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By: Juncong SHUAI、Yuqi CHUEdited by: Chengqi MO


Budget 2023: Light public housing remains controversial

A few steps from the Kai Tak MTR station, an extensive but barren ground is enclosed by barbed wire, incongruent with the surrounding high-rise residences and shopping malls. The land is earmarked for the construction of light public housing. As one of eight sites designated by the government, Kai Tak is expected to provide 10,700 units for people waiting for more long-term public housing. “It’s hard to imagine over 10,000 people will flood into this area in the future. I’m afraid it’ll be a mess at that time,” said Alex Tsang, a resident living in the Kai Tak neighbourhood for three years. Anger spread among Kai Tak residents once the site selection for light public housing was announced in January. In today’s budget address, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said the government is committed to the construction of 30,000 flats by 2027. “I can understand the government's intention to build light public housing, but the site selection is wrong,” said Tsang. “Kai Tak should be a part of the CBD , but the temporary housing scheme will last seven years, nobody knows what will happen in the future.” The Light Public Housing scheme proposed by Chief Executive John Lee in his maiden policy address last year aims to give a better living environment to people waiting for permanent public houses.  “As the supply of housing land is not evenly distributed across each year, and land creation takes time, there is still a shortage of land ready for public housing development in the short run,” said Chan in today’s budget speech. The first batch of housing is expected to cost HK$14.9 billion. Building light public housing costs 25% more  than public rental housing, according to Liber Research Community, an independent think tank in Hong Kong. “Some light public housing is planned …