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Old July 18th, 2006, 05:17 PM   #261
hkskyline
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Campaign to save Hong Kong harbour landmark

HONG KONG, July 18, 2006 (AFP) - A campaign has been launched to save Hong Kong's landmark Queen's Pier from demolition, a media report said Tuesday amid concerns that redevelopment is robbing Hong Kong harbour of its heritage.

The campaign also seeks to preserve the pier's 1958 clock-tower, the South China Morning Post reported. The tower is one of the oldest structures still standing in a district teeming with modern skyscrapers.

The pier, the main harbourside landing point for downtown Hong Kong, is earmarked for demolition as part of a plan to reclaim more of the harbour to build a road and a shopping centre.

"The government thinks the pier is too old to accommodate modern needs but it also thinks it is too young to be preserved," conservationist Patsy Cheng was quoted as saying.

Cheng has appealed to the city's civil engineering department to grant the waterside feature clemency, the report said.

"The clock is the city's last mechanical clock," Cheng said. "It plays musical notes every 15 minutes and has become part of people's lives."

"The pier is a historical building. We understand the public wants to preserve it but it is a government property," a government spokesman was quoted as saying in response.

Cheng's intervention is the latest development in an ongoing attempt to preserve Hong Kong harbour's heritage, which critics say is being squandered in the name of commercial development.

Half the harbour has been swallowed by reclamation over the past century, and a government decision to grab more of it has infuriated many who see the harbour as a natural asset, a landmark and a lucrative tourist attraction.

Other protests have targeted plans to pull historic maritime industries from the city's Kowloon area to make way for a new housing and hotels complex, and a scheme to extend the harbourside convention centre.
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Old July 26th, 2006, 10:20 PM   #262
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Star Ferry pier to be demolished
Leslie Kwoh
Hong Kong Standard
Thursday, July 27, 2006

Members of the government-advisory Harbourfront Enhancement Committee have been forced to say a reluctant farewell to the Star Ferry Pier, after officials refused to back down on plans to demolish the site.

A heated debate over the famous landmark began Wednesday after the administration reiterated its promise to launch in September a review of the existing plans for the Central reclamation area.

But while members had earlier accepted the review would not include the controversial Tamar development project, they were reluctant to see the 50-year-old icon also slip through their fingers.

"The government says it wants to conduct a study of the area, but it has already decided the fate of the pier before we've even reached a consensus," said Vincent Ng Wing-shun, vice president of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects. "What is there left to be studied?"

Despite a public outcry, the famous landmark is scheduled for demolition later this year to make way for a coastal trunk road and low-rise shopping center. A new terminal, expected to open in the third quarter, is being built 200 meters away, and reclamation works will begin early next year.

Ng said while he understood the site needs to be vacated, he felt the public would prefer to see the structure preserved. He suggested the government consider moving the terminal and accompanying clock tower to another location, as it has done previously with the Murray Building from Central to Stanley.

"I believe the government can make adjustments. It's just a matter of whether it is willing to or not," Ng said.

However, officials remained firm, saying the demolition of the pier was "justified" in light of the pressing need for a new road. The government was already making a concession, Deputy Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Robin Ip Man-fai went on say, in preserving the old clock, which would be disassembled and displayed inside the new terminal.

The debate over the famous terminal also had some members questioning the need for reclamation, and whether the proposed trunk road meets the "overriding public needs test" requirement laid out by the Court of Final Appeal.

Roger Nissim, of the Business Environment Council, told the committee he remained unconvinced that reclaiming the Star Ferry pier site was "the last resort."

He said: "A lot more work needs to be done before we blindly go ahead and assume there's a need to reclaim.

"I have the uneasy feeling assumptions are being made. Be prepared for a judicial review."

If the government pushes ahead with reclamation without exhausting all other alternatives, members of the public could easily find holes in the government's argument, Nissim warned.

For example, one 2002 study found that the government could virtually eliminate traffic jams by increasing tolls from HK$20 to up to HK$80 for the Cross-Harbour Tunnel - the most congested of the three cross-harbor tunnels - during peak hours.

Under such a scheme, harbor activists say, there may not be a need to build the Central-Wan Chai bypass and other surface roads - thus dismissing the need for reclamation.

"The government must follow the correct sequence of events. If you haven't even tried varying toll prices before you gazette the bypass, how do you know there is a need?" Nissim asked.

Transport officials dismissed the study, arguing that it had already been presented to the committee's expert panel on traffic - which nevertheless concluded last year there was a need for new roads.

Resolving traffic problems would require a "basket of measures," said Deputy Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works Thomas Chow Tat-ming, and varying tunnel tolls could not be a solution in itself.

"We are in unchartered territories and we are subject to challenge, so it is vital that our process is robust, transparent and can stand up to scrutiny," said property surveyor Nicholas Brooke. "It's not enough to say the study is too old, or that we've heard it before. It it's not on the record, we are vulnerable."
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Old July 27th, 2006, 08:01 AM   #263
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Would be fun to see a pier in the middle of some land though
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Old July 27th, 2006, 08:05 PM   #264
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RTHK news (7/27/2006):
Govt insists on Star Ferry Pier demolition

Call for a harbour authority

--This is really necessary for HK!!!

P.S. my 888th post!
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Old August 20th, 2006, 03:21 PM   #265
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RTHK news:
Govt urged to scrap plans to demolish Star Ferry clock tower 2006-08-20 HKT 19:44

The government's being urged keep the Star ferry clock tower in Central in future plans for Victoria harbour. The call was made by a group of protestors, including artists and designers, who carried a paper model of the tower as they marched from the Star Ferry to the Central Government Offices. One of the organisers, Diana Yeung, said the Star Ferry had been gazetted for demolition and she hoped the plan would be temporarily suspended. She said the government should seriously consider the cultural integrity of the clock tower and historical buildings along the harbour-front before making any decision.
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Old August 20th, 2006, 04:42 PM   #266
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Wow such an intresting project, BTW is this part of eco-tourism.
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Old August 29th, 2006, 12:24 PM   #267
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RTHK news:
Construction of new Star Ferry terminal completed
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Old August 29th, 2006, 06:46 PM   #268
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From news.gov.hk:
New Star Ferry Piers to open in November
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Old August 30th, 2006, 07:27 PM   #269
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They have ruled out moving the current bells since it's hard to reassemble the parts. Too bad... but at least the bells will be exhibited.
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Old September 2nd, 2006, 06:24 AM   #270
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Old September 2nd, 2006, 01:32 PM   #271
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Yeah, the renders are nice to look at, but after the West Kowloon canopy disaster, I have zero faith that this government has what it takes to make HK more livable. Maybe they'll get serious when a recession hits...

Here is a shot of the old piers from the 2 IFC mall, from June. (That mall has a fun outdoor area on the roof, by the way. Interesting photos from there.)

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Old September 2nd, 2006, 03:58 PM   #272
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I wish they build the canopy... i mean for WKCD.
The models seem nice here.
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Old September 3rd, 2006, 01:06 AM   #273
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Closure party planned for old Central pier
2 September 2006
South China Morning Post



Star Ferry is preparing a party to mark the closure of its Central pier and allow the public the chance to say farewell to a landmark that has been part of their lives for 49 years.

The event, which will take place either on the evening of November 4 or 11, will mark the final moments of the pier that conservationists have been fighting hard to save from demolition for months.

Under the ferry company's plan, a special ferry service will depart the Central pier for Tsim Sha Tsui after the clock strikes midnight.

The managing director of the company, Frankie Yick Chi-ming, said: "Many people in Hong Kong have a deep emotional attachment to the pier. We believe many will board the last ferry that departs Central, so we have decided there should be special arrangements on the last day of the pier."

The ferry company will charge party-goers, with proceeds going to charity.

Under the government's harbour reclamation plan, the pier, completed in 1957, will be demolished to free land for a road and a groundscraper.

Despite Star Ferry's objection to the reclamation plan in 1999, the government decided the pier should move to a new location.

The new, three-storey pier complex will start operation the day after the old pier's closure; it is 600 metres from the existing one.

Government officials said the new pier was 10 minutes walking distance from the old one.

Mr Yick said an exhibition would be held in Tsim Sha Tsui and Central piers on the design and facilities of the new pier early next month.

The exhibition will detail the public transport available at the interchange of the new pier.

"It is important to inform the public what the new pier will offer and get them familiar with the services and the land transports they can use to reach their destination."

He said the new pier would have a convenience store, bakery, cafe, bookstore and souvenirs shops.
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Old September 3rd, 2006, 01:11 AM   #274
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline
The reclamation has begun!



Which building is dat at the back with a twisting shape>>
can someone post more pix of that or paste a link to have a closer view of it................
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Old September 7th, 2006, 06:53 AM   #275
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Public wants bypass now, says official
Harbour advisers criticise deputy over not being consulted before plan released

1 September 2006
South China Morning Post

The government wants to begin the public consultation on how to build the Central-Wan Chai bypass as soon as possible because it was what the people want, a senior official told a group of angry harbour advisers yesterday.

"This meeting is about the concept plan. Once you give your opinion, we will begin the consultation. The people want the bypass; they want it to be built as soon as possible," said Robin Ip Man-fai, deputy secretary for housing, planning and lands.

He was facing a storm of criticism at a meeting of a subcommittee set up under the Harbour-front Enhancement Committee to take charge of the Wan Chai development review.

Members denounced the government's release on August 24 of a concept plan for the development of the coastline without seeking their advice and demanded to know why it had happened.

"The bypass shouldn't bypass us," Society for Protection of the Harbour director Hardy Lok said. "It is unacceptable. I want to file a strong protest and demand a pledge it will not happen again."

Citizens Envisioning @ Harbour member Ng Mee-kam questioned why the government was in a rush. The Conservancy Association's Alvin Kwok Ngai-kuen said he was shocked. Chan Wai-kwan, a former Town Planning Board member, said the government's move was disturbing.

Under the blueprint, a bypass involving 15 hectares of reclamation between Central and North Point would be completed by 2015.

Victoria Park would be extended to the waterfront and Golden Bauhinia Plaza in Wan Chai would expand, creating a 4km public promenade from Central to North Point. There would be five themed precincts: arts and culture, a water park, water recreation, heritage, and leisure and recreation.

The subcommittee had scheduled a meeting for last Thursday to listen to the Civil Engineering and Development Department's progress report on the bypass.

The government postponed the meeting on the grounds that the consultant needed more time. But it did not postpone the scheduled briefing to the Town Planning Board last Friday.

Civil Engineering and Development Department project manager Ma Lee-tak said the consultant finished the work on the Thursday so it was possible to brief the board members on time. The document was sent to harbour advisers about the time the briefing began.

"If we had postponed the meeting with the board, we would have had to wait at least two weeks," an assistant secretary of the bureau, Lydia Lam Sui-ping, said.

The committee also heard that a temporary promenade will be built along the Wan Chai waterfront for pet owners and their animals.

Work on the boardwalk will begin next month, and it is due to open in January. But it will be demolished when work on the Central-Wan Chai bypass begins in 2008.

The walkway, with lawns and seats, as well as a wooden path, will be built between the Convention and Exhibition Centre and the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.

"This will be a place for people and pets," Architectural Services Department senior architect Raymond Fung Wing-kee said, adding that the idea had been inspired by the presence in the area of the headquarters of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The Wan Chai District Council endorsed the project in May.
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Old September 7th, 2006, 04:19 PM   #276
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Techno-Architect
Which building is dat at the back with a twisting shape>>
can someone post more pix of that or paste a link to have a closer view of it................
Do you mean 1 Peking Road or the Cultural Centre?
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Old September 14th, 2006, 05:48 PM   #277
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Holistic approach needed on harbour and traffic
26 August 2006
South China Morning Post

Never in the history of Hong Kong has a development issue been so hotly debated as the plan for Victoria Harbour. The future shape of this city's greatest asset is one that has drawn passionate comments from a cross-section of the community.

Tempers have flared over the government's plan to reclaim a long stretch of the coast from Central to Causeway Bay and to build a new government HQ at the Tamar site.

The debate continues with yesterday's publication of a revised plan for the Central-Wan Chai bypass. The plan represents the government's latest efforts to try to build a road tunnel under newly reclaimed land between Central and Causeway Bay without filling up too much of our beautiful harbour.

At first glance, the new plan is an improvement over the previous one. The five precincts with distinct themes - arts and culture, water park, water recreation, heritage and leisure and recreation - should enhance the aesthetic appeal of what will be the harbour's longest promenade. But the devil could be in the details. We urge all those who care about how this important strip of land should look to study the plan and see if there is room for improvement.

The government needs to be aware that there are still critics who are sceptical of the need for the bypass as a means of relieving congestion on existing roads along the waterfront.

The critics contend that every new road will eventually become saturated with traffic, so building more roads will not solve the problem. They argue that congestion can only be alleviated by a comprehensive traffic-management scheme that includes road pricing and more use of public transport.

A major cause of traffic snarls along the waterfront from Central to Causeway Bay is the long queues of vehicles making their way to Kowloon through the Cross-Harbour Tunnel. Unless some of this traffic is redirected to other tunnels by manipulating the tolls of all three harbour crossings, the Central-Wan Chai bypass will not necessarily relieve congestion in the area. And unless commercial developments on the newly reclaimed land are capped, congestion will only pile up.

The government's plan for the waterfront has gone so far down the track that it might be unrealistic to expect it to change course now. Yet, it is not a foregone conclusion that the Central bypass project will get the necessary funding approval from legislators. If the government wants to avoid another ugly showdown with its detractors over the issue, it will have to continue to adopt an open mind to listen to criticism and try to accommodate constructive suggestions as much as possible.

Apart from drawing up a blueprint for a beautiful waterfront, developing a comprehensive traffic plan for the area might be just what it needs to win community approval of this controversial project.
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Old September 14th, 2006, 05:50 PM   #278
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HK$73b the price for a people's harbour
12 August 2006
South China Morning Post

What price a cleaner, greener, more accessible harbour? HK$73 billion.

That's what the public would be prepared to pay for their ideal harbour - one with good water quality, more green areas and promenades - a survey for the Business Harbour Forum suggests.

The Harbour Values Study shows the government's revenue-generation approach may not be the best solution for the harbourfront, the researchers said.

"The result suggests that an adjustment to the historical mix of uses, away from buildings and infrastructure and in the direction of greater public amenity, appears in order," says a report on the survey's findings, released yesterday.

It is the first time the public has placed a value on the harbour.

The survey's 1,034 respondents were asked to list the most important elements of a future harbour and put a price on those elements. Their top three priorities were water quality, green space and promenades. Among the least popular elements were shops and roads.

The respondents are, on average, willing to pay HK$222 a month for up to 5.8 years to get the harbour they want. Multiplying that figure by Hong Kong's adult population suggests society would be prepared to pay HK$73 billion.

The figure is much higher than the HK$37 billion that could be earned from selling land-use rights on the Central reclamation as proposed by the government in 1998.

If the Society for the Protection of the Harbour's blueprint for harbour development were adopted, the land value would be only HK$8.5 billion. Still, the public's HK$73 billion valuation, while it applies to the harbour as a whole, suggests the trade-off warrants closer inspection, the report says.

"The relatively high value that the public place on the development of the harbour for recreation and environmental benefits, in dollar terms, provides a strong justification for revisiting existing plans for the harbour, and for planning in the future," it says.

The Harbour Business Forum's members include big corporations such as HSBC and the Swire Group.
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Old September 14th, 2006, 05:53 PM   #279
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Advisory body bypassed on harbor
Leslie Kwoh and Chester Yung
26 August 2006
Hong Kong Standard

The government has effectively bypassed the advisory Harbour Enhancement Committee by deciding to push ahead with the first tunnel option for the proposed Central-Wan Chai Bypass.

The Civil Engineering and Development Department submitted a proposal to the Town Planning Board to build a bypass involving 15 hectares of reclaimed land between Central and North Point, to be completed by 2015.

The option, one of three originally put forth by the government for discussion, would be the least expensive _ at HK$20 billion _ and would require the least reclamation, the department said.

According to Friday's submission, the northern edge of Victoria Park will be extended to the waterfront and the Golden Bauhinia Plaza in Wan Chai will expand by 30 percent to 40 percent, creating a five-kilometer public promenade from Central to North Point.

The department stressed the reclaimed land will not be put up for sale but retained for public leisure.

Maunsell Consultants Asia, the government-commissioned consultant for the project, said different themes would be applied to the five precincts along the waterfront: Arts and Culture, Water Park, Water Recreation, Heritage, and Leisure and Recreation.

But the submission surprised members of the Harbourfront Enhancement Committee, which at its most recent quarterly meeting late last month was still debating the basis for reclamation and whether the bypass would meet the "overriding public needs" test as laid out by the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance. "The government is jumping the gun and departing from the normal process," said committee member Hardy Lok Kung-chin. "I don't feel comfortable with this _ they should have gone through the committee first."

Institute of Architects representative Vincent Ng Wing-shun said: "I was not aware that a decision has been reached on which option the committee would prefer."

However, the chairman of the committee's Wan Chai subcommittee, Leung Kong-yui _ who has openly defended the need for more roads _ said his subcommittee had in June reached a decision to proceed with the first option.

"Let me be clear. The subcommittee has no right to decide on whether to build a road or not, but given the information provided to us, we had to start with something," he said.

"The first option seemed to be the most likely to obtain approval because it requires the least reclamation and would also cause the least disturbance to traffic [during construction]."

When asked whether subcommittee members had discussed the merits of the second option _ which a number of committee members in April pointed out would afford a wider public promenade _ Leung said his understanding of the ordinance was that reclamation should be kept to a minimum at all costs.

"The question of reclamation is `yes' or `no' _ there is no trade-off," he said. "Even if there is an overriding public need for reclamation, we must still strive for the least amount possible." But Lok, who said he was unsure the option would pass the overriding public needs test, insisted the government should have conducted the test before submitting the option to the Town Planning Board. Property surveyor Nicholas Brooke, who had earlier argued that the HK$8 billion cost difference between the government's preferred option and the more expensive options was trivial when compared with the long-term implications, reiterated his stance.

While he accepted the need for a bypass, Brooke said he would rather "reclaim a few more hectares now than regret it later, if it means it's better for our future generations."

Speaking at the April meeting, Deputy Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Robin Ip Man-fai urged committee members to consider the options in terms of costs, construction time and environmental impacts.

Phyllis Li Chi-miu of the Planning Department added: "Reclamation is the most important factor from a planning point of view."

Brooke said he personally favored the more expensive tunnel option because it will allow for a wider harborfront promenade and a larger water recreation and entertainment zone.
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Old September 22nd, 2006, 05:32 AM   #280
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Global warming could restore harbour
Melting ice cap would leave reclaimed shores under water

16 September 2006
South China Morning Post

Hong Kong may regain its spacious harbour, narrowed by endless reclamation, if the sea level rises by 6 metres as a result of the melting of the biggest Arctic ice cap, according to an investment agency report.

The hardest-hit developer would be Henderson Land Development. An estimated US$15 billion of its portfolio could be destroyed. Wharf (Holdings) would lose assets worth US$12 billion, Hongkong Land (Holdings) would lose US$11 billion of its estate, Sun Hung Kai Properties US$8 billion, Swire Pacific US$5 billion and Hysan Development US$4 billion.

"A 6-metre rise in sea levels would have a radical impact on Hong Kong, a great deal of Central and Kowloon would disappear, as would the airport and Mass Transit Railway systems as they currently exist," the report says.

"Ironically, given the government's evident priorities, the Tamar site - to be its new seat from 2011 - would also be under water," said Rob Morrison, chief executive of CLSA, in the introduction of the report titled "Boomtown to Bloomtown: Implications of Inaction".

The report's projection is based on the assumption that the Greenland ice cap would have melted, leading to a rise of 6 metres in global sea levels.

However, scientists are divided over when this would actually happen, with some predicting that it may occur in this generation's lifetime, while others say it remains uncertain.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts sea levels may rise by between 2cm and 88cm by the end of this century if global warming continues.

A Civil Engineering and Development Department spokesman said the existing design of the sea wall was only sufficient to handle an increase of 4.5 metres.

He said that such a dramatic rise in sea level would need higher sea walls.

Tim Flannery, a scientist and author of international best-seller The Weather Makers, said the correct political decision on climate change and air pollution was badly needed.

"Because the impacts of air pollution are so long-lived, much hangs upon decisions made by Hong Kong leaders today.

"If matters are left to drift, in the hope that some future administration will deal with the issue, Hong Kong's very existence may be in peril."
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