Northern Metropolis scheme ‘will take up to 20 years’

A political commentator says the proposed Northern Metropolis announced by Chief Executive Carrie Lam in Wednesday’s Policy Address is an aggressive project that could take up to twenty years to come to fruition.

Lam’s vision is for a 300 square kilometre development in Yuen Long and North District that would house around 2.5 million people and be developed into an international IT hub.

Speaking on RTHK’s Hong Kong Today programme on Thursday, James Sung, the founding director of the Progress and Perfection Research Institute, questioned whether enough skilled construction workers could be recruited.

“It’s too big,” he told RTHK’s Janice Wong. “One important challenge is: do we get sufficient skilled workers to carry out such a large-scale project, because in the past two decades, the construction industry has always complained that we cannot get enough skilled workers from within Hong Kong.

“It would be difficult to get workers from outside, so this is a real challenge.”

Sung also questioned how the government intended to find the talent for several new government bureaux Lam had proposed.

One of the key suggestions made in her policy address was setting up a culture, sports and tourism bureau.

Lam proposed splitting the Transport and Housing Bureau into two, saying a dedicated housing bureau could look at consolidating its work with the Development Bureau to expedite land supply for housing.