英文

下一篇

Editorial﹕Producing land for putting up housing: time is of the essence

【明報專訊】SOLVING the shortage problem of land supply is the shared wish of citizens as a new year begins. On the eve of the new year, the Task Force on Land Supply submitted its final report to the government, recommending that the government exercise eight options prior to others.

Having collected nearly 30,000 questionnaires and carried out a survey among a random sample of 3,000 citizens, the Task Force has come up with three short- and medium-term and five medium- and long-term options, to which the Task Force recommends that the government give precedence. The three short- and medium-term options include the development of brownfield sites and privately owned agricultural land in the New Territories, and the requisition of land on Private Recreational Leases including that occupied by the Fanling Golf Course. The five medium- and long-term options include the exploration of more new development regions, near-shore land reclamation from the sea excluding Victoria Harbour, and the development of the 1000-hectare East Lantau Metropolis on an artificial island. According to a CUHK survey among a random sample commissioned by the Task Force, these options are all supported by more than 60% of citizens. All sectors should recognise them as the views of mainstream society.

To create land, the government must adopt a multi-pronged approach rather than rely on a handful of options. The fact that the Task Force recommends giving priority to eight options does not mean that the other options should be discarded. Of the eighteen land options, the Task Force has only rejected land reclamation from Plover Cove Reservoir. The Task Force predicts that through the eight priority options around 3,000 hectares of land can be supplied. Much of this, however, will not be available in the short term. Regarding the three short- and medium-term options, the Task Force predicts that 15% of such land can be developed over the next eight years, which will amount to 300 hectares of land or so. Given the fact that by 2026 Hong Kong will be in want of 800 hectares of land, in the short term more than 400 hectares will be lacking. Some people think that the "15%" level is too low. The Task Force's suggestion that the requisition of the Fanling Golf Course should start with its eastern part, which is 32 hectares in area, has also been criticised for not being aggressive enough.

Hong Kong is in urgent need of land. The more land that can be created in the short term, the better it will be. But we also have to consider how to execute the options in reality. The Fanling Golf Course is controlled by a handful of people and occupies a huge amount of land resources. The government should requisition the golf course and revoke these people's privilege as soon as possible. As for whether all the land should be used for putting up housing in the short term, the government has to consider the environment and supporting transportation facilities. After all, the golf course is complete with old trees and graves, and North District residents are worried about the capacity of the transport system. It is pragmatic to develop the land in phases. As for the development of brownfield sites, though it is supported by more than 80% of citizens, it is, as the Task Force has pointed out, not an easy option that can be executed immediately. Brownfield sites are not wasteland; there are economic activities going on thereon. The complex issue of relocation and compensation can drag on for years.

All sectors of society should muster the resolve and put the public interest first. They should put aside their prejudice and self-interest so as to allow the search for land and the construction of housing to go smoothly. When it comes to increasing land supply, many people still put their interests first and refuse to cooperate, while others emphasise ideology and talk loftily about ideals in disregard of reality. Increasing land supply can no longer be delayed and should no longer be held back. All sectors of society should look at the issue of finding and producing land for putting up housing pragmatically rather than abstractly.

明報社評2019.01.01﹕民意選定造地方向 政府社會勿再蹉跎

新年伊始,解決土地供應短缺是市民共同心願。土地供應專責小組於除夕提交最終報告,建議政府優先處理8個土地選項。

土地小組收集近3萬份問卷,又隨機抽樣調查訪問逾3000名市民,最終整合出3個短中期和5個中長期土地選項,建議政府優先處理。3個短中期選項包括發展棕地和新界私人農地,以及利用粉嶺高球場等私人遊樂場契約用地,5個中長期選項則包括開拓更多新發展區、維港以外近岸填海、發展1000公頃「東大嶼都會」人工島等。土地小組委託中大進行的抽樣調查顯示,上述選項均有超過六成市民支持,各界應該承認這是社會主流民意。

政府造地必須多管齊下,不可能僅靠兩三個選項。土地小組提出「優先處理」8個選項,並不代表其餘選項就此放棄。在18個土地選項中,土地小組唯一放棄的只有填平船灣淡水湖。小組預料,8個優先土地選項,可提供約3000公頃土地,惟當中多為「遠水」。對於3個短中期選項,小組預計未來8年可落實發展一成五用地,相當於300多公頃。考慮到2026年本港缺地800公頃,短期實際仍欠400多公頃土地。有人認為「15%」指標定得太低,至於小組建議先收回粉嶺高球場東邊32公頃土地建屋,亦惹來不夠進取的批評。

香港缺地水深火熱,短期造地當然愈多愈好,惟亦要考慮現實操作。粉嶺高球場由小撮人把持,佔用大量土地資源,政府應該盡快收回粉嶺高球場,中止特權安排,至於短期內是否將每寸土地都用來建屋,則要考慮環境和交通配套,畢竟場內有古樹有古墳,北區居民也擔心交通負荷,分階段發展是務實做法。發展棕地方面,雖然民意支持度超過八成,可是誠如土地小組指出,這絕非「手到拿來」的容易選項。棕地並非荒廢土地,有經濟作業正在進行,重置和賠償問題複雜,一拖可以十年八年。

與此同時,社會各界也要拿出決心,以香港大局為先,放下成見和私心,讓覓地建屋工作得以順利推展。今時今日一談增加土地供應,很多人要麼仍是小我先行、拒絕合作,要麼意識形態掛帥、空談理想不顧現實。增加土地供應刻不容緩,不應再拖後腿,社會各界應以務實而非務虛的態度,看待覓地造地的問題。

■Glossary

precedence﹕the condition of being more important than sb else and therefore coming or being dealt with first

requisition﹕a formal, official written request or demand for sth

in want of sth﹕needing sth

上 / 下一篇新聞