A Greenpeace/PORI poll finds that only 6% of Hongkongers support development of both the Lantau mega-reclamation and the Northern Metropolis vision-hub-zone-project at the same time. PORI is at the trustworthy end of the Hong Kong opinion-polls spectrum.
The Lantau plan – pushed hard by Carrie Lam – has always had a faint not-going-to-happen feel about it. The idea of spending over half a trillion bucks on something we already have (land, in the New Territories) was absurd. The justification was that the underutilized space in the NT was too something-administratively-blahblah-complex to be used. But after 1C2S gave way to Beijing-led NatSec City, the insurmountable barriers to unlocking NT land mysteriously vanished, and we suddenly had space to house an extra million people up there.
Officials insist that, even though the population is declining, the Lantau project should still proceed. Obviously, engineering/construction/other interests, many of them Mainland companies, would be upset to forego half a trillion bucks in prospective contracts. But there are surely less absurd ways to blow such a huge stock of wealth (like building half a dozen more bridges to Zhuhai, or putting HK$100,000 on everyone’s Octopus card).
Whatever happens, it is out of local officials’ hands – let alone anything to do with public opinion. Which brings us to the most surprising aspect of the opinion poll: in an environment where so much of civil society has disappeared, Greenpeace and PORI still exist.