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Old June 17th, 2006, 06:29 PM   #221
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From news.gov.hk:
Public backs Tamar project: Michael Suen
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Old June 18th, 2006, 07:27 AM   #222
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舊碼頭拆卸 藍絲帶致敬
6月 18日 星期日 05:10 更新



【明報專訊】受中環新填海工程影響,皇后碼頭和天星碼頭7月便會拆卸,而新天星碼頭將會遷到國際金融中心二期對開一帶。環保團體長春社昨日在兩個碼頭舉行人浪藍絲帶行動,讓港人向服務香港數十載的碼頭致敬。

長春社指出,兩個碼頭包含了不少港人的集體回億,皇后碼頭是港英殖民地總督就職和離任的地方,不少人會在那裏釣魚、出海、拍拖和拍攝結婚照。天星小輪於1966年加價5仙,引發暴動,今年剛好是事件的40周年。

(李紹昌攝)
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Old June 18th, 2006, 06:21 PM   #223
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RTHK news:
Public urged to pressure lawmakers over Tamar development 2006-06-18 HKT 17:35

The Civic Party has called on the public to pressure lawmakers who represent them, NOT to hand the Government a blank cheque for the planned 5.2-billion dollar development of the Tamar site. Legco's finance committee will vote on the controversial project on Friday, and the Government appears to have overwhelming support from lawmakers. But, speaking during a public forum on the issue, Legislator Kwok Ka-Ki said the Government should not be gifted the funds without a full public consultation.
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Old June 20th, 2006, 06:28 PM   #224
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RTHK news:
Many survey respondents don't believe CE's claims on support for Tamar project 2006-06-20 HKT 23:17

More than half the respondents of a new survey on the proposed Tamar development say they don't believe the Chief Executive's claim that 70-percent of people support the project. The study, conducted by the Action Group on Protection of the Harbour, also found that 80 percent of those polled don't believe the Government had consulted them, and a similar number wanted authorities to carry out an environmental impact assessment on the 5.2-billion dollar plan.
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Old June 21st, 2006, 05:32 AM   #225
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Sprucing up offices would save billions
Leslie Kwoh
21 June 2006
Hong Kong Standard

Retrofitting existing government offices to the highest standard would cost about HK$250 million, or less than 5 percent of the proposed price tag to build a new government headquarters at Tamar, according to a study.

The study by architects and surveyors, commissioned by green group Save Our Shorelines, found that replacing building services such as air- conditioning and electrical infrastructure at the Lower Albert Road offices would cost about 80 percent less than constructing and fitting out a new building of the same size in the Central business district, based on costs for the Cheung Kong Center.

To meet the extra space requirements set by the government, SOS chairman John Bowden said he supported the Civic Party's proposal to redevelop Murray Building to a higher plot ratio. The offices at Lower Albert Road could then be reclad externally to match the new design, he added.

Also released Tuesday was a poll showing strong public support for more consultation before the Tamar development project proceeds.

According to the poll, taken by the Action Group on the Protection of the Harbor, about 70 percent of the survey's 770 respondents said they wanted no less than three months of consultation, and 52 percent said they disagreed with the chief executive's claim that the project enjoyed majority support.

``The results clearly demonstrate that Hong Kong people feel that have not had a chance to voice their views,'' group convenor and lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki said. ``And while people are not coming right out and accusing [Donald Tsang Kam-yuen] of lying, they also don't believe what he said.''

The study also found that 77 percent of respondents want the government to conduct an assessment to ensure there are no toxic chemicals at Tamar. The poll results come just days before the Finance Committee is expected to approve the HK$5.1 billion project.

But Kwok said the public will become disillusioned with the project.

``The government has damaged its own credibility and it's not for something that will benefit the public, like a hospital or library,'' he said. ``When people witness the massive building in front of them, they will wonder why their lawmakers voted for that.''

But political parties that supported the project will shirk the blame and point the finger at the government, he predicted.
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Old June 21st, 2006, 07:07 PM   #226
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RTHK news:
Construction industry supports Tamar project 2006-06-21 HKT 18:57

President of Construction Industry Association, Conrad Wong

The Construction Industry Association has issued a statement expressing strong support for the building of a new government headquarters at the Tamar site. The group, which represents over 300 construction companies, says the project had already gone through extensive consultation and the project should go ahead. Its comments come ahead of Friday's vote in the Legislative Council for the 5.2 billion dollar project. The Association's President, Conrad Wong, says the government had already struck a balance.
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Old June 23rd, 2006, 03:37 PM   #227
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Harbor 'going in no time'
Leslie Kwoh
Hong Kong Standard
Friday, June 23, 2006

The government's insatiable appetite for reclamation will lead to the disappearance of Victoria Harbour "in no time," retired High Court judge Simon Li Fook- sean warned on the eve of the Legislative Council's final vote on the Tamar development project.

"I can predict that in due course, one will be able to walk from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon," Li said in an interview Wednesday, likening the city's penchant for turning water into real-estate to "spitting at your front door."

The 84-year-old Li surprised the public when he abruptly emerged from retirement last month to protest against the building of a new headquarters at Tamar, saying it was a project based purely on the government's "self-interest" and one he objected to even more strongly than the anti-sedition Article 23 legislation.

"There were many other projects I had feelings and doubts about, but this was the last straw," he said. "The government has always been not telling the truth."

Li said he remained silent when plans for the West Kowloon cultural district evolved from a green park into a developer's haven - complete with a museum, theater and retail shops.

He flinched when plans for the stretch of reclamation along the Central waterfront, originally earmarked for new roads to solve traffic congestion, gradually came to include a commercial belt as well. But Li said he could not keep quiet when he saw the government claim the last piece of prime land in Hong Kong for itself, at the public's expense.

Official justifications for the project so far, including the age of the present headquarters and the difficulty of installing new infrastructure, have only been "excuses to spend money," he said.

Recent "secret deals" alleged to have taken place between the government and two of the most powerful political parties only strengthened his conviction the administration was bypassing the public to secure funding.

His conviction prompted him to donate HK$500,000 to the cause, much of that sum spent in recent weeks on publishing open letters to the government in local newspapers.

Li's sudden appearance has prompted some to accuse him of a hidden political agenda, though he insists his decision to protest stems from a "sincere" love for the harbor.

He recalled that as a teenager in the 1930s, he would often visit the harborfront which at the time reached the present site of the Mandarin Oriental hotel.

Later, his harborview office at the Supreme Court building allowed him to gaze at the waters every day - a habit he was loathe to break when he retired in 1987. Since then, he has made sure he always has access to a harborview room.

But a lifetime of harbor-gazing led Li to the sad realization that, though Victoria Harbour has been reduced to half its size, the government's desire for reclamation remains undiminished.

"I have seen no change in the government's way of operation from the past to the present," he said. "It's all about making money the easy way, selling land instead of promoting Hong Kong's trade and industry."

Despite these observations, the passing of the final vote in the Legislative Council today will most likely mark the end of his last public appearance, he said. "If [the government] can do this despite my efforts to weaken them, I think it's a futile effort to do anything," he said, adding: "I'm too old to be interested in everything."

And, while he believes his efforts have helped pique public interest and highlight the pros and cons of the Tamar project, he admitted he also feels "a bit disappointed" in the public's lack of support. "They have not been given a fair chance, but at the same time, there's always a silent majority," he said.

As for the government, Li said he did not think it was "willfully malicious, but just so self-assured it won't listen to any suggestions."

To be fair though, he conceded, running the Hong Kong government is a strenuous job.

Looking back on his 1996 chief executive run against Tung Chee-hwa, Li said he now realizes he possessed neither the energy nor the "quality" to lead Hong Kong. But if he had succeeded, he would have made sure of at least one thing.

"There would be more harbor today, that's for certain," he said.
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Old June 23rd, 2006, 05:17 PM   #228
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June 23, 2006

LegCo approves Tamar funds



The Legislative Council has approved the Government's $5.2 billion funding request for the Tamar development project. Director of Administration Elizabeth Tse says the Government will get the public involved in the tendering process.



Speaking at the LegCo Finance Committee meeting today, Miss Tse said subject to funding support by the Legislative Council, the Government will start the tendering process in the third quarter. When the tenders are returned, models of the designs will be presented for public viewing. The Government will hire a consultant to study ways to display the models and how to collect public and expert views on the designs.



Miss Tse said the Special Selection Board will consider construction costs and other technical issues when evaluating the tenders and will also take the public's views into account.



To ensure impartiality and openness, the Government will work closely with the Independent Commission Against Corruption and there will be an appropriate mechanism for lawmakers to monitor the process.



Contaminant disposal

Acting Director of Environmental Protection Dr Michael Chiu said only a small amount of contaminant with traces of heavy metal has been found at the Tamar site, which can be disposed of.



The Government has reserved $5 million for handling the contaminant. All Government tests have shown the dioxin level at the site and in Victoria Harbour as far below international standard.



On the future plan for the Government's offices in Central, Miss Tse said no final decision has yet been made, adding it adopts an open attitude on the issue and public requests for heritage conservation will be considered.



Noting the concerned site is now designated for community purposes, the director said if there is a need to change the land usage, the Government will need to consult the public and seek the Executive Council's and Town Planning Board's approval.


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Old June 23rd, 2006, 06:23 PM   #229
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Series of news from RTHK:
Legislators approve funding request for Tamar 2006-06-23 HKT 17:14



The Director of Administration, Elizabeth Tse. Photo: Cecil Wong


The Director of Administration, Elizabeth Tse

The Legislative Council's finance committee has endorsed a government funding request for five-point-two billion dollars to build a new headquarters and a Legco complex at the Tamar site. The application was approved by a vote of 40 to 10. Construction will begin in the middle of next year and is scheduled for completion by late 2010. The Director of Administration, Elizabeth Tse, welcomed the outcome of the vote.


Many questions unanswered over Tamar project: Civic Party 2006-06-23 HKT 18:57



Harbour activist, Winston Chu, speaks during a protest against the building of a new government HQ at Tamar. Photo: Cecil Wong



Civic Party legislator Audrey Eu (third from left) protesting against the Tamar project with other lawmakers. Photo: Cecil Wong

Civic Party legislator, Audrey Eu

The Legislative Council's finance committee has endorsed a government funding request for five-point-two billion dollars to build a new headquarters and a Legco complex at the Tamar site. The application was approved by a vote of 40 to 10. Construction will begin in the middle of next year and is scheduled for completion by late 2010. Civic Party legislator Audrey Eu, who voted against the plan, said the Government had left many critical questions unanswered, such as how the 5.2 billion will be used; what the actual design of the new complex will be; and whether the existing Government headquarters will be sold off to developers. She added that, since the Government's already got funding approval, any public input from now on will be severely limited.
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Old July 5th, 2006, 04:12 PM   #230
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LCQ4: New Central Harbourfront
Wednesday, July 5, 2006
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon Audrey Eu and a reply by the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (July 5):

Question:

The design objectives and planning visions of the new Central Harbourfront announced by the Planning Department at the end of May this year include, among other things, the construction of a 400-metre long nine-storey shopping groundscraper, a 28-storey commercial building and an 18-storey hotel. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the total gross floor area of these buildings, and the floor area to be built on the land from the new reclamation;

(b) of the anticipated traffic volume to be generated upon the occupation of these buildings; and

(c) as the former Chief Executive promised at a Council meeting in October 2004 that any new reclaimed land would be used only to a limited extent for low-density commercial use, such as sight-seeing points and catering facilities, whether the authorities have assessed if the construction of these buildings is in line with that promise, if they have, of the assessment results; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply:

Madam President,

The Central Reclamation is comprised of three phases. Phase I involved the reclamation of about 20 hectares from Rumsey Street to Blake Pier to provide land for the extension of the Central Business District and the construction of the Airport Express and the Tung Chung Line. The works of this phase were completed in June 1998. Phase II started in 1994 and the works which involved the reclamation of about 5.3 hectares in the Tamar Basin were completed in September 1997. The Phase III works currently underway have been scaled down considerably from the original 32 hectares to about 18.73 hectares. This phase mainly provides land for the construction of essential transport infrastructural facilities, including the proposed Central-Wanchai Bypass, Road P2 network and an extended overrun tunnel for the Airport Railway, and the reprovisioning of the existing piers and the cooling water pumping stations. The works started in 2003 and are expected to be completed by late 2008.

The illustrative concept for the new Central Harbourfront announced by the Planning Department at the end of May this year is proposed on the basis of the planned land uses set out in the Central District Outline Zoning Plan (OZP) and the Central District (Extension) OZP, which covers the three commercial sites mentioned by the Hon Audrey EU. The proposed developments are as follows:

(1) the "Comprehensive Development Area" to the north of the Statue Square: The eastern part of the site can be developed into a garden deck not more than two storeys with shopping space inside. To the west will be office/commercial buildings of not more than nine storeys. The length of the garden deck and the office/commercial buildings will be about 270 metres and 350 metres respectively. The development is proposed to adopt a cascading design with massive greening to tie in with the waterfront setting.

(2) the "Comprehensive Development Area" adjoining Central Piers No. 4 to No. 6: A garden deck can be constructed to connect the piers. Proposed developments include two hotel/commercial blocks of 12 storeys and 14 storeys each on top of a 3-storey shopping deck﹔and

(3) the commercial site to the north of Two International Finance Centre: It is proposed that a 28-storey office building with a public transport interchange on the ground level be developed.

My reply to the three-part question is as follows:

(a) The above developments cover a total gross site area of about 7.5 hectares, with a total gross floor area of 306 550 square metres. The distribution is as follows:

(1) the "Comprehensive Development Area" to the north of the Statue Square: about 190 000 square metres;

(2) the "Comprehensive Development Area" adjoining Central Piers No. 4 to No. 6: about 55 740 square metres; and

(3) the commercial site to the north of Two International Finance Centre: about 60 810 square metres.

Of the sites mentioned above, only a portion, about 2.63 hectares, of the "Comprehensive Development Area" to the north of the Statue Square is situated within the area of the Central Reclamation Phase III (CR III) currently underway. The rest of the developments are all on existing land.

(b) According to the Transport Department, it is estimated that the total volume of traffic on the above developments during the morning and afternoon peak hours will be 1 609 and 1 823 passenger car units per hour respectively in 2016. The proposed Road P2 within the area and the Central-Wanchai Bypass will be able to cope with the traffic demands of the district.

(c) The land uses within the CR III is covered by the current Central District (Extension) OZP, which was approved in December 2002 after several rounds of public consultations in accordance with the statutory town planning procedures. When deliberating on a few rezoning applications in August 2005, the Town Planning Board reaffirmed that the scale and development parameters of the above commercial sites are appropriate and are also in line with the planning intention and development controls set out in the relevant OZP.

Just as what the former Chief Executive said, the newly reclaimed land would only be used, on a limited basis, for the provision of low-density commercial facilities. Only about 2.63 hectares of the land will be for low-density office/commercial development, with a plot ratio of only 3.63. Other than that, most of the reclaimed land, about 11.28 hectares in area, will be used for public open space or waterfront-related low density shopping or leisure uses. The focus of our planning is the provision of ample open space for the community and a diversity of functions so as to create a vibrant and green landscape for the new Central Harbourfront.
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Old July 6th, 2006, 06:09 PM   #231
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More shops on reclamation than IFC
6 July 2006
South China Morning Post

Central will have an additional 3.3 million sq ft of commercial space under the plan for the reclaimed waterfront, more than a third bigger than Two IFC, legislators were told yesterday.

The controversial long, low-rise building - dubbed a "groundscraper" by the planners and a horizontal version of the soaring Two IFC by harbour activists - will contribute 2.05 million sq ft. Two other developments will contribute the remainder.

The Secretary of Housing, Planning and Lands Michael Suen Ming-yeung gave the floor-space figures in response to a question by Civic Party chairwoman Audrey Eu Yuet-mee. Ms Eu described the planned development as "massive" and questioned the legality of building offices and shops on reclaimed land, as the Court of Final Appeal had ruled that reclamation could be made only if there was an overriding public need.

Colliers International research director Simon Lo Wing-fai described the additional floor space as "quite a lot". He said the supply of new offices in Central averaged 500,000 sq ft a year.

"But without telling us when they will be completed and the development phases, it is hard to predict their impact on the supply of commercial space in Central."
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Old July 7th, 2006, 02:58 AM   #232
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haha....shops on reclaimed land? They should be building super-tall skyscrapers.
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Old July 7th, 2006, 03:58 PM   #233
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FM 2258


haha....shops on reclaimed land? They should be building super-tall skyscrapers.
yeah cool!
i think it will be good if the victoria harbour is reclaimed all the way, linking a land link with kowloon and hong kong island.
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Old July 7th, 2006, 07:03 PM   #234
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Do we really need more shops?
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Old July 8th, 2006, 01:51 AM   #235
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline
Harbor 'going in no time'
Leslie Kwoh
Hong Kong Standard
Friday, June 23, 2006

The government's insatiable appetite for reclamation will lead to the disappearance of Victoria Harbour "in no time," retired High Court judge Simon Li Fook- sean warned on the eve of the Legislative Council's final vote on the Tamar development project.
This man knows what he's talking about.

I try hard not to be critical of any project here, but this Hong Kong government has butchered not only this, but the Kai Tak redevelopment and West Kowloon Cultural District.

I'm curious as to how people in HK feel about these debacles, if anything. What do you think hkskyline?

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Old July 8th, 2006, 02:01 AM   #236
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cardboard
yeah cool!
i think it will be good if the victoria harbour is reclaimed all the way, linking a land link with kowloon and hong kong island.
Then how would ships pass through the harbour? IMO, that's the worst thing that could happen and by the looks of it, it might eventually happen.

IMO, they should never have done the first phase of Reclamation for Central (or in other words the piece of land where the IFC stands on). Its just caused more problems and is that what HK really needs right now?

They should just finish the West Kowloon Cultural Centre, finish reclamation in Central and Causeway Bay (to even out the shoreline), and finish the Kai Tak Airport development. After that, there should be ABSOLUTELY NO further reclamation ever in Victoria Harbour.
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Old July 8th, 2006, 06:41 AM   #237
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Fusion
This man knows what he's talking about.

I try hard not to be critical of any project here, but this Hong Kong government has butchered not only this, but the Kai Tak redevelopment and West Kowloon Cultural District.

I'm curious as to how people in HK feel about these debacles, if anything. What do you think hkskyline?

There is a lot of public scrutiny on these projects. After West Kowloon, there is a lot more consultation and the government is less hard-line and more open to public opinion, which is why this reclamation project has been on and off the tables and being debated over and over again in the legislature.

I don't buy the suggestion that the entire area ought to be parkland. There should be a purpose as to why people go there, and provide services for them. If I want to go downstairs to eat a lunch by the water in the park, I won't want to haul the food a few blocks to get there. Hence some retail and restaurants will enhance the reclamation, especially cafes.
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Old July 8th, 2006, 06:50 AM   #238
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline
There is a lot of public scrutiny on these projects. After West Kowloon, there is a lot more consultation and the government is less hard-line and more open to public opinion, which is why this reclamation project has been on and off the tables and being debated over and over again in the legislature.
What is it exactly that killed the WKCD plans? Something about a "single developer" being a bad thing, I didn't quite understand it fully from reading the articles you've posted, could you explain it in simpler terms? Thanks!

Quote:
I don't buy the suggestion that the entire area ought to be parkland. There should be a purpose as to why people go there, and provide services for them. If I want to go downstairs to eat a lunch by the water in the park, I won't want to haul the food a few blocks to get there. Hence some retail and restaurants will enhance the reclamation, especially cafes.
I agree completely. I think it'd be best if there were just a 10-meter wide strip of parkland that ran along the coast of the harbour, and in certain spots along the way, the parkland can spread inwards. But yeah, the thought of dedicating that entire spot to grass and trees is absurd.

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Old July 8th, 2006, 06:56 AM   #239
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Fusion
What is it exactly that killed the WKCD plans? Something about a "single developer" being a bad thing, I didn't quite understand it fully from reading the articles you've posted, could you explain it in simpler terms? Thanks!
The government tried to build the cultural facilities with a typical for-profit development model, having one developer build everything and add some commercial and residential buildings to make it profitable. Of course that didn't sit well since cultural industries tend to need government funding. However, the government wasn't willing to back down amidst more and more public scrutiny, and in the end had to cave in and now everything is back to the drawing board.
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Old July 8th, 2006, 07:11 AM   #240
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline
The government tried to build the cultural facilities with a typical for-profit development model, having one developer build everything and add some commercial and residential buildings to make it profitable. Of course that didn't sit well since cultural industries tend to need government funding. However, the government wasn't willing to back down amidst more and more public scrutiny, and in the end had to cave in and now everything is back to the drawing board.
I see... I don't know, personally I'd be willing to trade a little government "waste" on a developer to see something as spectacular as Foster's canopy and masterplanned structure built, but I guess the public thought differently. The govt. is going to eventually throw away money on something... I'd prefer it to be something globally unique and recognizable that everyone could enjoy. A little public input is great, but it appears they're having a little too much influence, which leads to indecision and mediocrity.

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