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南華早報:新界北三發展區最後諮詢在即 村民恐隨時迫遷

南華早報:新界北三發展區最後諮詢在即  村民恐隨時迫遷
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按:隨著諮詢期即將完結,新界東北近月官商勾結的情況更形緊密——政府慢條斯理的規劃,地產商的犬牙則在此空檔期大舉進行迫遷。根據恆基工程顧問透露,地產商企圖要在明年六月前將其中一條馬屎埔村現約有30多戶的租戶全面清場,以減少反對計劃的聲音。近日借在村內清理垃圾的理由,先後突襲一些仍然有老村民居住的家,爆門清走傢私與衣物,清拆完好無缺的門窗,令村民感到相當滋擾並憤怒不已,問:「為何發展尚未來臨,地產商就先要破壞我們的家?我們的居住權何在?」於此,南早記者對現時恆基的惡行與村民心聲有詳盡報導。

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南華早報 | 2010年12月19日
記者:Joyce Ng
CITY 1 and 3

區流根走到自己的農地,忖度承建商在未來數個月甚麼時候會來,將村裏僅餘的房屋也鏟除。

區流根是粉嶺馬屎埔村尚餘的五十多戶之一,他的家就建立在他自己的五千呎農地上,他另外向恆基租了三萬呎農地耕種。

馬屎埔原本有二百多戶人,但自從政府於1998年將馬屎埔納入新界東北「新發展區」,村民便漸漸搬走。

政府提出在粉嶺北、古洞和打鼓嶺興建三個新市鎮,主要興建低密度住宅。這個新市鎮的計劃是政府十大基建項目之一,首兩次公眾諮詢已完成,而最後階段的諮詢將於2011年上半年進行。三個發展區合共佔地一千公頃,建築業界、環保團體、業主及發展商一直在商議項目的土地用途規劃。

諮詢文件並沒有提及多少戶人口會被迫遷,但社工及村民估計超過一千戶非原居民將受影響。區流根說:「那些官員誰都諮詢了,就是沒有諮詢在這裏居住的村民。他們在地圖上畫條線,就要把我的家變成屋邨。」

五十四歲的他從小在馬屎埔生活。「但政府從來沒有提及我們的搬遷安排。官員可能認為讓私人發展商收地很容易,但我沒有了農地怎麼辦?」

新市鎮發展計劃最初在1998年推出時(後來被擱置到2008年),政府想出了一個「公私營合作」發展模式,因為這三個發展區超過一半面積是私人土地。政府一改六、七十年代的操作模式,不再負責收回土地及遷拆,整合業權。這表示村民要自行與發展商或業主交涉。

過去一年,村內有九十間空置房屋被砸,於是像區流根這樣的小地主,就住在一個越來越破落的環境。

他說恆基早於十年前已開始在粉嶺收地,最近更加緊催迫村內的租戶在農曆年後搬遷。

恆基表示,他們會透過不再與租戶續約來收地,並會向每戶支付十萬元的津貼。

區先生說:「我喜歡我的生活方式,你可不可以給我其他選擇?你可不可以找另一塊農地給我繼續耕種?」

區流根的女兒同樣熱愛鄉郊生活,她曾經在中環上班,現已辭去工作,與一班年青人一起對抗發展。

他們成立了社區農場,每逢週末都會舉辦導賞團,向參加者解釋村民的境況。他們早前更成功令環保署要求發展商聘用的承辦商,清理拆毀房屋後到處殘留的有毒石棉廢料。

恆基的發言人表示,有傳言指恆基已定下拆村的最後限期,但這純屬「謠傳」,恆基會盡力協助村民在其他地方尋覓耕地。

區流根指,協助覓地的事只在談判期間提過一次,但恆基沒有提及詳情。除了馬屎埔正面臨迫遷和清拆,粉嶺北其餘三條非原居民村及古洞北的一條非原居民村也面對同樣的命運。政府官員將這些住戶稱為「寮屋居民」,不把他們視為村民,因為「鄉村」一詞只適用於1898年之前已定居的原居民鄉村。其中一條非居民村石湖新村,新世界發展已收購土地,其餘一百戶村民居住的是官地。

村民林育群表示,他和其他留守的村民曾要求政府,在日後的發展項目為他們預留土地。「但看來無望,整個規劃過程根本不透明。」在另一個建議新發展區古洞,有村民不滿幾乎沒有人告訴他們這個發展計劃,不過村內外倒是有種種發展的跡象:一個長方形的大地盤已封了圍板,預備日後興建鐵路站;在粉嶺公路對面,新鴻基正在興建豪宅「天巒」。一名村民表示:「每次我問官員我是否要搬走,他們只是說計劃還沒有落實。」古洞位於擬建新市鎮的中央,建議的土地用途是私人住宅、商業、科研及鐵路站。

這位四十七歲的維修技工說:「我們看電視,見到政府給菜園村 [因興建高鐵被收地] 很多賠償,又幫他們找地方重建新村。有些鄰居更以為我們會得到更好的待遇,因為至少我們有村選舉,是被承認的鄉村。」

三條原居民村可以在新市鎮的範圍內保留下來,他們的土地將劃作村屋或「綜合發展及自然保育改善區」,容許興建低密度住宅。預留作自然保育改善的濕地部分由長江集團擁有。

地理系研究生陳劍青成立了關注組,協助村民爭取權益。他說,公私營合作模式在過去數年製造了許多紛爭。

例如,空置的房屋是多年前以有毒的石棉建造的,在清拆時本應採用特別的裝備,但實際上卻被隨便砸碎,直至村民向環保署投訴才有改善。被問到有多少「非原居民村」受到影響,規劃署拒絕回答,稱這個字眼「沒有明確的定義」。

署方表示,顧問現正修訂發展方案,會將先前諮詢收到的意見考慮在內,「需要更多時間考慮如何最理想地平衡不同持份者的需要。」

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原文
Villagers fear eviction as development nears Villagers fear eviction as development nears;
Final stage of consultation on 3 new towns looms

Joyce Ng
December 19, 2010

As Au Lau-kan toils in his fields, he frets over when contractors will come to clear the last remaining houses in his village in the next few months.

Au, who owns a 5,000 square foot plot of land, where his house stands, and rents 30,000 sq ft of farmland from Henderson Land Development, is one of the remaining 50-odd families in Ma Shi Po village.

Once home to 200 families, the village has seen an increasing number of residents move out since government planners placed it in one of the three "new development areas" of the northeastern New Territories in 1998.
The three new towns were proposed in Fanling North, Kwu Tung and Ta Kwu Ling mainly for low-rise residential use. The new town proposals, one of the government's 10 major infrastructure projects, have featured in two public consultation exercises, and the final phase of consultation is to begin in the first half of next year.Land-use plans for the three areas, totalling 1,000 hectares, have been the subject of consultation among building professionals, environmentalists, landowners and developers.

The consultation document does not say how many homes will be cleared. But social workers and villagers estimate more than 1,000 families in non-indigenous villages will be affected."Officials consulted everyone except those who live here," Au said. "They drew plans over the map and decided my home would become a housing estate.

But they never mentioned relocation measures to us," the 54-year-old, who has lived there all his life, said. "Officials might think it's easy to let private developers take over the land. But what do I do without my farm?"

When initiating the new town plan in 1998 - the plan was later shelved until 2008 - the government came up with a "public-private partnership" development approach because more than half the area of the three new development areas is private land. It gave up the conventional method it used in the 1960s and '70s, where it was responsible for land assembly through resumption and clearance.This means villagers are left to deal with developers or landlords on their own.

Small landlords like Au have found themselves living in an ever-more-desolate neighbourhood, with 90 vacated houses having been knocked down in the past year.

Au said Henderson, which started acquiring land in Fanling 10 years ago, had stepped up moves to evict tenant villagers, asking them to move after the Lunar New Year.

The developer said resumption was to be settled by not renewing leases with tenants, and it would pay HK$100,000 to each household as a subsidy.

"I like my lifestyle. Is there an alternative? Can you find me another piece of land to continue farming?" Au asked.

His daughter, equally in love with village life, left her job in Central to campaign with young activists against the development.

They set up a community farm, bringing in groups of visitors at weekends and briefing them on the villagers' situation. They also succeeded in getting the Environmental Protection Department to act to get the developer's contractors to clear piles of toxic asbestos waste left after homes were demolished.

A Henderson spokeswoman said it was just "rumours" that the developer had set a deadline to clear the village, and it would try to help villagers to find farmland elsewhere.

Au said the idea of help was once mentioned during negotiations but the developer did not provide details.Apart from Ma Shi Po, where eviction and clearance are speeding up, three other non-indigenous villages in Fanling North and one in Kwu Tung North face the same fate. Officials refer to such settlers as "squatters" and do not regard them as villagers because the term village is only applied to indigenous settlements established before 1898.In one of these villages, Shek Wu San, New World Development has acquired land and the remaining 100 households live on government land.

Villager Lam Yuk-kwan said he and others staying put had asked the government to reserve space in future developments for them. "But it looks hopeless. The planning process is just not transparent," he said.In another proposed new area in Kwu Tung, some villagers said they had hardly been informed of the plan, although signs of developments were sprouting inside and outside the settlement: a large rectangular site has been fenced and reserved for a future railway station; across Fanling Highway, Sun Hung Kai's luxury estate The Valais is under construction.One villager said: "Every time I ask officials whether I have to leave, they only tell me the plan is not yet finalised." The proposed uses for the area of his village, at the centre of the proposed new town, are private residential, commercial, research and a railway station.

"We watched TV and saw the government compensate Tsoi Yuen Tsuen [resumed for a high-speed railway line] a lot and help them find a new place to rebuild the village. Some neighbours actually thought we would get even better treatment, because at least ours is a recognised village having rural elections," the 47-year-old mechanic said.

The three indigenous villages within the new town boundaries will be able to stay, with their land zoned for either village houses or "comprehensive development with nature conservation enhancement", allowing low-density residential use. Some of the wetland slated for conservation enhancement is owned by Cheung Kong (Holdings).

Chan Kim-ching, a research student in geography who has formed an action group to help villagers fight for their interests, said the public-private partnership approach had brought a lot of unrest in the past few years.

For example, vacated houses built of asbestos, a toxic material that needs specific safeguards in the demolition process, were randomly knocked down until villagers lodged a complaint with the Environmental Protection Department.Asked how many "non-indigenous villages" were affected, the Planning Department declined to give an answer, saying "there is no clear definition" for the term.

It said consultants were revising a development plan, taking into account comments received from previous consultations, and "more time is needed to consider how best to address the needs of different stakeholders in a balanced manner".

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