Hong Kong is mulling over building an artificial island that could create a new commercial district and incorporate transport links from the main Hong Kong island to its outlying islands.
A long-term development study will be conducted on the East Lantau Metropolis project launched by the Hong Kong administration’s chief executive Leung Chun-ying, with the possibility of reclaiming more than 1,000 hectares of land between Hong Kong Island and the territory’s largest outlying island, Lantau.
The government says the new area, planned to be built over 50 years after the feasibility study is completed in 2017, could create housing land for several hundred thousand people, as well as employment opportunities in tourism, conferences and exhibitions. It is exploring the idea of connecting the metropolis by bridges or tunnels between Hong Kong Island, Lantau Island and its outlying western New Territories.
Leung said Lantau would become an essential connection to and from Hong Kong, China’s south-east Guangdong province and Macau when the 55km bridge linking Hong Kong to Macau opens in 2016. A 9km road for the north-west New Territories, Hong Kong island and the bridge opens two years later.
However some say the plans are “unrealistic” and “risky”. Environmental campaigners argue the cost of two cross-harbour bridges is too high for the purpose of affordable housing, and that the transport links could disrupt the economic and cultural characteristics of the outlying islands. Planners also criticised the government’s preference for land reclamation instead of using other sites ready for development.