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Following is a question by the Hon Lam Kin-fung and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, in the Legislative Council on April 30:
The Chief Executive has stated in the 2014 Policy Address that the Government will explore ways to further develop the eastern waters off Lantau Island and neighbouring areas, with a view to developing an East Lantau Metropolis, which will become a new core business district. Also, to dovetail with the completion of the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities (HKBCF) Island of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB), the Government will explore the feasibility of developing commercial facilities at HKBCF so as to develop its potential for a “bridgehead economy”. Regarding the development of Lantau Island, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the estimated number of jobs in the construction industry to be created by the major infrastructure projects relating to the development of the East Lantau Metropolis; whether it has assessed if there will be adequate local workers in the construction industry to meet the manpower demand of such projects; if it has assessed and the result is in the negative, whether the authorities will import foreign labour; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;
(2) as the Government has stated that it has carried out a preliminary review of the relevant supporting infrastructure at HKBCF to explore the feasibility of developing major shopping, dining, entertainment and hotel facilities there, of the details of the preliminary review and the timetable for the completion of such commercial facilities; and
(3) given that HZMB and the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link are to be completed in 2016 and 2018 respectively, whether it has assessed the economic loss arising from failure to concurrently complete the commercial facilities to be developed at HKBCF; if it has assessed, of the result; if not, the reasons for that?
Given its proximity to the Hong Kong International Airport, Lantau Island would see its position as a strategic transport hub further enhanced when the strategic transport infrastructures, such as the HZMB and Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link, commence operation. With appropriate planning, the HKBCF Island of the HZMB and the artificial islands in the eastern waters off Lantau Island could create synergy with the various existing and planned economic infrastructures in Lantau boosting the economic benefits and satisfying the long-term needs of housing, social and economic developments in Hong Kong.
My reply to the three parts of Honourable Lam’s question is as follows:
(1) We are seeking funding approval from the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council (FC) for strategic studies on proposed artificial islands in the central waters to explore the feasibility of constructing one or more artificial islands in the central waters between Hong Kong Island and Lantau and of developing the East Lantau Metropolis (ELM) on the artificial islands in the eastern waters off Lantau and neighbouring areas. Regarding issues on the number of construction workers to be required and whether there will be a need for imported workers for development of the ELM, they will be thoroughly investigated during detailed design stage having regard to the scale of the artificial islands.
(2) In the third quarter of 2013, the Development Bureau, in collaboration with the Planning Department and Civil Engineering and Development Department, conducted a general review on the proposed topside commercial development on the HKBCF Island of the HZMB. The review preliminarily confirmed that there would not be any insurmountable technical problems in aspects of transportation, infrastructure and environmental impact, etc for this proposed commercial development. We are seeking funding approval from the FC to engage consultants to conduct a planning, engineering and architectural study (the Study) on the overall development concept of the proposed commercial development on the HKBCF Island of the HZMB including the scope and scale of the development, associated supporting infrastructures, implementation programme, financial assessment, market positioning and operation strategy. If the FC supports the funding application, the Study will commence in August this year for completion in the latter half of 2016.
(3) Regarding the economic benefits to be brought about due to the proposed commercial development on the HKBCF Island of the HZMB, we plan to incorporate into the Study financial and commercial viability studies to carry out the estimation and analysis based on the proposed scale of the development. We will report to the Legislative Council after the results of the Study are available.