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LCQ19: Supply of land and housing
     Following is a question by the Hon Alice Mak and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Michael Wong, in the Legislative Council today (December 2):


     The Fanling Golf Course (FGC), occupying 172 hectares of land, is a sports and recreational facility developed by the Hong Kong Golf Club (HKGC) on a piece of land leased by the Government under a Private Recreational Lease. The Government announced in September last year that it would (i) resume a site of 32 hectares east of Fan Kam Road within FGC in September 2023 for the purpose of housing development (FGC project), and (ii) upon the expiry of the current lease in August 2020, renew the lease with HKGC for the remaining 140 hectare-site for a term ending on June 30, 2027. The Government estimated in February 2019 that the technical study for the project would be completed by early 2021 and the housing construction works could commence in 2024 at the earliest. Regarding the supply of land and housing, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) according to its latest estimate, of the respective commencement and completion dates for the various stages (including the technical study, land formation works and construction works) of the FGC project; the measures in place to ensure that there will not be any delay in the various stages; 

(2) whether it has studied and explored with relevant stakeholders the relocation of FGC to the following locations, so as to vacate the entire FGC site for housing development: (i) the site of the Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Public Golf Course or (ii) the site originally reserved for the second phase development of Hong Kong Disneyland; if not, of the reasons for that, and whether it will conduct the relevant study; 

(3) given that there is a shortage in land supply at present, and that the reclamation projects under the "Lantau Tomorrow Vision" have yet to be implemented, whether the Government will undertake to resume the aforesaid site of 140 hectares when the lease of the site expires in June 2027 so as to increase the medium and long term land supply; if not, of the reasons for that; and 

(4) of the importance of the implementation of the reclamation projects under the "Lantau Tomorrow Vision" to the medium and long term land and housing supply in Hong Kong? 



     The Task Force on Land Supply (TFLS) in the report submitted to the Government on December 31, 2018 tendered its recommendations on land supply strategy and eight land supply options worthy of priority studies and implementation. These include part of the Fanling Golf Course (FGC) and construction of artificial islands in the Central Waters adjoining Kau Yi Chau.
     With reference to the various parts of the question, after consulting the Home Affairs Bureau (HAB) (for parts (2) and (3) of the question), I reply as follows: 

(1) For the 172-hectare (ha) FGC, TFLS recommends that Government accord priority to studying and resuming the 32 ha of the FGC east of Fan Kam Road.  The Government announced full acceptance of the recommendations of the TFLS and decided to resume the 32 ha of the FGC for public housing in February 2019.  The Government also indicated at the same time that upon the expiry of the lease of the FGC in August 2020, the 32 ha of land would be subject to a special three-year hold-over arrangement until August 2023.  

     The Government commenced technical study for the 32-ha land in September 2019 which is in good progress. The study can be completed and stakeholders can be consulted in early 2021 as scheduled. Detailed design would commence after the completion of the statutory environmental impact assessment process in the latter half of 2021. Statutory planning process would also proceed in parallel for striving to commence site formation and supporting infrastructure works as early as possible upon the land is reverted to the Government in September 2023 for completion of public housing development in 2029.  
(2) The HAB is of the view that the FGC is an indispensable facility in promoting golf sports in the community, supporting elite sports development and promoting Hong Kong as a centre for major international sports events. The FGC currently opens up a lot of time slots for non-members and is also a major training base for the Hong Kong Golf national squads including youngster golfers. Moreover, the Hong Kong Open, the only European and Asian Tour co-sanctioned tournament in the territory, has been held continuously for over 60 years in the FGC. According to relevant international sanctioning authority (i.e. European Tours), apart from meeting the requirements of the authority on the golf course, there should also be convenient transportation and sufficient supporting facilities, including warm-up areas for golfers, sufficient space for activities and car parking spaces for accommodation of a large number of audience. Currently, only the FGC can meet the above-mentioned requirements for holding major golf events in Hong Kong.   
     The Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Public Golf Course (KSCGC) is the only public golf course in Hong Kong. The design and facilities of the course are mainly for general golfers and not for major events. The FGC is located in lowland area but the KSCGC is developed in hilly areas. Most of the areas along the fairway are either hill slopes or sea front. There is insufficient space to accommodate audience or for expansion. In consideration of the positioning of the KSCGC, mode of operation, course design and geographical location, the KSCGC can hardly replace FGC. 
     A number of factors should be considered for reprovisioning of the FGC, such as the area of the reprovisioning site, works and technical constraints, environmental and ecological constraints (including ways to mitigate the impacts on the existing ecology, trees and heritage conservation of the golf course), sufficiency of transportation support, coordination with supply of public sports facilities and views of the district in where the reprovision site is located etc. 

     For the 60 ha of land adjacent to the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort (HKDR), although it is no longer reserved for expansion of the HKDR, its future development still has to comply with the land use and development requirements under the relevant outline zoning plan and the Deed of Restrictive Covenant (DRC). According to the North-East Lantau Outline Zoning Plan, the land concerned is planned for theme park, resort hotel and the related uses. According to the DRC, the development of the land concerned must be low-rise and cannot be used for residential purpose. The Government will review the long term planning of the land concerned in an open-minded manner. If necessary, the Government will amend the statutory planning as well as discuss with The Walt Disney Company to amend the land use and building height under the DRC so as to make better use of the land.   

(3) As mentioned above, in consideration that the FGC is an indispensable facility in promoting golf sports in the community, supporting elite sports development and promoting Hong Kong as a centre for major international sports events, the Government has no plan to change the use of the remaining 140 ha of the FGC. The HAB will handle the lease renewal matter for the 140 ha of the FGC upon the expiry of the lease in June 2027 according to their policy as applicable to Private Recreational Leases. 

(4) The construction of artificial islands in the Central Waters adjoining Kau Yi Chau is able to create sizable land for Hong Kong (which is different from changing the existing land uses). This is an important measure to increase land in the medium to long term, which is also one of the options worthy of priority studies and implementation as recommended by the TFLS. The artificial islands adjoining Kau Yi Chau can increase the supply of 150 000 to 260 000 housing units, of which 70 per cent are public housing. This can assist in meeting the long-term housing demand and providing decanting space to facilitate larger scale redevelopment of old districts. In the context of traffic and transportation planning, the new strategic road and railway can increase the overall capacity and resilience of the traffic and transportation network of Hong Kong as well as relieve the severe traffic congestion currently in the northwestern New Territories. The artificial islands adjoining Kau Yi Chau can also create land for establishing the third Core Business District, provide about four million square metres gross floor area for commercial/office use (about 80 per cent of that of Central District) and about 200 000 diversified job opportunities, which create economic capacity and promote the long-term economic growth of Hong Kong. The community on the artificial islands adjoining Kau Yi Chau would be livable and near carbon-neutral. Reclamation works can also absorb local construction and demolition wastes, avoiding the environmental issues generated by sending the wastes to sites outside Hong Kong for reclamation.

     The Government is now applying to the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council for funding the studies for artificial islands in the Central Waters. The Finance Committee has commenced discussion on the funding application last Friday. Subject to funding approval, the studies are envisaged to complete within 42 months upon commencement. If the studies cannot proceed or are delayed, land shortage situation that Hong Kong is facing will continue to worsen in the medium to long term and the above-mentioned social and economic benefits will not be materialised.
Ends/Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Issued at HKT 18:48
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