later date.

The Hong Kong-Shenzhen Joint Task Force on Boundary District Development yesterday held its third meeting in Shenzhen and a letter of intent on the use of cross-boundary land was signed. Hong Kong started a site investigation and preliminary design study on the project this month while Shenzhen will go into action later this year.

The Lok Ma Chau Loop area was also discussed, with both sides agreeing that higher education would be the leading user of the 87 hectares, complementing hi-tech research and development facilities, as well as cultural and creative industries.

The loop will be co-administered and co-developed by both sides. A government spokesman said infrastructure linking the loop and Kwu Tung will be considered as part of a comprehensive study set to start in June and be completed in 2011.

The study will include such areas as environment, transport, drainage, ventilation, landscape design and ecology.

He added 182 hectares around the loop have been identified for transportation and other support facilities. Most of the land is currently farmland and some government-owned. The spokesman, however, said it is too early to estimate how much land will be expropriated at this stage.

Both sides also agreed three smaller pieces of land along Shenzhen River will come under Hong Kong administration while five smaller lots will be administered by Shenzhen.

They have agreed to develop them into green spots, an ecological park and an artificial wetland.

Meanwhile, Lawrence Lau Juen-yee, convener of the Task Force on Economic Challenges' education focus group, said there will only be 30 hectares that can be used in the loop to build a single university on the Hong Kong side.

A government spokesman said the rest of the 57 hectares are for infrastructure and other public facilities.

Lau added that the current 18,000 university spaces can only cater for 18 percent of the population. He hopes the government will encourage development of more private universities, and allocate more land for tertiary education while facilitating current universities to expand in the Pearl River Delta region.
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Old April 29th, 2009, 01:23 PM   #33
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A third of border loop to be built on
28 April 2009
South China Morning Post

Only a third of the Lok Ma Chau Loop area will be reserved for buildings, and development will be low-density, the government said yesterday after agreeing with Shenzhen on proposed use of the loop and eight other "cross-boundary sites".

Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor signed a letter of intent with her Shenzhen counterpart yesterday on use of the sites, all of which were cut off by straightening of the Shenzhen River.

The 87-hectare Lok Ma Chau Loop and a nearby, much smaller, site - formerly calculated as part of the loop but now being treated separately - fell under Hong Kong management although they remained part of Shenzhen, while the opposite was true of the seven other sites.

Only the loop will be developed, while the others will be turned into green space, parkland or wetland.

A government spokesman said that after taking out the space for infrastructure, including road networks and utilities, the net area for buildings on the loop would be just 30 hectares.

The loop has been designated for tertiary education, hi-tech research and creative industries after a long controversy involving developers who wanted full-scale development and environmentalists who wanted none. Two connecting highways will be built to join it with urban areas, including one to the nearby town of Kwu Tung.

The government is expected to conduct a planning study in June and a concept plan will be released for public consultation early next year. The final plan is expected to be completed in 2011.

The spokesman said the Shenzhen government would participate in the study, including studying the impact of the loop's development.

"The Shenzhen authorities will have to study the traffic impact of the loop's development on the city core of Shenzhen," the spokesman said.

The other cross-boundary site under Hong Kong management, a 4.7-hectare area east of the loop, is proposed for green space.

The spokesman said the seven sites managed by Shenzhen were designated for an ecological park of about 8 hectares, some artificial wetlands of about 3.5 hectares and green space of more than 5 hectares.

A change of land use would also require agreement from both governments.

The Hong Kong-Shenzhen Joint Task Force also agreed yesterday to hold a design competition for the passenger terminal of the proposed new land border crossing dubbed the Eastern Corridor, which is expected to be completed no later than 2018.
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Old May 11th, 2009, 06:36 PM   #34
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Now PolyU says it wants to build on border loop
6 May 2009
South China Morning Post

A second Hong Kong university has voiced interest in building facilities in a no-man's land near the border.

Polytechnic University would have a proposal ready by month's end for construction on the Lok Ma Chau Loop, said president Timothy Tong Wai-cheung. He said it wanted to set up research laboratories.

"We also hope to offer programmes for students from Hong Kong and Shenzhen," Professor Tong said. "We are discussing what subjects are most suitable. Commerce, engineering and community studies will very likely be included."

Chinese University's vice-chancellor, Lawrence Lau Juen-yee, voiced a desire last month to set up facilities on the loop, which was created by straightening the Shenzhen River more than a decade ago.

The area belongs to Hong Kong but is north of the river, has no physical link to the rest of the city, and is covered in a layer of toxic sludge.

The site has been earmarked by the two cities for university facilities, research and creative industries.

Professor Tong - in charge at PolyU for four months - said its development plans included expansion in the Pearl River Delta region.

"What happens there has direct influence on Hong Kong. Although we are in Hong Kong, Polytechnic University has to be far-sighted and strengthen collaboration with local businesses and institutes in such fields as scientific research and training," he said.

Professor Tong said the university had been in contact with local governments in the delta about the development of higher education.

"Several city governments have shown interest in getting outside institutes to provide education to their residents. We are also in talks with more than one university in the delta and a concrete plan will be laid down within 12 months."

He said the university's vision for developing higher education would not be confined to the delta. "We have set up training centres in various places on the mainland, including Xian , Wuhan , Hangzhou and Shenzhen. We will keep our focus on how to develop continuing education on the mainland and won't concentrate on the delta at the expense of other places."

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen has unveiled a plan to pursue Hong Kong's long-term growth by developing services sectors including education.
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Old June 16th, 2009, 04:11 PM   #35
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Call made to a new frontier
15 June 2009
The Standard

Hong Kong should utilize the 28-hectare frontier closed area in the northern part of the New Territories as a second financial services center to manage the needs of mainlanders in Guangdong and other parts of China, Executive Council convener Leung Chun-ying said.

Leung, also the chairman of consultancy firm DZT, said the "virgin land" could be developed into a services center relating to retail, financial, accounting and even medical services.

"It would be ideal if the SAR could seek the central government's approval to allow mainlanders to enter the area visa-free," he said.

The area beside the Shenzhen river has more potential gross floor area than Hong Kong Island's eastern coast from Western District to Chai Wan, according to Leung.

As for challenges from the mainland and other nearby cities, Leung said, Hong Kong has nothing to fear.

"The comparative advantage of Hong Kong vis-a-vis both Guangdong and Taiwan are the same," he said. "We should develop these sectors robustly and be the services hub to both."

As the prime mover when it comes to measuring up against Taiwan and Guangdong, Leung added, "we do not necessarily need to compete with them but focus on value-added services."

So Hong Kong should opt for high- value-added sectors, such as professional, financial, trade, insurance and maritime services, upgrading itself and avoiding direct competition from neighboring areas that have cost-effectiveness advantages over the SAR, Leung added.

"It is not a question of what, but how," he said. "How do we lower or better still eliminate the barriers? We also need to increase our capacity."

He also said the government should be more proactive in promoting Hong Kong and supporting local firms in bidding for overseas and mainland projects through lobbying.

For example, there needs to be an effort to have more Taiwan firms listing in Hong Kong.

"CEPA 6 is good for Hong Kong," he said, referring to the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement with the mainland. "It is a government-to-government agreement and therefore requires more government- to-government input at the implementation stage. Business to government has proven not workable."

Leung, who is widely tipped to run for chief executive in the next election, also said that with just seven million people Hong Kong needed to be more focused.

"We cannot be all things to all men," he said. "We need to pick the sectors that have good potential, good value-addedness and are early wins."

The SAR had to act fast and decide on its role as the window of opportunity was limited. "We cannot spend too much time scratching our heads."

He added: "The most valuable experience is in the importance of determination and the decisiveness. We cannot be too risk- averse."
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Old July 8th, 2009, 09:23 AM   #36
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Smiles greet new Shenzhen boss
24 June 2009
The Standard

Acting Shenzhen Mayor Wang Rong has called on Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen to strengthen the partnership between the two cities .

The two leaders, meeting just 10 days after Wang's took over from his disgraced predecessor who is being held on corruption charges in the mainland, also agreed to step up the fight against cross-border drug trafficking by youngsters.

`` I especially wanted to thank Tsang for his contribution to the cooperation between the two sides,'' Wang said. ``Shenzhen-Hong Kong cooperation is meaningful.''

Wang, who also met with Chief Secretary for Administration Henry Tang Ying-yen, was Suzhou party secretary before taking up the Shenzhen post on June 13 after former mayor Xu Zongheng was fired.

Although Shenzhen has already developed into a market economy, Wang said it still lags behind Hong Kong which can offer help to its neighbor.

``The further opening of Shenzhen will also offer more opportunities to Hong Kong,'' Wang said.

The two also discussed cross- border infrastructure, speeding up the development of the Loop and allowing more Shenzhen residents to obtain multiple visit permits to Hong Kong.

Tsang said Shenzhen has always been one of the key channels through which Hong Kong could export capital, professional skills and management experience to the mainland.

``We will have even more opportunities for cooperation,'' he said.

Tsang praised Wang's contribution to the economic growth of Suzhou and Wuxi, expressing confidence that he could do even better in Shenzhen.
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Old July 9th, 2009, 01:37 PM   #37
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Delegates propose trade zone
7 March 2009
South China Morning Post

Hong Kong and Shenzhen should jointly set up a "creative free-trade zone" to develop cross-border financial services, local delegates to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference have urged.

A proposal co-signed by 108 Hong Kong and Macau delegates has been submitted to the nation's top advisory body. It was initiated by Li Guikang, deputy director of the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong, and fellow CPPCC members Zhang Guoliang and Wong Chor-bau.

The proposal suggested a 30 sq km zone in Qianhai and Houhai districts in Shenzhen, to complement the Lok Ma Chau Loop, which it said was too small.

Measures to open up financial services could be piloted in the zone, and trade settlement in yuan, free capital flow and free foreign exchange could be carried out there.

"This will provide conditions for the gradual internationalisation of renminbi," the document said.

Under the proposal, Hong Kong people would be allowed to purchase A shares and trade in mainland futures. Mainland banks could set up their southern China headquarters in the zone.

It was also suggested that measures be taken to attract Hong Kong and overseas banks.

The zone would also develop creative industries, logistics services and high-end technologies.

The zone would be administered by a semi-official governing committee jointly set up by Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

"Although its location is in Shenzhen, creative reforms to existing systems cannot be achieved if it is managed only by Shenzhen," Mr Zhang said.

"We hope new ways of thinking and new models of management can come out as Hong Kong and Shenzhen collaborate," he added.

"There are still legal problems to be solved before the idea can be realised."
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Old July 22nd, 2009, 05:29 PM   #38
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New centre already helping mentally ill
5 May 2009
South China Morning Post

A new centre for mental patients in Tin Shui Wai has already had about 30 cases since its opening in March.

The Wellness Centre provides services to people with mental illness, newly discharged mental patients, rehabilitating mental patients and those suspected to have mental problems. Its offices are still under renovation and will be ready in October.

"We have two social workers at the centre and they mostly do home visits and counselling at their clients' homes, so the renovation problem does not affect our work badly. The social workers also have to hold activities to strengthen mutual aid in the community," centre co-ordinator Bonnie Leung Yin-ling said.

The centre, operated by the New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association, receives HK$3 million a year from the Social Welfare Department.

"The establishment of the centre in a way strengthens services for mental patients of different kinds in the community, as our centre only serves clients in Tin Shui Wai and does not have to take cases from other districts," Ms Leung said.

The Society of Rehabilitation and Crime Prevention, a non-government organisation, previously handled suspected mental cases in both Tin Shui Wai and Yuen Long. Ng Wang-tsang, chief executive of the society, said it handled about 150 cases from October 2007 until March.

"Our observations showed that the demand for our service was stronger in Tin Shui Wai than in Yuen Long. Of the cases we handled, approximately 70 per cent were from Tin Shui Wai."

Mr Ng explained that the profile of the population in the new town was one of the reasons for strong demand for the service. "There are many new arrivals living in Tin Shui Wai and some find it difficult to adjust to the way of life in Hong Kong, and some might have mental problems."
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Old July 24th, 2009, 07:58 PM   #39
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Landowners open to partnerships, but only for creative industries
13 April 2009
South China Morning Post

A group of landowners in the northeastern New Territories have responded to the government's call for partnerships to develop their properties. But they have stressed that they want their land used to develop creative industries, rather than more apartments or container storage lots.

Lam Kam-kwai has submitted a proposal to the Planning Department, which is now drafting an outline development plan for the combined areas of Ping Che and Ta Kwu Ling, one of the three designated new towns and where he lives. The other two areas are Kwu Tung North and Fanling North.

The 23 hectares that Mr Lam and 17 other villagers own make up about 10 per cent of the 225-hectare new town site. Their lots were pooled under a company called North East Holding, which leases the former farmland to operators of war game venues, plant nurseries and container storage lots.

"This is just a short-term measure, since we don't want to leave our land idle," said Mr Lam, who is also vice-chairman of the Ta Kwu Ling Rural Committee. "We want to work with the government to figure out a long-term plan to turn it into a place of job opportunities."

Their land could be used to develop creative industries, or a business park, to do research and development on new products like electric cars, Mr Lam said.

"There's no space in urban areas. We could charge a lower rent, say HK$10 per square foot," he said.

Under his proposal, landlords would sell some of their land rights to the government, and some would go into a listed development company. The government's shares could be put on the market for public investors. The plan would need better transport links, he added, but the government had planned only one railway station for Kwu Tung North.

"We hope to contribute to society in another way," he said. "We don't want to sell it to developers to build apartments." Mr Lam also warned that issues such as uncertain land rights and landfill pollution would first have to be resolved.

The new towns were proposed in 1998 but shelved in 2003 as demand slowed. Ping Che and Ta Kwu Ling were then earmarked for cargo-container storage and industry, while flats were planned for the other two areas. Since most land in the area is privately owned, the government proposed models of public-private partnerships instead of the conventional land-acquisition approach. Landowners are encouraged to submit development proposals and participate in projects.

A Planning Department spokeswoman said it was considering incorporating Mr Lam's ideas. It will further consult the public about a preliminary development plan in the third quarter of the year
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 01:01 PM   #40
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Lok Ma Chau could get in the loop
27 August 2009
China Economic Review

Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen of Hong Kong said the Lok Ma Chau Loop between Hong Kong and Shenzhen can be turned into a base for the development of innovative technology.

He said, "The development cost of the loop will be high so we must do something which has value added."

Tang Ying-yen, who is responsible for cooperation between Guangdong and Hong Kong, said foreign investors are hesitant about investing in similar schemes in the Mainland even though the technological expertise is available since the protection of intellectual property rights there is weak.

Henry Tang Ying-yen then added, "But since Hong Kong will be responsible for the management of the loop, Hong Kong's intellectual property rights legislation will be applied."

As a confidence booster that leaves a little to be desired.

According to the Innovation and Technology Commission, there are currently 11 innovative technology areas. These are automotive parts and accessories; biotechnology; Chinese medicine; communication; consumer electronics; environmental technology; integrated circuit design; logistics and supply chain management enabling technologies; nanotechnology and advanced materials; optoelectronics and textiles and clothing.

Interestingly, Henry Tang Ying-yen said he saw no point in developing financial services in the loop as most deals now can be concluded through the internet.

There are other suggestion about how to deal with the areas. Executive Council convener Leung Chun-ying suggested turning the Frontier Closed Area, instead of the loop, into an economic zone since the latter was bogged down by "historical issues".

Leung said the zone, to which Mainlanders should be given free access, could be developed into an exhibition and convention center together with medical and educational facilities plus shopping.

Shenzhen mayor Xu Zongheng said earlier this month he has his own ideas about the Loop but it was too early to reveal them.

Three working groups have been set up by the two governments to look into development of the Loop. And it appears not everyone is in total agreement on how to proceed.

Henry Tang Ying-yen said, "Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link will be the next exciting project. It will only take us an hour to get to Guangzhou and then three hours to places outside Guangdong province such as Fujian, Hubei, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Zhejiang." The best thing is to attract Mainlanders to invest and buy property in Hong Kong. It is a status symbol for mainlanders to have property in Hong Kong/ The Standard reported that Tang had said the government has not made up its mind on who to appoint as chairman of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. Tang said, "I can only say we need a different quality of person at each stage."
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