Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said country park land with low ecological value could be used for housing. Young Post spoke to junior reporters about their views on turning over Hong Kong's green spaces to new homes.
Though the government stresses parks wouldn't be developed before its term ends in 2017, Leung said community talks showed parts of the 400 square kilometres of country park land are of low ecological and sightseeing value, and could be used for flats.
He said he raised the idea with young people during housing discussions, and suggested flats built on such sites could be sold at lower prices.
"Land is like other resources," she said. "Sometimes one thing can't serve two purposes."
Junior reporter Sebastian Wong Chak-Sum said he opposed using country parks to build housing. "Replacing country parks will take a toll on the environment. Animals' habitats will be destroyed and the areas nearby will be affected, too," he said.
"The government must think carefully, and perhaps come up with other housing solutions."
Another junior reporter, Ruby Leung, says pollution will become more serious if country parks are damaged.
"Country parks have ecological value. I wonder why the government hasn't considered 'brown-field' sites in the New Territories," said Ruby.
Meanwhile, a leading adviser from the Our Hong Kong Foundation think tank said achieving the government's target of 80 per cent of families owning their own home would make society more stable.