For the preparation of this special report dedicated to landfills under construction in Macau, we contacted the Land, Public Works and Transportation Bureau (DSSOPT) in order to obtain information about what is being built, what is missing and what the next steps are.
The DSSOPT responded by sending us a dozen links, which refer to articles that have been published over the last . . . four years.
As the deduction that the DSSOPT does not know what is happening is not acceptable, it remains to be admitted that the Bureau prefers not to commit itself to the dissemination of much data which may, perhaps, be denied in the near future.
There are, however, intriguing elements:
In October 2011, the government released information on what it intends to do with the so-called landfills in areas C, D and E (north of Taipa Island).
The problem is that this information was predicated upon according to two scenarios, one that the population load was 40,000 inhabitants and another of 67,000 inhabitants.
What will be applied in the landfills that have been completed (Zone D seems to be delayed the most)?
The difference is not only quantitative since, for example, the first refers us to a population density of 24,000 people per km2 and the second to almost double (41,000 people) in the same space. Given that the government wants these to be “low-carbon pilot areas” or a “coastal green corridor” promoting “pedestrian movement and the use of bicycles” we can appreciate the difference.
The government is betting on the quality of life for the lucky ones who can obtain a house on the new C and D landfills (in North Taipa).
With the exception of the so-called E1 zones (adjacent to the Pac On Maritime Terminal and Pac On Industrial Park) and Zone E2 (near Macau International Airport) – which is intended to be “a maritime portal to the city and adjacent to major infrastructure” – the remaining landfills are essentially for housing.
On a less ambitious level, Zones C and D may imagine a total of 13,000 housing units, but in the grander perspective they may reach 22,000 homes.
This will naturally impact other facilities that may be built such as gardens or pedestrian corridors.
Nevertheless, the government guarantees that “both pre-projects have educational and youth facilities, social services, sports, medical care, as well as municipal facilities, public services and infrastructure. Areas C and D as low carbon pilot areas [will have] a complete set of support facilities. Zone E will be a modal transport hub and the land will be mainly used for the mixed purpose of commercial and housing, commercial and office, as well as municipal facilities and garden spaces.”
If these ideas are not to be distorted, even in the extreme scenario, the neighbourhoods to be built in Zones C and D may become an oasis of the MSAR, the place where everyone wants to live.
Of the five new landfills, three are islands – A, C and D – but ‘artificial island’ is the name by which another landfill, at this time also developed, is known: the one that marks the beginning, for those coming from Macau or Gongbei, or the end of the bridge connecting Hong Kong.
It is on this artificial island that the border post will be located – with the space divided precisely between the territory of Zhuhai and Macau (with advantage to Macau).
The Zhuhai border project will occupy 107,000 square metres, with a capacity of up to 150,000 people per day between Zhuhai and Hong Kong, and 100,000 people between Macau and Zhuhai. As for the number of vehicles, the border could process 14,000 light vehicles, 3,350 tour buses and 17,300 trucks – the numbers may be outdated, but they were the last ones we had access to.
It is likely that on the island there will be a parking lot for the buses that will make the connection and that Macau does not want them to use its roads, a checkpoint for product inspection and a leisure area.
But there is room for much more.
On the Hong Kong side the dynamics are different: the superbridge artificial island (150 hectares, northeast of Hong Kong International Airport) has big business potential to develop into an information technology centre, as recently proposed by the Lantau Development Alliance.