“Country parks are one of the few places people can go on their weekends besides shopping malls. It is not rational to take them away,” Tam said.
Some critics say Hong Kong’s land supply issues are a myth and that the shortage is a result of years of mismanagement. They say the city has abundant shrubland, woodland and open rural areas that could become readily available sites for development, much of which are instead being used as storage or illegal dumping sites.
Large portions of land in Hong Kong’s New Territories are locked up by a colonial period law stipulating that all indigenous male villagers receive a village house for free. Local media have estimated that nearly 1,000 hectares of land is reserved for this purpose.
Sonny Lo (盧兆興), a social scientist at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, said the government is set to run into more problems as the community becomes increasingly environmentally conscious.
“From the sustainable development perspective, the government should not encroach upon green spaces now highly cherished by a community that is increasingly aware of the importance of sustainable development,” he said.