The number of residential flats in an area to be reclaimed from the sea known as Zone A will be increased to 32,000 from the 18,000 the government had announced in 2012, the Executive Council (ExCo) announced in a press conference Thursday.
The 1.38-square-kilometre Zone A lies north-east of the peninsula, stretching from Areia Preta to Nape.
The press conference, co-hosted by ExCo spokesman Leong Heng Teng, ExCo member-cum-businessman Eddie Wong Yue Kai, Chief of the Office of the Secretariat for Transport and Public Works Francis Wong Chan Tong and Lao Iong, who heads the Lands, Public Works & Transport Bureau’s Urban Planning Department, was held at Government Headquarters Thursday.
Introducing the reasons for the increase, Leong said that Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On chaired a number of ExCo meetings about how make it easier for locals to buy a flat. Leong said that the government then decided that the area for residential building projects should be increased, by reducing the amount of land to be used for commercial purposes.
According to Leong, the 32,000 flats in Zone A will include 28,000 public housing flats, or 87.5 percent of the total.
Francis Wong said that “the change shows that Chui is paying attention to locals’ housing problems, therefore he made a political decision about increasing the percentage of land to be used for public housing [in Zone A]”, he said.
The central government approved the reclamation of 3.5 square-kilometres in 2009. The government then proposed five land reclamation zones (A, B, C, D and E) in its “first-stage” public consultation in 2010. Based on the first-stage opinions, the government launched its “second-stage” public consultation in late 2011, in which the consultation document proposed and detailed how the land would be used in the five zones (residential, commercial, green areas and public facilities). The government said in 2012 that there would be 18,000 flats housing a population of 54,000 in Zone A.
According to Leong, the government will gather citizens’ opinions from today until August 9 about the new plan. Leong said that the opinions collected will then be used as the basis for the launching of the “third-stage” public consultation at the end of this year.
Francis Wong stated that based on the increased number of flats, the population was expected to reach 96,000 in Zone A. He said the calculation is based on a three member household in an 800-square-feet flat.
Francis Wong said that it was expected that locals will be able to apply for public housing flats in Zone A in 2019 and that some of the flats were expected to be completed by 2023.
Francis Wong said that the increase in the population in Zone A would not reduce resident’s quality of life, as the infrastructure plans would be amended accordingly.
Eddie Wong, an architect by profession, said that even though the living density will rise it will still not be high. He said it would be lower than in many public and private housing estates in Macau.
When asked by reporters who drafted the plan shown in the press conference, Leong said the “idea” about the change was proposed by Chui. Leong said that Eddie Wong, in his capacity as an architect, gave his “professional opinion” on the changes to the Zone A plan.
The government’s public housing programme comprises subsidised home ownership scheme (HOS) flats and low rental social housing flats.
A total of 26 public housing projects have been completed since 2000 providing about 19,000 public housing flats while nine public housing projects are still under construction which will provide a further 7,000 flats, according to the Housing Bureau (IH) website.(macaunews/macaupost)