I am writing in response to the article “Residents fear damage from reclamation” (SCMP, November 26).
As well as the environment damage, reclamation can cause damage to the economy, too. The Lantau Tomorrow Vision project could bring down housing prices which means those who have bought a flat will lose money. So they may not buy a second flat even though the housing prices may be lower. This could badly affect the city’s property sector.
In such a situation, some people may prefer to rent a flat or a house, since the property prices keep changing. This affects their quality of life because they don’t have a place which they can call home.
What’s more, the Lantau project will cost more than HK$500 billion. So the taxpayers may have to bear some of its cost. But, if the economy is not stable, the amount of tax the government will receive will be reduced.
All in all, reclamation may bring short-term benefits, but we could face an uncertain future.
Wong Wing-lam, King Ling College
From the Editor
Thank you for your letter, Wing-lam. Such huge infrastructure projects always seem daunting. But, years after the project has been completed, the price will seem very small.
Take, for example, the Panama Canal. It had bankrupted the French who had gone in with the bad idea of cutting across the narrowest part of the pan-American continent. The US paid what was at the time an unthinkable amount to buy the project from the French and build the canal. Today, it is a vital link in global shipping and commerce. A large amount of the world’s oil flows through the canal. Also, the US Navy can sail from the east coast to the west in a fraction of the time it would take to sail around the tip of South America.
So it would seem that a short-term change in housing prices is tiny compared to the long-term gain.
The environmental side of things, however, might be too high a price to pay.