[Hong Kong] Long Valley will be a part of Kwu Tung North New Town

Long Valley will be a part of Kwu Tung North New Town

South China Morning Post
CITY3 |  CITY |  By Olga Wong and Joyce Ng         2008-11-13

Clean, green and friendly - new towns won't be modelled on the past        

The government will join landowners to develop three new towns in northeast New Territories to create low-carbon-producing communities, it says in a consultation paper to be discussed by the Town Planning Board tomorrow.

Citing the undesirable example of Tin Shui Wai - an isolated town which lacks employment opportunities and has been the site of several suicides - the government said plans for the new towns would be people-oriented. The paper, to be released for a one-month public consultation after the board gives its views, also proposes different forms of partnerships with landowners.

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, in his policy address delivered last year, said the government would press ahead with new developments in Kwu Tung North, Fanling North and an area covering Ping Che and Ta Kwu Ling.

The new developments, aimed at creating communities that will contain 180,000 people, were initiated in the 1990s but were shelved in 2003 as population growth and housing demand slowed.

The paper highlighted potential uses like mixed-residential developments, tertiary educational facilities and special industries. The Planning Department said the new towns would be no more than a quarter of the size of present similar towns and a low-carbon economy would be promoted.

Consideration would be given to treating sewage produced by the new towns for reuse, and rubbish recycling, renewable energy and non-fossil-fuel-based transport like walking, cycling and railway transport would also be encouraged.

Recreational and social facilities for non-working mothers and young people would be provided.

The department said the new towns would be integrated with developments in Lok Ma Chau Loop and the new border crossing at Heung Yuen Wai.

Given that most land in the area is privately owned, the government will propose eight models of public-private partnership to choose from. For example, landowners are encouraged to submit development proposals and set up a development company to participate in new projects.

In some models, private developers are allowed to amalgamate private land for development consistent with government plans. The government might also build a business park or technology park to attract more private investments in the new towns.

Frank Chan Shung-fai, chairman of Ta Kwu Ling District Rural Committee, said three types of non-polluting land use, including fashion outlets, medical tourism and a software centre, had emerged from discussions among villagers there.

Mr Chan said residents mainly preferred either selling their land to the government or submitting development proposals. Many of us want to contribute ideas and participate in the development, because our roots are here, he said.

Ng Mee-kam, associate professor in urban planning and design at University of Hong Kong, said local partnerships could help to avoid creating an isolated dead space, but to preserve community networks and raise sense of ownership.

According to the government, development plans will be drafted next year and detailed plans will be ready by 2010. The new towns are expected to be established by 2019. Copyright (c) 2008. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.


A11 |  港聞         2008-11-13










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