Members of the panel of presenters of the Junior Chamber International North District survey on the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Northern Metropolis pose for a photo on July 12, 2022. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
The Northern Metropolis development plan has drawn a warm response from members of the public, but environmental issues and the interests of residents in the area are matters of concern, according to a survey released on Tuesday.
The survey was conducted from February to June this year by Junior Chamber International North District, an organization focusing on the development of local youth. A total of 897 people were interviewed, 72.6 percent of whom were aged between 18 and 40.
According to the poll, 98 percent of the respondents were positive about the Northern Metropolis project and tended to support the relevant plans announced by Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu in his election manifesto
According to the poll, 98 percent of the respondents were positive about the Northern Metropolis project and tended to support the relevant plans announced by Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu in his election manifesto.
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They agreed that the development strategy will help ease Hong Kong’s acute housing shortage and provide room for building up innovation and technology, and improving the traffic network in North District. However, they’re most concerned about potential environmental problems created by the mega project, as well as the interests of residents in the area.
The survey also found that lack of policy coordination, fiscal pressure and insufficient publicity are other issues that need to be tackled.
“In developing the Northern Metropolis, the authorities could draw on the experiences of adjacent areas in dealing with wastes, and use technology to optimize the facilities,” said Kelvin Chan, president of JCI North District. “They could also consider using capital from mainland-funded enterprises to alleviate the financial burden.”
Many of the interviewees suggested setting up of a special department to deal with relevant issues, and that the railway planning and construction process in the metropolis should be accelerated.
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Witman Hung Wai-man, principal liaison officer for Hong Kong of the Shenzhen Qianhai Authority, agreed that a special unit needs to be created to liaise with various bureaus to tackle problems.
"Developing North District should be implemented in phases in accordance with dynamic planning,” said Hung, who is also one of the survey’s consultants.
Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po has said the Northern Metropolis development plan, together with Lantau Tomorrow Vision, will be the two most important engines for Hong Kong’s future development.
He said the Northern Metropolis, with its proximity to Shenzhen and other cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, could help not just to expedite securing enough land supply, but also to play a role in developing the region into an international innovation center by strengthening cooperation with mainland cities.
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Paul Chan and Deputy Financial Secretary Michael Wong Wai-lun were recently appointed to head two new inter-departmental working groups set up by the HKSAR government that will focus on the city’s land and housing problems.