LCQ20: Expanding land resources

     Following is a question by the Hon Pan Pey-chyou and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Mak Chai-kwong, in the Legislative Council today (July 4):


     Recently, the issue of land supply has aroused wide public concern, and the Government has proposed 25 sites for reclamation outside Victoria Harbour and conducted public consultation which has triggered much discussion in the community.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the respective hectares of various land classes (residential, commercial, industrial, government, institution or community (G/IC), open space, transportation, other urban or built-up land, and agriculture) in various districts, with a breakdown by the 18 District Council districts (the 18 districts);

(b) of the respective hectares of land lots of different land classes (residential, commercial, industrial, G/IC, and open space) which are idle at present, with a breakdown by the 18 districts;

(c) regarding the idle land lots mentioned in (b), of their average idling period so far; the respective hectares of land lots with an idling period of three years or more and five years or more, together with their distribution;

(d) of the additional hectares of residential sites generated by the Government through land use alteration in each of the past three years, together with the districts in which they are located; and

(e) in respect of sites with concrete development plans as well as local community and District Council support for their development and planning (e.g. the G/IC site at the junction of Siu Sai Wan Road and Harmony Road), whether the authorities will set a development timeframe for those sites to avoid their being left idle for a prolonged period?



     The Government is committed to adopting a multi-pronged approach to expand land resources with a view to building up a land reserve to meet the land demand for housing and other social and economic developments.  In this connection, we have adopted a flexible mix of land supply options in order to provide adequate usable land.  The 2011-12 Policy Address has put forward six measures for expanding housing land resources in addition to expanding land resources through new development areas.

     In November 2011, the Government launched the Stage 1 Public Engagement exercise on "Enhancing Land Supply Strategy" for the purpose of consulting the public on the study of reclamation on an appropriate scale outside Victoria Harbour and the use of rock caverns.  In January 2012, the Civil Engineering and Development Department announced 25 potential reclamation sites as a means to facilitate public discussion on the site selection criteria on a more substantive basis.  The Government has yet to decide whether to carry out reclamation outside Victoria Harbour and the criteria to be adopted in selecting sites for reclamation.  The potential types and locations of reclamation can also be revised in light of public views.

     We appreciate the importance of optimising land use.  Most of the land planned for public and community facilities is zoned "Government, Institution or Community" (G/IC).  The Government has regularly reviewed the sites reserved or currently used for G/IC purposes so as to prevent under-utilisation of land which has been reserved for a long time and yet has no specific development plans.  If the originally proposed facilities are no longer needed or they can be co-located with other G/IC facilities, the reserved site could be released and rezoned for other suitable uses, including housing development.

     My reply to the five-part question is as follows:

(a) A breakdown showing the areas of land under different land use zonings in the 18 District Council districts is at Annex 1.

(b) & (c) We do not have information on undeveloped private land.  As regards government land with planned uses but has yet to be leased or allocated, we have, based on the land boundary records of the Lands Department's Land Information System and the outline zoning plans (OZPs) of the Planning Department, compiled Annex 2 which contains a breakdown of the land area by land uses and 18 districts.  Some of the land on the list is among the land being studied, or had been studied, under various planning and engineering studies by the Planning Department.  We do not have information on the period for which the sites concerned have been left vacant.

(d) OZP amendments between January 2009 and end-June 2012 resulted in an additional 75.6 hectares of housing land.  Detailed classification of the land is set out at Annex 3.  While the land concerned is already zoned for housing purposes, there are still a number of problems to address (for example, land ownership being fragmented, land lease needs modification, or land acquisition required for public purposes, etc.) before the land could be used for housing development.

(e) Under normal circumstances, for sites which have been zoned for G/IC and "Open Space", the relevant government bureaux/departments will determine the schedules for developing such facilities having regard to the demand for such facilities, the demographic changes within the districts and the funding resources required for construction and operation.  To optimise land uses, where appropriate, District Lands Offices will lease out sites for temporary uses by way of short-term tenancy if those sites have planned uses but construction works have yet to commence.

     For government land which have been earmarked for development (such as residential and commercial sites), we will, as a matter of practice, include them in the year's application list when they are ready for development and will take a proactive and aggressive approach to sell some of them in accordance with the land supply policy and the land sale programme of the year.  For land which has been sold, developers are required to complete the developments within the building covenant period as set out in the lease conditions in order to prevent land from being hoarded or left vacant for a long time.

Ends/Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Issued at HKT 16:10