Hong Kong country parks will be spared from ‘large-scale’ destruction

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Development secretary Michael Wong Wai-lun reassures conservationists

Hong Kong has 40,000 hectares in country parks. coloursinmylife/Shutterstock

The Hong Kong government may not follow through earlier pronouncements of constructing subsidised housing in the Chinese SAR’s ecologically sensitive country parks, a leading official announced Thursday.

“Many conservationist friends are concerned about a large-scale destruction of country parks because of building flats,” said Secretary for Development Michael Wong Wai-lun, per Hong Kong Free Press. “It will not happen.”

Wong’s statements come as officials under new chief executive Carrie Lam and members of the nonprofit Housing Society jointly conduct a feasibility study on the prospect of building affordable homes on the outskirts of Tai Lam and Ma On Shan country parks. The study, launched in May, could still take “a few quarters,” Wong said.

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Former chief executive Leung Chun-ying was a chief proponent of developing plots at the fringes of country parks, thought to be of low ecological value, for nonprofit senior accommodations and other public housing projects.

“Now, the locations the Housing Society are working on, including Shui Chuen O [in Ma On Shan]and a location near the exit of the Tai Lam Tunnel, total around 40 hectares, smaller than a ratio of 1 to 1,000,” Wong said.

The cumulative size of Hong Kong’s country parks, currently at 40,000 hectares, could increase with the proposed listing of the 500-hectare Robin’s Nest area near the Shenzhen-Hong Kong border as a country park, he disclosed.

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