Adjudicators, chairperson, ladies and gentlemen,
Today’s motion is that “Country parks should be turned into sites for housing in Hong Kong”. As the opening speaker of the opposition side, we are against today’s motion. There are three reasons, “SEE” to support our arguments.
The first “S” stands for sociology. It’s agreed that the ultimate goal to solve Hong Kong’s housing problem is through better urban planning and population control. Turning country parks into housing sites cannot solve the root causes of Hong Kong’s housing problem, which is the problem of overpopulation due to ineffective immigrant control. Around one hundred mainlanders cross the border and fill our space every day. Besides, we should notice that Hong Kong’s total area of 1,000 square kilometers is dominated by hills and mountains. Sixty percent of natural hillsides have slopes of 20 to 45 degrees. Even if we are able to turn all country parks into housing sites, though only a small portion can be used, the housing problem in Hong Kong cannot be solved as more and more immigrants means increasing housing demand. Some people also have queried why we do not make use of the 2,300 hectares of vacant government sites to solve the imminent housing problem. My second speaker will further elaborate on this point.
The second “E” stands for ecology. We should remember that, with loosen immigrant controls once one piece of country park land is surrendered, there may well be no end to the attribution. That means the utter destruction of Hong Kong’s remaining ecosystem. The country park is home to many local organisms, including some endangered species. The natural ecosystem also promotes the recycling of carbon and nitrogen produced by urban life. For example, the photosynthesis of plants absorbs carbon dioxide and produces oxygen which allows citizens to have fresh and clean air. For the man in the street, pressed down by the burden of working, country parks offer a gasp of air. Country parks also provide precious and invaluable service such as giving families happy times together, enabling young people to build up their characters with hiking, etc. We saw no reasons in erasing such an important natural resource just for compensating for the consequences of poor urban planning. My third speaker will develop on this part.
The last “E” stands for economics. To deplete an important resource permanently in favor of the one-off gains for a selected few would be very poor economics. There are no cosmopolitan cities, except Hong Kong, whose countryside is accessible to a busy city centre. The Hong Kong trail was named by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 city hikes in the world. In 2011, they are 13 million recorded visitors and we should spare no effort to safeguard the green jewel on the crown of The Eastern Pearl. Our opponent should notice that 11 country parks are responsible for the water supply system. These parks were designated with the important purpose of protecting the catchment areas from contamination. They should also notice that with the economic boom in the Pearl River Delta, Guangdong province requires more water supply every year as we do. The development in countryparks will reduce the self-reliance of water supply in the city and is detrimental to Hong Kong’s economics in the long run. My fourth speaker will give you more statistics to justify the view.
All in all, as today’s motion is beneficial to none, but just bringing harm to Hong Kong in social, ecological and economic prospects. Today’s motion shall fall. Thank you!