Oppose Lantau Tomorrow Vision! Save HK’s Environment!

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Environmental Petition

Oppose Lantau Tomorrow Vision! Save HK’s Environment!

1159 SIGNATURES obtained, NEED TO REACH 300000 before November 30, 2020

Director of Civil Engineering and Development Department, Director of Environmental Protection, Director of Planning, Legco finance committee, Secretary for Development, Secretary of Finance and Secretary of the Environment,

We oppose the Lantau Tomorrow Vision project.

It was initially proposed in Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s 2018 Policy Address. It aimed to construct artificial islands, totalling an area of 1,700 hectares, to combat Hong Kong’s housing crisis. It was initially estimated to cost approximately HK$624 billion, and is controversial for economic and environmental reasons (HKFP, 2019).

As it is not financially feasible, environmentally damaging, vulnerable to storm surges, and does little to solve Hong Kong’s housing crisis. We urge the government to pursue environmentally and economically sustainable alternatives.

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To Director of Civil Engineering and Development Department, Director of Environmental Protection, Director of Planning, Legco finance committee, Secretary for Development, Secretary of Finance and Secretary of the Environment,

We express our firm opposition to the Lantau Tomorrow Vision (LTV) project.

It was initially proposed in Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s 2018 Policy Address. It aimed to construct artificial islands, totalling an area of 1,700 hectares, to combat Hong Kong’s housing crisis. It was initially estimated to cost approximately HK$624 billion, and is controversial for economic and environmental reasons (HKFP, 2019).

It is not financially feasible, and is environmentally damaging, vulnerable to storm surges, and does little to solve the housing crisis because of the reasons below.

The ecosystem and biodiversity of East Lantau waters and islands will be impacted by reclamation. An ecological survey conducted by WWF (2020) has found high biodiversity within the construction zone, including at least 35 coral species, marine species:- spotted seahorse (Hippocampus kuda), sea pen (Virgularia sp.), pipefish (Trachyrhamphus sp.), and several uncommon terrestrial species:- White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster, National Protection Class II) and Bogadek’s Burrowing Lizard (Dibamus bogadeki, endangered and endemic to East Lantau islands). These species are facing the threats of habitat loss and invasive species that are likely to be introduced to the islands during reclamation activities. Under the international treaty – Convention of Biological Diversity, Hong Kong is obligated to conserve local biodiversity and protect endemic species from extinction through development.

Typhoon storm surges are expected to worsen as climate change accelerates. But, the LTV underestimates environmental factors such as storm surge under super storm and sea level rise, constructing only 5 meters of seawall. To withstand these adversed factors, experts suggested the seawall of artificial islands should be at least  12.5 meters high (HK01 Press, 2018). Hence, the LTV is a risky investment that endangers residents’ safety (Legco, 2018).

The LTV is not financially sustainable. We are concerned for future generations and want prudent financial decisions to be made. When accounting for inflation, at 4.6% annually as per the CEDD, the LTV’s projected cost exceeds HK$1 trillion, or greater than HK’s fiscal reserves. Furthermore, the plan to issue government bonds is not feasible: it will cause debt to exceed HK$14 trillion by 2041-42 (Green Peace East Asia, 2019).

We urge the government to pursue environmentally and financially sustainable alternatives to solve HK’s housing crisis and revitalise the economy by:

  • Using Brownfields across Hong Kong- This proposal received the most public support. It costs an estimated HK$33.3 billion, and holds the potential for at least 139,000 public housing flats (Green Power, 2019).
  • Resuming Land – Developers currently hold 900+ hectares of land across Hong Kong, meeting ~75% of the 1200 hectare of land shortage (The Standard, 2019).
  • Redeveloping Buildings – Offer financial incentives for efficient land use and the revitalisation of old, non-historic buildings, e.g.: Kwun Tong Town Centre Project.
  • Investing in Eco-Tourism – Estimates suggest that ten million eco-friendly jobs could be created by 2030 (HKFP, 2019).

 

Reference:

Green Peace East Asia. (2020). ‘Analysis of Lantau Tomorrow’s Impact on Hong Kong Public Finance’ Report. Blog – Live Sustainably. https://www.greenpeace.org/eastasia/blog/6101/analysis-of-lantau-tomorrows-impact-on-hong-kong-public-finance-report/

Green Power. (2019). Updated survey findings indicate the ecological importance of East Lantau waters Groups urge the Government to abandon “Lantau Tomorrow”. Press Release. https://www.greenpower.org.hk/html5/download/press/20190322_e.pdf

HK01 Press. (2018). 【明日大嶼】人工島海堤至少需12.5米高 林超英斥「貼錢買難受」.  [Written in Chinese]

HKFP. (2019). Lantau Tomorrow Vision: Student green group asks why Hong Kong wants to spoil an exquisite natural habitat. HKFP Voices. Hong Kong Free Press. https://hongkongfp.com/2019/11/03/lantau-tomorrow-vision-student-green-group-asks-hong-kong-wants-spoil-exquisite-natural-habitat/

Legco. (2018). Official Record of Proceedings. Legislative Council. https://www.legco.gov.hk/yr18-19/english/counmtg/hansard/cm20181109-translate-e.pdf

The Standard. (2019). Major developers own 20pc farmland. https://www.thestandard.com.hk/sections-news_print.php?id=211665

WWF Hong Kong. (2020). East Lantau Reclamation. New Deal for Nature and People. Oceans. https://d3q9070b7kewus.cloudfront.net/downloads/oceans_east_lantau_reclamation.pdf

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This petition was started by Hong Kong Green Schools Alliance (HKGSA) on October 6, 2020, with an end date of November 30, 2020.

Hong Kong Green Schools Alliance (HKGSA) is part of the global school network which aims to address climate change, promote sustainability and engage community to work towards common environmental goals. They express concerns about the impact of Hong Kong's development plan on the environment, economy and future generations.

香港綠學校聯盟(HKGSA)是全球學校網絡的一部份,該網絡旨在應對氣候變化,促進可持續發展,並促使社區致力實現共同的環境目標。他們關注香港的發展計劃對環境、經濟和後代的影響。


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