top of page

What are all the building works in Tung Chung?

What can we expect and when will it all be finished?

Tung Chung New Town Extension
Cool model at the Community Liaison Office at the Tung Chung Promenade.

Tung Chung is a mess. The whole town is a building site with flashing cones and deep gashes in the roads and pavements. Half the traffic is cement trucks and prefabricated concrete windows for prefabricated government housing. I have a very vague notion of the reason for all the building works but I wanted to, like all the workmen, dig deeper and find out what the master blueprint was for our beloved and dusty Tung Chung. 

Along with the newly developed promenade at the Tung Chung seafront, two large temporary and colourful-looking structures also appeared. The Community Liaison Centre and the Community Liaison Extension were built to house a permanent exhibition and information point to explain the work of the CEED in relation to the Tung Chung extension and the new ‘clover leaf’ islands being built off the coast of Peng Chau. Also the marine park near Yat Tung, but that exhibition isn’t ready yet.

I was met by the lovely Venus, the Community Liaison Manager and was shown first an 8-minute video roughly detailing the proposals for both Tung Chung, the new marine park and also the Kai Yi Chau artificial island developments. 

This post isn’t going to go into whether I agree with the developments, their benefits and ecological losses, but more to point out what changes you can expect to see and when you might start to see them.

Firstly, let’s talk about the three new artificial islands being built between Hong Kong Island and Lantau. Kai Yi Chau, or the Cloverleaf Islands as they’ve been nicknamed due to their shape. The main question I had was why? Hong Kong’s population is falling, so why spend a whopping $580 billion on more space. The answer is a simple one. Money. 

Why do we live in Hong Kong? It’s probably not for the customer service. Hong Kong has some of the most friendly tax rates of anywhere in the world, whilst maintaining low-cost healthcare and transportation. They do this by owning all the land, and selling it off to subsidise the cost of living. The problem is Hong Kong isn’t very big, so the only way to sell more land and make more money is to make more land. The government estimates they stand to make $220 billion off the back of the Clover Leaf development through the cost of the land sales revenue. 

They do seem to have thought this. One major concern was the flow of tides through that channel. The islands will be angled in such a way the sea will flow around and through the landmass. Of course, these islands will initially be an ecological disaster through their disruption to the marine ecosystem and all the concrete needed to build them, but to complain about their development whilst enjoying low taxes seems churlish. Hong Kong’s land reclamation is like a fart in a hurricane when plotted alongside other countries. The Netherlands is 17% reclaimed. That’s 17% of the entire country or about 2,700 square miles. Hong Kong (26 square miles) sits behind South Korea, Bahrain and Japan on the amount of sea we’ve eaten.

One positive of building something from scratch is you get to think it through and do it properly. The new islands will be segmented into seven living communities, each connected by cycle tracks and a rail network. 20% of the land will be put aside for recreation and open space and 25% for housing for up to 500,000 people. The aim is for the entire island group to be entirely carbon neutral, with the island using renewable energy, a desalination plant for water, and a sewage/ food waste plant. 

Do we need the islands? Probably not. Are we getting them, yes. At least they’re looking to the future when they’re building them. You can expect people to start to move in by 2033, which is incredible when you consider they haven’t started building them yet.

Now for the Tung Chung New Town Extension. You’ll have seen all the land reclamation and building work from the MTR on your way into Tung Chung. Tung Chung’s current population sits at about 98,000, and by the time the work is finished, it will swell to a massive 320,000, with 62,100 new apartment buildings going up, and two new MTR stations. The endless road works are to lay the water and sewage pipes for the new developments, and also the MTR that will continue past the current station and finish in Man Tung. Venus Ho, the Community Liaison Manager who gave me the tour, wasn’t able to tell me much detail about what exact facilities we could expect from the new extension, apart from a marina, a sports ground, possibly a university (a post-secondary institution) and 50,000 square meters for hotels. The extension will be linked to the Clover Leaf islands by a tunnel from through Sunny Bay. This should all be completed by 2029.

If you visit the Community Liaison Office, you can sit in an immersive pod and watch a 3D video about the extension. It’s just a rough idea at the moment but the experience in itself is fun and the kids will love it. It’s a very well put together exhibition and even has a Bondesque rotating map with a scale model of all the works to be carried out. If you'd like a tour, contact the centre through the website.

Finally the Marine Park. I don’t see the point or need for this park. Tung Chung Bay is one of the last truly natural spots in Hong Kong and is home to some rare and protected species like the Romer’s Tree Frog, Short-Legged Toad, South China Cascade Frog, the Giant Marbled Eel and of course two species of Horseshoe Crab.  People can already access that area, as my family regularly do, so spot the fiddler crabs with their oddly massive claw, or watch the cormorants fishing. We don’t need it to be made clinical or organised, and nor do the wildlife that live there. To ‘Disney’ up this section of Hong Kong is a dangerous waste of time and money.

If you want to enjoy the bay before its inevitable modernisation, visit the restaurant that sits on top of it!

I’ll end by saying I did my back in recently as I had to sit next to my daughter, on a small plastic chair in the middle of the Children's ward at Princess Margaret Hospital as there were no other beds available. I sat in this chair for two days and nights nights. I asked the nurse why there weren’t better facilities for the parents that stay with their children and she said there isn’t the space or the money. Make of that what you will. 


bottom of page