Although the government has recently announced a plan to build 28,000 public housing units in reclamation Zone A, lawmakers have still raised criticism over the lack of a calendar, as well as the lack of a long-term plan providing residents with a smoother and more efficient application and granting process for housing units. The Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Mr Lau Si Io, stressed that – to date – government measures have played a role in reducing speculation, whilst stabilizing the real estate market.
Replying to lawmakers’ enquiries in yesterday’s Legislative Assembly plenary meeting, Lau Si Io assured that the government is developing a public housing plan not only for today but for the future as well.
He reaffirmed the administration’s intentions to build a total of 32,000 housing units in reclamation Zone A, which includes 28,000 public housing units and 4,000 private residential units.
Furthermore, there is also a short-term plan to build 4,400 public housing units comprising of seven areas of land, some of which are located in the Lam Mau area and in the center of Taipa, which may provide 400 more units – which is more units than initially intended.
An additional set of 2,000 public housing units is also planned, involving lands in Rua dos Pescadores and Rua do Desporto near the Macau Olympic swimming pool. Another area of land in Taipa is estimated to provide a total of 2,000 units as well.
Different spoken enquiries delivered by lawmakers Si Ka Lon, Zheng Anting and Mak Soi Kun triggered further debate on the housing issue.
Si Ka Lon, for instance, also criticized the fact that the rental on housing is escalating, with residents being unable to cope with skyrocketing prices.
Lawmakers were particularly interested to hear further details on how many housing units the government will provide, when residents will be able to move into their new houses, and how many unused lands the administration will be in a position to recover in a near future.
Lau Si Io reinforced several times the number of public housing units recently announced, and asked lawmakers for a little bit more time to provide concrete details.
He stressed that both social and affordable housing are amongst priorities, as the government sees a greater demand mainly for affordable housing units.
In mid-2016, he is hoping the government can launch the public housing project for the reclamation Zone A. They estimate they will receive the first applications for affordable housing units by the end of 2019.
Throughout the debate, some lawmakers were also interested in hearing more regarding lands which are still to be recovered. These usually involve legal actions regarding unused lands. Roughly, the government has recorded a total of 375 unused areas of land.
Lawmaker Pereira Coutinho criticized the fact that, out of those 375 lands, the government has only been able to find out why 100 remain unused. “Why is it still so difficult to recover the lands that are not being used?” he asked.
Lau Si Io recalled that, most of the time, these areas are part of private property and the government can’t do much, adding that it is difficult to provide a calendar for its recovery. Nevertheless, he assured that the government has already been able to recover some of them. “We hope that the central government approves more lands in reclamation areas,” he said.
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