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Old September 23rd, 2006, 02:37 AM   #281
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The present Star Ferry terminal will soon close and move further out as this area will soon be filled and form part of the new waterfront promenade. By "CTB~944" from a Hong Kong transport forum :





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Old October 3rd, 2006, 07:48 AM   #282
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Tamar project goes to tender
Friday, September 29, 2006
Government Press Release

The Government today (September 29) invited the four prequalified tenderers to submit tenders for the design-and-build contract of the Tamar Development Project. Commencement of the tender exercise marks a major milestone for the project.

The tender document comprises 15 volumes spanning some 6,000 pages. It spells out the overall design objectives of the project, the conditions of tender, the basis for tender evaluation, and the architectural, structural, building services and planning requirements, etc. The contract is expected to run for 39 months, and the Government aims to complete the project around end of 2010. The deadline for tenders is January 26, 2007.

"In arriving at the final project scope, we have taken into account the aspirations and constructive views of the public and the Legislative Council (LegCo)," a spokesman of the Government said.

The project calls for an aesthetically-pleasing design that blends naturally with the Central cityscape, enhances the appeal and vibrancy of the harbourfront area, and is in harmony with the ridgeline of Hong Kong Island. The design should also convey Hong Kong's position as Asia's world city - dynamic, sophisticated and cosmopolitan, and should be functional, sustainable and environmentally friendly.

"The Government has volunteered to limit the maximum height of the development. We have specified that the height of the Tamar development shall allow for at least a 20% 'building-free zone' below the ridgeline," the spokesman noted.

"To reduce development intensity, the Government has trimmed the scale of the Central Government Complex (CGC) development and the plot ratio of the entire development is expected to be around 5.7, much lower than the comparable plot ratios ranging from around 13 to 18 of the adjacent existing commercial developments," the spokesman said.

The Government is committed to enhancing the environmental friendliness of the project. "We request that tenderers optimise use of renewable resources, sustainable design, green features, advanced building technologies and energy-efficient building services systems for the project," the spokesman said.

To ensure that air ventilation within the project site and its surrounding area will not be adversely affected by the development, tenderers will be required to conduct an Air Ventilation Assessment of their design proposals.

"The CGC and LegCo Complex will be supported with modern IT infrastructure and telecommunications systems that meet present and future needs. For security reasons, pre-casting will not be allowed for concrete structural elements and concrete external walls of the buildings."

"Given the overriding need to safeguard the integrity and fairness of the tender process, the Special Selection Board (SSB) for the Tamar Development Project will be the sole and final authority for assessing and marking tenders and deciding on the award of contract," the spokesman said.

The SSB is chaired by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Rafael Hui. Members are Mrs Rita Fan, Ms Miriam Lau, Professor David Lung, Mr Alan Lai and Mrs Rita Lau.

The Board will assess the tender submissions on the basis of a comprehensive list of criteria. The quality considerations will take up 60% of the overall score. These include the design and aesthetic aspects; planning, sustainability and environmental aspects; and functional and technical aspects, etc. Price considerations will take up the remaining 40%.

"As an exceptional arrangement for this unique project, we will arrange for the public to view the tender design schemes after the close of tenders," the spokesman said. Views collected will be analysed by an independent consultant and presented to the Board for consideration. Details will be announced at a later stage.

As mandated under the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement, the tender process must be conducted in a fair and non-discriminatory manner. Relevant parties should avoid comments, reports or moves that may prejudice or be perceived as prejudicing the fairness or integrity of the tender process throughout the tender exercise.

The four prequalified tenderers are (in alphabetical order): -

* China State - Leighton - Yau Lee Joint Venture
* DHK - CRCC Tamar Joint Venture
* Gammon - Hip Hing Joint Venture
* Paul Y. - Shui On Joint Venture

The scope of the contract includes the design and construction of the CGC, LegCo Complex as well as an open space, as approved by the Finance Committee of LegCo in June this year. The new buildings will provide the much-needed office space for the government headquarters and LegCo, enhancing their operational efficiency and enabling them to better serve the public. The open space will provide at least two hectares of landscaped amenity space which, together with the future promenade along the Central waterfront, will enhance the area for public enjoyment.
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Old October 9th, 2006, 05:05 PM   #283
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Harbor debate restarts as plan review sought
Leslie Kwoh
7 October 2006
Hong Kong Standard

Debate over planning of the Central waterfront area reignited Friday when legislators passed a motion calling on the government to revise existing plans, reducing space allotted for commercial development and increasing green, open areas for public use.

It also urged the government to explain details of the 6,000-page tender document for the Tamar headquarters project and consult the community on what public facilities should be included.

The motion comes just before an eight-month urban-design study and public consultation on the area, expected to be launched by the Planning Department later this month.

But while department officials said the study would seek to incorporate changes suggested by the public, existing statutory zoning plans restricted modifications to land use or gross floor areas and building heights. So plans for structures such as the hotly contested ``groundscraper'' and a crop of new high-rises near IFC2 will most likely remain unchanged.

Moreover, the scope of the HK$1.3 million study will exclude a number of sites: the proposed Tamar headquarters, People's Liberation Army headquarters, Government Hill and three of the six Central ferry piers.

``If these preset conditions can't be changed, how can the study be holistic? These conditions are the strongest barriers,'' said Democratic Party legislator Albert Ho Chun-yan. ``You're killing public creativity.''

Civic Party legislator Alan Leong Kah-kit questioned the government's need to further pack the busy Central business district with more commercial developments, saying the ``endless pursuit'' of real estate was overwhelming other public needs such as heritage preservation.

The planning, land and works panel last month passed a motion urging the government to preserve the 50-year-old Star Ferry clock tower, set for demolition early next year to make way for a road linking Central with Admiralty.

However, Assistant Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Wong Yuet-wah, while declining to address the clock tower issue, promised lawmakers the proposed batch of commercial developments would be the last of its kind in Central. ``In Central there will be no more reclamation. This will be the last time,'' she said.

But, if members of the public want to change aspects such as land use and planning parameters, Wong said, they must go through the official channel of the Town Planning Board. The Tamar site, she maintained, would continue to be handled separately.

Designing Hong Kong _ a group of environmentalists who include Christine Loh Kung-wai, Paul Zimmerman and Markus Shaw _ called for an expanded study that would include not only changes to zoning plans, but also a review of land-water interfaces and transport policies.

In related news, the government Friday kicked off the ``envisioning stage'' of its consultation on the Wan Chai reclamation phase II area. Models of the various concept plans will be displayed at the lobby of Revenue Tower and various MTR stations.
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Old October 15th, 2006, 03:15 AM   #284
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Yau Tong reclamation proposal dropped
9 October 2006
South China Morning Post

A consortium led by Henderson Land has decided to drop a plan to reclaim land off Yau Tong Bay for a large waterfront residential and commercial development, a senior executive said.

The executive said future proposals submitted to the Town Planning Board for endorsement would not include reclamation.

But a planning academic said good design that complied with the Harbour Planning Principles required more than just abandoning reclamation plans.

The bay plan is the first major development involving reclamation since the Court of Final Appeal in 2004 practically ruled out harbour reclamations.

The executive said: "We have commissioned five to six designers to work on different plans. We will choose one or two for the board to consider. None of the plans the designers are working on involves reclamation."

The Harbour Planning Principles require that all harbour-front developments involve the public on planning. They also call for developments to not only cater to the economic needs of the community, but also its social and environmental needs.

Ng Mee-kam, associate professor at the University of Hong Kong's Centre for Urban Planning, said she was worried the consortium would crowd the project to compensate for the financial loss of being refused permission to reclaim land for more buildings.

"No reclamation means the developers will have to scale back the development," she said. "I believe they will increase the density to make up for the loss of development space and revenue."

Professor Ng, who is also a government harbour adviser, warned high-density development would create more traffic which would worsen the environment.

She said the developers should also present their plans to the Harbourfront Enhancement Committee for comment. The Harbour Protection Ordinance covers the bay.

Since the appeals court decision, the consortium has argued that reclamation was the only option to clean contaminants from the seabed, stating this met the decision's "overriding public need".
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Old October 25th, 2006, 10:25 PM   #285
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Calm sailing tipped for harbour plan
7 October 2006
South China Morning Post

The public consultation on the Wan Chai waterfront enhancement project was launched yesterday, with a prediction there would be little opposition to the project.

And the chairman of the Harbourfront Enhancement Committee's subcommittee on the Wan Chai development, Leung Kong-yui, said he could not declare that phase two of the Wan Chai Development Project and the Central-Wan Chai bypass would be the last reclamation of Victoria Harbour.

He said independent experts had confirmed a "no-reclamation" option to solve the traffic problem in the area was impossible.

"A bypass would have to be built as a pre-requisite to solving the congestion problem," he said, adding that other measures, such as electronic road pricing, should also be introduced. Mr Leung believed the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance would protect the harbour from reclamation that had no "overriding public need".

Paul Zimmerman, convenor of the Designing Hong Kong Harbour District group, said the government should prove that other measures were insufficient before going ahead with the bypass.

He also said the government had to control the density of urban development, which could soon overtake the capacity, even of a new bypass, to cope with the volume of traffic.

Mr Leung dismissed the alternatives, saying there was no substitute for the bypass - which takes the form of an underwater tunnel - if the traffic problems of north Hong Kong Island were to be solved.

The bypass tunnel would have six lanes, with exits near the Convention and Exhibition Centre and at the North Point waterfront, which would connect with the Island Eastern Corridor.

The project, which would cost HK$20 billion and require reclamation of 15 hectares of the harbour, consists of five "character precincts" along the 4km waterfront promenade.

It would include a cultural centre near the Convention and Exhibition Centre, a green leisure zone adjacent to it, a water sports zone at the Wan Chai cargo area, a heritage zone at the Causeway Bay typhoon shelter and another green zone at the North Point waterfront.

Nine pedestrian passageways would be built for the public to give better access to the harbourfront. Only one would take the form of a footbridge, which Mr Leung said would meet public demand for minimal use of bridges.

An exhibition of the plan opened yesterday at various locations in Eastern District and will be on display until the beginning of December. The consultation ends on December 5.

Mr Leung said if the procedure ran smoothly - and he did not believe there would be strong opposition to the project - the finalised plan would be gazetted in 2008 and construction would be completed by 2015.
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Old November 25th, 2006, 02:57 PM   #286
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建消波海堤 減維港大浪
明報
11月 13日 星期一 05:05AM

土木工程拓展署高級工程師彭偉成表示,維港近年愈來愈大浪,主要因為海上交通日趨頻繁,船隻航行時激起波浪,該署會在中環灣仔填海工程引入消波海堤,預計到08年填海工程完成後,有望紓緩風高浪急的問題。

預計08年建成 交通量增或削成效

彭偉成表示,該署早於90年代委託港大研究,發現維港大浪的主因是海上交通愈來愈繁忙,尤其高速船隻產生的波浪拍向維港兩岸的垂直海堤時,便會將波浪反射回海港內,令在維港航行的船隻顛簸。

該署2002及03年於青衣及西九龍填海區興建呈蜂巢狀的「多孔重力式消波海堤」,將反射的海浪能量減少50%;現正進行的中環灣仔填海工程亦採用了消波海堤設計,預計填海工程在08年完成後,維港的大浪可望得到紓緩,但海上交通量的增長,會抵消消波海堤的部分效果。

土木署研究指出,維港波浪最高的時段,是早上7時至8時及傍晚5時至6時。

根據測量數據,新天星碼頭(相關新聞 - 網站)坐落的維港北部,以至灣仔一帶,屬於「中浪區」,波浪介乎30至40厘米;灣仔以東及青洲以西的波浪約30厘米,屬「小浪區」;維港西部波浪介乎40至50厘米,屬「大浪區」;西營盤至上環對開海面,波浪逾50厘米,屬「強浪區」。
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Old November 25th, 2006, 03:39 PM   #287
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Victoria Harbour and the Giving Tree: a cautionary tale
25 November 2006
South China Morning Post

Depressing reports over recent months on the government's plans to build its headquarters at Tamar, knock down history on the Central waterfront and further reclaim our beautiful harbour remind me forcefully of a cautionary story I read to my children when they were small. The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein, is an environmental parable which recounts the many gifts a majestic tree lavishes lovingly on a small boy over the course of his long, increasingly needy life.

In the beginning, the boy is happy simply to play beneath the tree's protective canopy and to swing from its branches. "And the boy loved the tree", as I imagine senior government officials loved the harbour before they became important men and women. However, as the boy grew older, he no longer went to visit the tree, for he was becoming a very busy man. Then, one day, this young businessman took a long, hard look at the tree again and saw its vast potential for making money. And the tree was only too happy to give up its apples for sale, as our property developers and road planners have been only too happy to gobble up the harbour shoreline.

As the young man grew older, one of the defining characteristics of adulthood was that he was no longer happy or satisfied for long. So he returned to the tree, which gladly gave him its branches to build a house for his family, as our harbour provided commercial office and retail space.

Finally, the boy reached retirement age and, like our senior civil servants became "too old and sad to play" and wanted to sail into the sunset - not on a Star ferry that would only take him a short distance across a dramatically reduced harbour (in any case, relocated to a berth impossible for the old and infirm to reach with ease) - but on a big boat that would take him far away. So he returned to the tree and requisitioned its trunk. The tree was so happy to see him again at any cost that "she could hardly speak". Likewise our harbourfront, which has no united voice in government to defend it, is now offering up what is left of its body to groundscrapers, government headquarters, shopping malls and a six-lane bypass.

However, in retirement, the boy discovered the wisdom to see that he didn't need much to be happy - not a big boat or another Mercedes-Benz to speed him along the waterfront road without seeing the harbour, but "just a quiet place to sit and rest". So the tree gave him the only thing it had left - its old stump, where he could take a seat and savour the view.

Leung Kong-yui, chairman of a subcommittee of the Harbourfront Enhancement Committee, cannot assure us that phase two of the Wan Chai Development Project and the Central-Wan Chai bypass will be the last reclamation of Victoria Harbour ("Calm sailing tipped for harbour plan", October 7). The government may provide a stump where we can sit and rest now, but what will be left for our children? When will we grow up and realise that, in our seemingly insatiable consumption of the harbour, we are destroying a natural landscape that is not only intrinsic to Hong Kong's identity but may also be vital to the legendary energy and dynamism that flow through our city?

MAUREEN SABINE, School of Humanities, University of Hong Kong
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Old November 30th, 2006, 05:48 PM   #288
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500人愛護維港行 斥填海港人回憶
11月 13日 星期一 05:05AM

明報專訊】多個關注填海問題的環保團體昨午發動近500人遊行,反對中區填海。遊行發言人郭家麒批評,政府為填海而拆天星碼頭和鐘樓,是短視的做法,「政府不止破壞一座建築物,而是破壞了港人的歷史回憶」。

保護海港協會顧問徐嘉慎稱,已放棄以法律方式保護維港,改為以人民力量向政府表達意見,每年11月會舉行保護維港活動。

近500名市民昨午由中環愛丁堡廣場遊行至灣仔金紫荊廣場,沿途高喊「保護維港 停止填海」口號。贊助是次活動50萬元的上訴庭前大法官李福善,公民黨的梁家傑、余若薇、黎廣德,民主黨的李永達、楊森,以及梁國雄、陸恭蕙等亦到場支持。

現年84歲、因身體問題未有參加遊行的李福善,在台上發表講話時說:「世上好多地方都有海港,可能是我有偏見,但我覺得香港的海港是最美麗的,雖然( 香港的 )海港現時一吋又一吋被填海侵食,但仍有些剩餘的青春和美麗,我希望政府不要再傷害它。」
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Old December 2nd, 2006, 03:05 PM   #289
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共建維港為名 假諮詢設圈套
北角填海存心擾民

02/12/2006
太陽報



共建維港委員會就「優化海濱研究」進行的公眾諮詢,遭環保人士、業界,以及受影響的北角區居民炮轟,指有關建議是委員會代政府推出的糖衣毒藥,企圖以優化海濱為名,填海擾民為實;諮詢文件內披露的資料不盡全面,令人有魚目混珠的感覺。北角海濱一帶居民昨日透過報章獲悉計劃詳情和影響後,無不感到憤怒,要求當局延長諮詢期,讓受影響人士有較多時間了解計劃,進行全面的討論。

有環保人士痛斥今次公眾諮詢是一個圈套,政府以共建維港為名,落力推銷所謂優化海濱,完全沒有臚列填海及有關工程的環境評估資料及數據,旨在迴避公眾對填海的反對聲音;諮詢期匆匆結束,更有瞞天過海之嫌。

北角城市花園、海峰園一帶的居民擔心,有關工程和日後的交通安排,將對區內的環境、噪音、空氣、景觀、樓價,以至居民的健康,帶來負面影響。對於影響如此深遠的建議,所謂公眾諮詢竟悄悄地進行,他們更感不滿。他們認為,如果政府真的尊重民意,應延長諮詢期,讓他們可以真正參與討論。

共建維港委員會轄下的灣仔發展計劃第二期檢討小組委員會,早前就涉及港島北岸的維港海濱進行的「優化海濱研究」進行公眾諮詢,但諮詢期將於下周二匆匆結束。顧問公司提出的規劃概念雖然早在今年八月底已曝光,但向公眾人士提供簡易資料的《公眾參與小錦囊》小冊子,卻延至十月才公布。

主幹道及設施資料未提供
最為業界詬病的,是小冊子內的規劃概念圖,在尚未推出市場的北角油街地王前方是一幅綠化地帶,圖解指該處為「主幹道入口上的園景平台」,至於主幹道及相關設施的資料,小冊子內則未有提供。

透過共建維港委員會網站下載的顧問報告顯示,該「主幹道入口上的園景平台」其實是貫通灣仔至北角的隧道出入口,是一直備受爭議的「中環灣仔繞道」計劃的一部分。該隧道出入口涉及填海工程,供隧道自海底升高至地面,該隧道出入口將連接東區走廊,當中又涉及興建相連幹道的工程。

業界人士指出,就算是專業人士,仍要花上不少時間閱讀顧問報告,才可掌握有關主幹道走線的研究和結論,一般人對此根本是無從置喙。這樣的諮詢,根本不可能收集到真正的民意。

業內人士又指:「過往,類似的項目規劃及諮詢工作均由政府部門負責,如西九龍文娛藝術區,往往引發政界及公眾的高度關注及討論。今次由政府架構以外的組織(共建維港委員會)負責進行有關工作,卻出現這種無法分辨是有心或無意的缺失,難怪業界早已出現共建維港委員會是代政府出手的傳聞。」
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Old December 6th, 2006, 03:14 PM   #290
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From news.gov.hk:
Harbourfront plan to meet public vision: CE
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Old December 7th, 2006, 05:34 PM   #291
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Hong Kong mourns as shrinking harbour gives way to development
Shops and roads force Star Ferry pier out to sea
Protesters call for city's heritage to be protected

Vaudine Englande Hong Kong
13 November 2006
The Guardian

Hong Kong's harbour is why Hong Kong exists - its protected deep waters, ringed by the rock of Hong Kong island and the Kowloon peninsula, have offered haven and passage to world shipping for more than 160 years.

But at midnight on Saturday, the clock tower on the Star Ferry pier in Central, the main business and shopping hub on Hong Kong island, tolled its last chimes.

The pier, and its neighbour, Queen's Pier, are now closed. For the third time in its history, the pier is being moved further out into the ever-shrinking harbour, to make way for highways and shopping malls. It is the latest stage in a process of land reclamation that has encroached on the harbour, virtually halving the distance between Kowloon and Hong Kong island.

"Everybody knows that without her magnificent harbour Hong Kong could never have happened, but this doesn't prevent our venal property developers wanting to fill it in and litter the reclamation with thousands of skyscrapers," said Arthur Hacker, author of almost a dozen books on Hong Kong history.

When mourners gathered over the weekend to say goodbye to the piers, it was not just the prosaic 1950s architecture they were bidding farewell, but another several hundred metres of harbour.

A new ferry pier, topped by an ersatz Edwardian clock tower, now serves the Star Ferry, almost 15 minutes walk into the middle of the harbour.

Tellingly, the ferry journey takes no less time because the waters, constricted in a narrower channel, are so choppy that docking takes longer.

The harbour first attracted foreign traders when bases at Canton (now Guangdong) and Macau were threatened by the opium wars. When in 1898 Britain signed the 99-year lease for the New Territories, it led to the development of Kowloon, and to the need for easy access across the harbour.

The Star Ferry was launched in the same year and virtually all Hong Kongers love it as an old friend.

Patsy Cheng runs See Network, which campaigns for sustainable development and organised the mass protests against the harbour development.

"We are not only talking about the Star Ferry clock tower, but also the whole city's historical buildings, our heritage, our culture. It's time for us to tell the government it is enough," she said.

Conflicting plans for the harbour continue to be offered up. The government focuses on highways and shopping, while teams of academics suggest raised rainforest parks, and waterside promenades with less emphasis on making the harbour front pay.

Sir David Akers Jones, a former civil servant now linked to big business interests, has an unsentimental view of the piers. "I always like travelling across on the Star Ferry. I loved the breezes that blew and looking at the shipping in the harbour," he told the Guardian.

"But things never stand still in Hong Kong and they won't stand still in the future either. So we have to put up with change. Change is part of our lives."
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Old December 8th, 2006, 05:59 PM   #292
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South China Morning Post
December 5, 2006 Tuesday
A city losing its lungs

The barrage of public criticism over the chief executive's statements about Hong Kong's air pollution speaks for itself. Despite the government's denials, the city's air quality has deteriorated to such an extent that the health and well-being of its residents are gravely threatened. Does the government bear any responsibility for our present plight?

Victoria Harbour is the lung of Hong Kong. It ventilates the city, enabling a free flow of fresh air to remove the fumes and stale air generated by motor vehicles, air conditioners, factory emissions and the carbon dioxide that we all breathe out. It is hard to imagine that anyone would want to deliberately cut out one of his or her own lungs; yet half of our city's lung has been removed with the reclamation of half of our harbour.

To make matters worse, the result of this is more high-rise developments, roads, traffic and people. Therefore, on top of blocking the free flow of air, reclamation results in more air pollution being generated. Further, the toxic fumes emitted from vehicles, being heavier than air, are trapped between the tall buildings.

What is alarming is that, despite local and international condemnation of the air quality in Central, the government has persuaded the Town Planning Board to permit the development of a further six pieces of land on the Central reclamation, totalling more than 1 million sq ft. These have been approved for commercial, office and hotel use, and will produce 10 million sq ft of gross floor area including a "groundscraper" and two new 28-storey hotels right on the Central harbourfront.

These developments will attract an estimated further 50,000 people to Central every day. According to the Traffic Report prepared by the Transport Department, these developments will generate an additional 7,623 vehicular trips per hour to Central: that will require building a new surface highway, in addition to the underground Central-Wan Chai bypass now under construction.

According to another report from government experts, the traffic in Central and Wan Chai will be saturated by 2016 - soon after the completion of the Central-Wan Chai bypass. The government will then be obliged to consider the introduction of an electronic road pricing system and/or further reclamation. The whole vicious cycle will be repeated. The plan directly contradicts the government's statement, to the High Court under oath, that the Central reclamation complies with the "overriding public need" test.

On the contrary, by the administration's own admission, such developments will attract more traffic to Central and worsen both congestion and air quality. How can this meet an "overriding public need"?

Therefore, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's show of support for the Clean Air Charter is meaningless. Hong Kong urgently needs concrete action, not words of comfort, from the government.

The government should be aware that more reclamation equals more development, which equals more people, which equals more traffic, which means more pollution.

It should cease all polluting activities and immediately abandon its plans for more property developments on the Central reclamation, West Kowloon reclamation, and in Kai Tak and other harbourfront areas. Instead, it should plan for more green open space, both for public enjoyment and to improve air quality.

Officials must show that they have the vision, wisdom and maturity necessary to plan properly Hong Kong's future development. They must move away from the obsession with financial returns and economic growth, and give priority to what the public desperately needs: a healthy environment and good quality of life.

Winston Chu Ka-sun is an adviser to the Society for Protection of the Harbour
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Old December 10th, 2006, 07:03 PM   #293
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Attempts to save old pier losing steam
Donald Asprey
Hong Kong Standard
Thursday, December 07, 2006

The campaign to save the old Star Ferry pier was dealt a potentially fatal blow Wednesday as the government ruled out declaring the pier a monument or a graded historical building worthy of preservation.
The news came as a human chain of protesters surrounding the Star Ferry clock tower was breached by contractors who proceeded to erect scaffolding in preparation for its demolition.

Secretary for Home Affairs Patrick Ho Chi-ping told the Legislative Council a heritage impact assessment for the Central reclamation in 2001 recommended the relocation of the Star Ferry, and relocation was approved by the Antiquities Advisory Board in 2002.

"[So] we would not reconsider declaring the Star Ferry pier a monument under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance," he said.

Ho said the government had compiled a catalogue of 3D images of the pier and would consider preserving historical items for future display, for example donating the clock face and machinery to the Museum of History.

His comments were made in response to a question tabled in Legco by Choy So-yuk, asking whether there was a minimum age for classification as a historical building.

Choy said at an earlier meeting of Legco's home affairs panel she had been told the Star Ferry pier could not be considered as it was less than 50 years since it opened in 1958. But since construction of the pier began in 1955, the pier is arguably 51 years old.

"When we talk about Legco's home, we always say it is more than 100 years old because construction started in 1900, but in fact, it opened in 1912," Choy said.

But Ho said there was no minimum age "for declaration as a monument under the ordinance."

"Before, it was because it isn't old enough, now it hasn't got enough architectural value. They are deceiving the heavens to cross the sea," Choy said.

Martin Wan Kwok-wai, campaign officer at the Conservancy Association, said the pier could be saved if the government was willing to make a 10-20 meter detour with the planned three-kilometer-long Central-Wan Chai Bypass.

"We have sent a letter to the Chief Executive in Council urging them to make the small detour. But it has fallen on deaf ears," Wan said.

He urged the government to come up with more transparent guidelines to assess the city's endangered heritage. "At the moment, it's only done on the basis of age and architectural value, which is far too rigid. There's nothing to indicate the value to a community of, say, a street or a district, so many iconic landmarks like the Star Ferry pier or the Wan Chai markets will be lost," he said.

Patsy Cheng Man-wai, director of See Network that has been leading the protests at the pier, said their activists who formed a human chain around the clock tower were too gentle and peaceful to keep contractors from attacking the pier, and had given up by Wednesday morning.

She said an ongoing survey showed 87 percent of the public continued to oppose the demolition of the clock tower, while 67 percent opposed relocating the pier.

"The reason why we're running this campaign is to ask a question - what is worthy of preservation and what is our heritage? But the government has not answered us," Cheng said.

"We have gathered so much evidence from a scientific perspective on why the pier should be saved. We have highlighted its modern architecture, its attachment to the harbor and public opinion. The government did not consider them at all." Cheng said.
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Old December 14th, 2006, 04:31 AM   #294
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Harbour tramline for tourists in the works
Operator aims to boost revenue while keeping fares low

10 December 2006
South China Morning Post

Hongkong Tramways is proposing to build its first new line in decades - a route for tourists along the waterfront from Sheung Wan to Wan Chai.

The company has launched a technical feasibility study for a loop line that would serve the new Star Ferry pier and breathe new life into tram services.

It is also drawing up plans for new metal-framed trams to replace the wood-framed ones that ply its existing routes. The new design could go into production as early as next year.

Both proposals would first need the backing of the company's board.

Managing director Frankie Yick Chi-ming said the new line along the Central-Wan Chai reclamation would boost passenger numbers and the new trams reduce maintenance costs, allowing it to boost revenue while keeping fares low.

"A tourist loop is the perfect public transport to be put in the Central waterfront area and we will put some effort into coming up with a proper study," he said.

"We have to extend the tramway from somewhere near Western Market to the new Star Ferry pier and all the way to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

"It's going to be some sort of circular route. It is a new investment and we want to make it nice and comfortable. We haven't decided on the design but we are keen to maintain the traditional tram body.

"The tourist loop is going to be a separate service and I think most probably the loop will have to charge a fare that is a little bit higher.

"It won't affect the fare level of the existing service. We would like to maintain the low-fare strategy."

Mr Yick said trams would fit the government's vision for the waterfront area stressing greenery and public open space and meet the demand for emission-free vehicles.

Proposals for a new metal-frame design for the existing tramlines will be put to the board next year.

The design would retain trams' traditional appearance but be cheaper to maintain than wood-framed trams, which typically have to be rebuilt every six or seven years.

"If we decide to go ahead, I think we would see the new trams starting to be built in 2007," Mr Yick said. "I hope that we will be able to build two new metal-framed trams a month."

The trams would be built at the company's Whitty Street depot in Western.

Mr Yick said tram services had made average profits of just a few million dollars a year over the past eight years, with no increase in fares.

Whole-body advertising on trams had raised revenue, while hiring out trams for private parties and business events brought in HK$1 million a year.

"Once we have the new tourist loop in Central, I think new revenue-generating ideas such as tram cafes in that area would be a helpful further development," he said.

"We hope the whole community will support this project. We will need the support of a lot of people, including legislative and district councillors."

A tram tour for students from three secondary schools was jointly held yesterday by Hongkong Tramways and the Conservancy Association.
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Old December 15th, 2006, 04:34 AM   #295
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Historical article helped spark action
15 December 2006
South China Morning Post

Patsy Cheng Man-wah resigned from her job at the Oriental Daily News two years ago, after receiving a one-year grant from the government to run a magazine advocating sustainable development.

Cheng, in her early 30s, also earned a master's degree in urban planning from the University of Hong Kong two years ago. The grant, from the government's Sustainable Development Fund, has since expired, and the magazine, SEE, is still losing money.

The former town planning reporter-turned-magazine director knew the Star Ferry pier would be demolished so she started researching the history of the pier and the clock. The July edition of SEE noted it was the city's last outdoor mechanical clock. The article triggered a series of events that led to Wednesday's clashes between police and protesters.

Although Cheng frequented the pier in Edinburgh Place every day over the past months, she did not witness the clashes.

She was in her office in Sheung Wan after attending the morning's news briefing, at which Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Michael Suen Ming-yeung reiterated the government would not preserve the pier but would reconstruct the clock tower at the new Central waterfront.

"My feelings were deeply hurt by what the government and the police did. It could end peacefully and only minor changes would save the pier. The government should be more flexible. We only want to make our city a better place."

Chu Hoi-dick, 29, a freelance writer and editor of a news website, In Media, was the de facto commander on Wednesday evening after the police removed him from the demolition site. He shouted out the order for protesters to form a human chain to stop the police car carrying fellow protester Ho Loy from moving away.

Chu used to be an international news editor at a Chinese-language newspaper. In 2004, he left to study in Iran.

He has since earned a living from freelance writing. "I have been paying attention to this over the past months while I was occupied by urban renewal in Wan Chai and Kwun Tong."

Chu said an earlier campaign to save the Star Ferry pier led by artists laid a solid foundation for events on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We knew on Monday evening that Tuesday would be our last chance. I must stress it was not well organised. Every decision was spontaneous."
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Old December 15th, 2006, 04:42 PM   #296
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From news.gov.hk:
Reclamation plan cannot be revised
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Old December 31st, 2006, 07:50 AM   #297
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From news.gov.hk:
Tamar project tender closing date extended
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Old January 1st, 2007, 05:44 PM   #298
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dunno y the people in hk r angry at government so easily, is that because they r stress but got no where 2 express
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Old January 1st, 2007, 06:29 PM   #299
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenwen View Post
dunno y the people in hk r angry at government so easily, is that because they r stress but got no where 2 express
Hong Kongers are increasingly more involved in how the city develops, especially with so much emphasis on quality of life following SARS and the pollution problem from the Pearl River Delta. With the harbour being such a great asset, such radical change requires adequate public discussion, consultation, and participation. This is a good sign. People are now more concerned with urban development beyond the financials.
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Old January 1st, 2007, 06:42 PM   #300
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and the anger at the destruction of the clock tower is about more than just that building. people are angry because the government isn't protecting the heritage of the city and, despite protests, continues to favour commercial interests over the quality of life of its citizens.
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