Public housing | Residents have freedom to opt out from Wai Long: Rosário

The government has never forced residents to apply for the proposed public housing project opposite the University Hospital which is the subject of debate, Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosário said yesterday.
On the sidelines of an association event, the senior official was asked to comment on the proposed project on Avenida de Wai Long, which is next to the roundabout between Macau International Airport and Macau University of Science and Technology.
The senior official issued a reminder that the land plot had always been assigned for a residential development. Previously, the green light had been given to develop prime residential estate on the land.
The project was later scrapped and the land retrieved by the government, following a court ruling connected to the corruption case involving the former Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Ao Man Long, who is now serving a term of imprisonment.
“It is not a new thing,” Rosário stressed. “Previously, the land plot was assigned for a private housing estate.”
He reminded the media that the land was confiscated later and then converted to public housing during the term of the last government. He even took the chance to educate the public on the choice of a subsidized housing unit.
“I would like to take this chance to explain to the public: there are public housing projects on both Zone A and Avenida de Wai Long,” the senior official said. “If [interested buyers] don’t like Wai Long [housing project], go for Zone A instead.”
The government has previously announced that 28,000 public housing units would be built on the newly reclaimed land, off from the coast near the main reservoir.
“I haven’t forced them to choose Wai Long [public housing project],” Rosário added.
When asked whether he feared the attractiveness of the Wai Long project would be low, the official did not sound convinced that people would not like the future Wai Long public housing units. “Time will tell,” he said.
The project was objected to by certain urban planners, who said that the area, let alone its proximity to the trash incinerator, does not have enough land to support a residential neighborhood.
Urban planner Lam Iek Chit has been quoted as saying that it is quite unconvincing when the public health facility has to be planned for the 11th floor of a building.
In addition, given its proximity to Cotai, the airport, a university, a hospital, two bridge exits and a future tunnel connecting to the fourth bridge, the public housing project has the potential to create an even heavier burden on the traffic network in the neighborhood.
For example, when road networks are congested within traditional residential districts on the Macau Peninsula, not even emergency vehicles, such as ambulance and fire engines, can make their way to their destinations.
Some members of the public tried to defeat the proposal citing concerns over pollution from the incinerator. People feared that the pollution may impact the health of residents living there.

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