The Government should go ahead in order to accommodate the overspill and the fast growing population , alleviate socio-economic problems in inner cities by creating a pleasant environment with adequate amenities and job vacancies and boost Hong Kong economy, Although there are some voices arguing that the North East New Territories New Development Plan are not a good policy by saying that the plan will destroy our beautiful natural landscape, the truth is with good urban planning, those three new towns will be sustainable and the benefits they brought will definitely outweigh the drawbacks of the plan.
In the past ten years, the population of Hong Kong had grown relatively rapidly by 0. 66 million , compare with our neighborhood, Macau, which only had about 0. 11million growth in the population in the same period . With such a significant increase, this give rise to the problem of inadequate housing. A high demand but limited supply, the price of house skyrocketed to a level that most of the people cannot burden. Therefore, in order to accommodate the new immigrants and the low-income group in Hong Kong, the North East New Territories New Development Plan may be a solution to this problem.
The plan will provide sufficient area which is in low density planning and greenery to accommodate about 131,000 people in total, including 65,000 people in Kwu Tung North, 48,000 people in Fanling North and 18,000 people in Ping Che . With the planning that puts stress on low building and population density, more open space and greenery, those new towns will cope with the surrounding environment to form a compatible and concinnity environment for people to live their lives.
Nowadays, new immigrants or grassroots citizens who are waiting for public housing have no choice but lives in the squatters, roof-top structure, coffin home or even cage house in the inner city, such as Sham Shui Po, Mong Kok, etc. Those places have congested living condition, some of them may even are the pre-war buildings which are dilapidated. They usually share the bathroom and kitchen. This may cause an insanitary environment among the buildings.
Also, most of the people living are either grassroots citizens or elderly. As the urban planning is poor in the past, there aren’t enough recreational amenities for them to use. Hence may lead to social problem, such as fire hazard like the one just happen few months ago at the Fa Yuen Street. Besides of social problem, economic problem may arise, too. As people may not want to work at a remote area, they may apply the near-by job. But,
there are so many people concentrated in a small area, the job vacancies may not sufficient to support such a huge population in the area. Therefore some of them may become unemployed, hence, they may have economic problem, which means they can’t even earn a living. With the well planned plan of the new towns, the three new towns have different theme. The theme of Kwu Tung North, Fanling North and Ping Che are mixed develop zone, riverside township and quality business residential area respectively.
There will be jobs provided to fulfill the population there, too. For instance, in Kwu Tung North, there will have approximately 26000 job vacancies, in Fanling North, there will be about 6200 job vacancies provided and in Ping Che there will be about 13000 job vacancies . Moreover, the three new towns are enjoying locational factors, they will locate near by the edge of Hong Kong, where close to China, there are lots of job opportunities in the mainland, and therefore some of them may even work in Shen Zhen.
This will definitely solve the unemployment problem that happened in the inner city. The development of the three new towns will also contribute to the economic growth in Hog Kong. The new town development plan has offer development spaces for the six industries promoted by the Government, they include testing and certification services, medical services, innovation and technology, cultural and creative industries environmental industries and education services .
These six industries enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong in the Pearl River Delta and generate so many job opportunities just like I mentioned before. Under the aforementioned reasons, I hold my firm believe that the North East New Territories New Town Development plan is going to bring along with so many benefits. Although some parties are concerning about the natural landscape will be destroyed, with good urban planning and restriction of the height of the buildings, the area must going to be as good as now or even better.
If we only focus on protecting the environment but neglect the needs of the people in the city, the city still can’t be sustainably developed. Only to strike a sensible balance between economy development and environmental conservation, then the city will head to the right track which is sustainably developed. Therefore I will definitely support the North East New Territories Development Plan, but only under the circumstances that the Government could strike a balance between economy development and environmental conservation.