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Old April 8th, 2005, 03:14 PM   #21
raymond_tung88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline
The ultimate goal of the Phase 3 reclamation is to finish the job and connect with the Convention Centre. Due to legal challenges, the last part into HKCEC was dropped, and the present project leaves a gap open at that point.
That's kinda stupid... what's the point in leaving open that gap? Why didn't they want to connect it?

hkskyline, you still haven't mentioned about the reclamation phase in Causeway Bay? Is that happening or not?
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Old April 9th, 2005, 12:34 AM   #22
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law and regulation is sometimes stupid, you know. Remember the uneducated old women stopped the IPO of the Housing authority fund (whatever it is called). That "gap" is in Wanchai, so the gov can't reclamate it yet.

The court ruling issued last year about Wanchai reclamation does NOT imply that reclamation cannot be done. The gov just have to go back to the town planning board and start with a new proposal again. (basically the whole planning procedure start over again). So it will take some time.
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Old April 9th, 2005, 02:32 AM   #23
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I saw an amusing article about a year ago with regard to reclamation in the harbor. Some activists came forward and claimed that doing so would destroy the ecosystem in the area. The government brought forward a number of scientists who basically said that there wasn't much of an eco-system to worry about. How much wildlife is there in the harbor area?
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Old April 9th, 2005, 03:21 AM   #24
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to the best of my knowledge, there are really not much ecosystem within the Victoria harbour boundary. (but not other part of sea area in hk)
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Old April 9th, 2005, 06:45 AM   #25
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nimbies are everywhere.
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Old April 9th, 2005, 06:55 AM   #26
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The Causeway Bay reclamation is not going to happen. It was supposed to be part of the HKCEC extension, but that was also attacked by environmentalists and it's off the table. Instead, additional exhibition space will be provided in the new airport facility.

Victoria Harbour has become unusually wavy following the reclamation efforts in the 1990s, affecting navigation and ocean life. This is a major concern for environmentalists arguing that the ecosystem is being affected.
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Old April 9th, 2005, 08:12 AM   #27
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some would argue those waves are almost all due to the irregular patterning of the harbour due to disjointed abutting segments--

ironically, 'smoothing' out the harbour's boundaries with reclamation could remedy this ailment
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Old April 12th, 2005, 07:28 PM   #28
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Well, as long as the 'smoothening' doesn't result in constructive interference.
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Old April 12th, 2005, 10:50 PM   #29
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maybe NIMBYs could offer their services here!~
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Old April 13th, 2005, 02:57 AM   #30
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Public input sought on Wan Chai waterfront
Chloe Lai
13 April 2005
South China Morning Post

A series of forums and workshops is being organised to gather public opinion on the future of the Wan Chai waterfront.

They are part of a plan mapped out yesterday by the subcommittee of the Harbourfront Enhancement Committee that is studying the Wan Chai area.

"Harbour planning is complex, resolving traffic jams is [only] one of the issues we have to study. We can't just think about traffic and forget how to make the harbour accessible," subcommittee chairman Leung Kong-yui said.

The group is struggling to recover credibility after an embarrassing blunder in January when it issued an information kit listing three options for reclamation on the waterfront and associated roads and development about which members had not been informed.

Mr Leung was the only non-official member aware of the three options.

Members' protests and a public outcry forced the advisory body and the government to withdraw the information kit.

At yesterday's meeting they also decided to publish a new information kit, which will include planning background, constraints and opportunities as well as various old suggestions as references.

The work plan includes meetings with district councils and the Legco panel on planning, lands and works.

"It is important that the district councillors and legislators understand our process," said Mr Leung.

The Wan Chai subcommittee will prepare a questionnaire to draw public input. The public would then be able to voice their opinion on the subcommittee's website.

The subcommittee met Wan Chai District Council yesterday.

It will meet the Eastern and Southern district councils later this month.

A meeting with Central and Western District Council is scheduled for early next month.
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Old April 13th, 2005, 03:48 AM   #31
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Hkskyline - Do you have any renderings of what the Causeway Bay reclamation would have looked like? What all reclamations have been proposed for the Harbour?
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Old April 26th, 2005, 05:33 PM   #32
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More information :

Central Phase 3 Reclamation
http://www.etwb.gov.hk/FileManager/E...%2031-2003.pdf

Central reclamation phase III - engineering works
http://www.cedd.gov.hk/eng/projects/...ihae7343cl.htm

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Old April 29th, 2005, 12:39 AM   #33
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Surveyors urge public to say no to bypass plan
Equalising tunnel charges and imposing road tolls will solve problem, they say

Andy Cheng
7 March 2005
South China Morning Post

Surveyors have entered the widening argument over the Central-Wan Chai bypass, urging the public to say no to the project when they are consulted next month.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said the government had failed to consider other methods to solve traffic congestion that did not involve reclamation of the harbour.

The government will publish a new information kit about the bypass next month. The move follows an aborted attempt in late January to kick-start the project by outlining three proposals for reclaiming up to 25 hectares of Wan Chai waterfront.

The proposals - released in the name of the Harbour Enhancement Committee - were withdrawn shortly afterwards because of a public outcry over the fact that some committee members had not even seen the plans.

Roger Nissim, chairman of RICS Hong Kong's external affairs and public concerns committee, said equalising tunnel charges and adopting a sophisticated toll system for Central should be done before a bypass was considered.

"We have got a crazy pricing system for our tunnels. The busiest tunnel is the Cross-Harbour Tunnel, which is the cheapest," said Mr Nissim, who is also a project planning manager for Sun Hung Kai Properties.

If equalising the tolls failed to solve congestion, Mr Nissim said an electronic road payment system (ERPS) could be introduced in Central. The system would see road users charged more at peak hours and less on weekends.

Mr Nissim believed an ERPS could solve the congestion problem, contrary to the government's argument that it would not work unless combined with a bypass.

If it came to the worst and a bypass were considered, Mr Nissim said an underwater tunnel was preferred. The roof of that tunnel should be a cycle track and a footpath "so that you and I can walk on the waterfront and enjoy the view".

The bypass was the target of a protest yesterday when a fleet of boats carrying activists sailed along Victoria Harbour.

The Society for the Protection of the Harbour said it would speak directly to the acting chief executive to object to the plans should Tung Chee-hwa resign. The society also called on candidates in the running for Mr Tung's post to promise to protect the harbour.

"A forward-thinking chief executive must have the determination and moral courage to treasure the Earth and protect natural resources, and not just focus on short-term financial gains," said Christine Loh Kung-wai, chairwoman of the society.
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Old April 29th, 2005, 06:14 PM   #34
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Why the Fuss about Victoria Harbour?

1. The case for minimizing reclamation of Victoria Harbour centres on the protection of a unique and special public asset and the natural heritage of Hong Kong.

2. Victoria Harbour is Nature's gift to Hong Kong people. It is set against a stunning landscape of mountains, land and water. There are few harbours in the world that can match its breathtaking beauty. We ruin it at our peril.

3. As natural heritage nothing artificial, however "beneficial", can substitute for it.

4. Heritage connotes continuity capable of transmission from generation to generation. Hence, once any part of the body of water of the harbour is reclaimed, it is lost forever to the people of Hong Kong and can no longer figure in the continuum of inheritance.

5. The original Victoria Harbour was about 7,000 hectares in size. By 1990, over 2,500 hectares had already been reclaimed, but Government still proposed to reclaim a further 1,297 hectares (4½ square miles). Of these, by the time the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance was enacted in 1997, a further 661 hectares had been reclaimed such that nearly half of the original harbour had been made into land. Despite the Ordinance, the Government has been proposing to reclaim the remaining 636 hectares. Thus, Hong Kong is in danger of losing the total of 3,800 hectares (15 square miles), that is, more than half of the harbour.

6. The campaign to protect and preserve Victoria Harbour, which began in 1995 with the founding of the Society for the Protection of the Harbour, aims to ensure that the harbour, which has been designated a special public asset and a natural heritage of Hong Kong people by the Ordinance, cannot be encroached upon unless there is an overwhelming reason, for example, for essential infrastructure. Hong Kong is fighting to protect and preserve what is left of its magnificent harbour.

Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong's Development

1. Up until relatively recently, Hong Kong's economy was dominated by the fact that it was a port and trade was its lifeblood. Victoria Harbour had therefore been the centre of the city's economic life.

2. During the 1950s and 1960s, Hong Kong became a manufacturing centre for light industrial goods made for export. From the 1980s, however, production began to shift to the Mainland with Hong Kong evolving into a centre servicing the growing manufacturing base in South China.

3. Harbour front port activities on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon dropped significantly with the growth of containerized shipment and the construction of the container ports at Kwai Chung from the 1970s.

4. With this major change land along the harbour front became available for development. As Hong Kong began to transform itself into a service centre, more land was needed. It was expedient to reclaim Victoria Harbour rather than to consider developing away from the harbour area since the policy of reclamation appeared to upset nobody. Victoria Harbour had no voice to speak for its own protection.

5. Reclamation also generated substantial revenue for the Government who auctioned off the new land. Developing along the extended harbour front leveraged the existing infrastructure, which turned the northern shore of Hong Kong Island into the focus for transport infrastructure throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s.

6. However, there are limits to how far we can pack further developments onto the harbour frontage. Congestion has become a daily occurrence. The environment has degenerated. The cost of transporting commuters by road and rail to the city centre has risen. Moreover, a beautiful and historic landmark has been decimated by poor planning and zoning.

7. Recent assertions by the Government that reclamation has been a key determinant of Hong Kong's success are inaccurate. Growth was generated by Hong Kong's ability to transform itself into a service economy. The Government simply chose to meet the demand for land by harbour reclamation and not by other means, which could have included developing the New Territories or urban regeneration, because reclamation was expedient and until 1995, there was no advocate speaking for Victoria Harbour.

Impacts of Reclamation

Reclamation affects us all. There are economic, social, political and environmental impacts:

1. Strategic Planning: Harbour reclamation focussed development on the harbour area at the expense of other parts of the city. It contributed to isolating Hong Kong from the Pearl River Delta hinterland even as economic activities began moving across the border from the 1980s onwards.

2. Urban Renewal: The ease with which new land could be created by reclamation resulted in lazy planning, which in turn resulted in a failure on the part of the Government to devise effective urban regeneration policies. Vast tracks of development in the urban areas remain dilapidated and under-utilised today.

3. Land Policy: Reclamation generated land for the Government to sell, the proceeds for which were used to finance roads and other waterfront infrastructure, which in turn fed the government's 'high land price policy' for many years.

4. Amenity Value: Victoria Harbour has substantial amenity value in a world that increasingly places recreational pursuits as key to a high quality of life. That value is overtaking any supposed benefits arising from continuing harbour reclamation.

5. Aesthetic Value: Reclamation, together with the lack of control to protect the skyline and visual integrity of Hong Kong's natural landscape in the harbour area, has diminished the city's overall beauty, which damages tourism opportunities as well as diminishing residents' enjoyment of the city.

6. Harbour Safety: Victoria Harbour has been significantly narrowed, which creates a less safe environment for shipping and other water activities as water currents become much stronger and space to manouever is reduced.

7. Congestion Creation: Each new reclamation project has resulted in additional commercial and residential development, which in turn has generated further traffic demands that require yet more roads and more reclamation for roads.

8. Traffic Management: Coupled with the Government's preference for new road provisions to relieve traffic - rather than using traffic demand-management methods - road systems along the harbour front on Hong Kong Island have taken precedence over aesthetics, pollution control and thereby also public health. Alternatives to the simple addition of more roadways have not been fully explored.

9. Landscape Destruction: Harbour reclamation has resulted in the permanent destruction of Hong Kong's most valuable and irreplaceable natural asset.

10. Air Pollution: Intensive development of the reclaimed areas has substantially and dangerously increased air pollution in the urban area.

11. Contaminated Mud: Soft mud on the bottom of the harbour is heavily contaminated with heavy metals and organic chemicals. Dredging - a necessary part of reclamation - stirs up the mud and releases some of those contaminants into the water.

12. Mud Dumping: The contaminated mud is dumped in an area near Chek Lap Kok airport, which is close to a marine park where pink dolphins swim.

13. Flushing Action: Reclamation narrows the harbour and potentially creates "dead spots" where there is little flushing tidal action, and where litter and sewage could accumulate.

14. Loss of Habitat: The loss of natural coastlines could result in the loss of habitats and shallow feeding areas for many inter-tidal creatures that live in shallow sandy bays or on rocky shorelines.

15. Governance and Good Faith: The rushed award of the works contract for Central Reclamation Phase III raised doubts about whether the hurry was related to the Society for Protection of the Harbour's application for a judicial review on the Town Planning Board's approval of the Wanchai Development Plan Phase II. The award was the subject of an arbitration hearing, where the Review Body ruled that it was made in "undue haste". The effect the Government's "precipitous action" had been "to render nugatory any substantive recommendation that this Panel could make." The Panel noted that the correct procedure would have been for the authorities to give an opportunity to the tenderers to reconsider their tender submissions.

16. Rule of Law: The Society for Protection of the Harbour's successful judicial review against the Town Planning Board's approved plan for Wanchai Development Plan Phase II in effect required the Chief Executive-in-Council to refer the Central Reclamation Phase III back to the Town Planning Board for review. The Government's unwillingness to do so to date raises questions about its commitment to due process and the rule of law.

17. Civic Action: Excessive harbour reclamation has ignited public interest to protect and preserve Victoria Harbour. Where even the law fails to adequately protect the harbour, civic action needs to take over.
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Old April 29th, 2005, 11:04 PM   #35
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HK has selfishly chosen a political battle it knows it can win...

Despite how ironic this particular issue really is--
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Old April 30th, 2005, 12:49 PM   #36
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In my humble opinion, any plans will only delay traffic congrestion to occur again... toll road and what not will solve traffic for a MUCH MUCH SHORTER TIME than building new roads... and guess what... toll road means more money outta the public's pockets... and by then people will start complaining again... the buses and others will use it as a reason to raise fares... and the mtr will get even more crowded...

granted building new roads isn't a permanent fix either but it helps for a longer time... besides it's just a lil more reclamation... wht's the point of keeping the habor the way it is?

besides, Hong Kong still needs a boardwalk/habor-front walk!
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Old May 14th, 2005, 09:52 PM   #37
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How to Lose a Harbor For more than a century, Hong Kong has polluted and misused its greatest asset.
But a sea change in attitude may be on the way

Chaim Estulin/Hong Kong
2 May 2005
Time International Asia Ed.

The sun is shining on the balcony of the Quarterdeck Club Seafood Restaurant and Grill, and luncheon diners have a terrific view of Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour, full of wooden sampans and junks, speeding ferries and lavish white yachts. It's the picture-perfect postcard image that Hong Kong promotes to potential visitors from abroad.

Good luck scoring that view if you live in the territory. The Quarterdeck is one of the very few al fresco restaurants open to the public on the harbor, and visiting it on foot involves negotiating an obstacle course over highways and through office buildings. And-- be warned--the view isn't entirely idyllic. As well as those sampans, patrons can also watch half a dozen barges dumping stone and dirt into the water, hence each day robbing Hong Kong of a little more of its most famous feature.

That process has been going on pretty much from the time that Britain took possession of what its Foreign Secretary back in 1841 called a "barren rock." Whatever else they may have been good at, successive generations of Hong Kong people have been terrific at filling in their harbor. The fashionistas' haunts in Causeway Bay, the new 88-story IFC II building (sixth tallest in the world) in Central, Suzie Wong's bars in Wanchai, the world's busiest container port, the runway at the old Kai Tak airport that used to have white- knuckled flyers fingering their rosaries--they were all built on reclaimed land. One hundred and sixty years of hauling landfill from mountainsides and construction dumps and shoveling it into the water has left Hong Kong with a harbor that, between the Central business district and Tsim Sha Tsui on the Kowloon side, is now just about 1 km wide--shorter than the span of New York's George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River. Visitors to Hong Kong who arrive in town expecting an easily accessible, vibrant waterfront like the ones in Sydney or Baltimore are in for a rude surprise: most of Hong Kong's shoreline is hidden behind skyscrapers, parking lots, utilities and highways. "I can't get a beer [on the waterfront]," says Paul Zimmerman, an executive at a local venture-capital firm who in 2002 founded Designing Hong Kong Harbour to encourage new thinking in waterfront planning. "I need to jump over road barriers to get there." And once you've got over those barriers and found the water, here's a tip: stay out of it. Each day, 450,000 cu m of raw semi-filtered sewage--the same volume as 200 Olympic-size full swimming pools--is flushed into the harbor. Pretty much the only things that live there are rabbitfish and ponyfish, acorn barnacles, green-lipped mussels, and bacteria.

But after years of despoiling its very name--Hong Kong means "fragrant harbor" in Chinese--things may finally be about to change. An unlikely coalition of environmental activists, business leaders and (this being Hong Kong) property developers is pushing for a rethink of how to make the harbor something more than an international embarrassment. Last week, about 70 executives from more than 90 of the city's biggest companies and institutions quietly assembled on the 40th floor of the HSBC headquarters--the very heart of the territory's traditional business community--for the first meeting of a new body, the Harbour Business Forum. According to one participant in the gathering, the group will act as a lobby for better use of the harbor and will press for the creation of a single authority to take charge of the harbor's development. "This will give the government a jolt," says Roger Nissim, a project planning manager for Sun Hung Kai Ltd., Hong Kong's largest property developer, and a member of the Forum. "We are not seen as the lunatics, we are not the green groups, we are not radical."

The business leaders' timing could not be better. Two major plans for the harbor are now in limbo, having been subject to a barrage of legal and popular complaints. A planned 26-hectare reclamation in Wanchai--whose principal purpose was for a highway--was halted last year by a court challenge. And proposals for an ambitious arts district on reclaimed land in West Kowloon have been frozen by public protests over the government's intention to hand the $6.8 billion project to a single developer. In this enforced breathing space, Hong Kong has a rare opportunity to figure out, once and for all, what it wants to do with its most valuable resource.

Nobody doubts that without reclamation there wouldn't be a Hong Kong. The narrow band of land squeezed between the water and the hills of Hong Kong island was always too small to nourish the territory's ambitions. But the development of the city's waterfront has been both relentless and uncoordinated. Hong Kong has no central planning for the harbor: its use and misuse are dictated by more than a dozen competing government departments and covered by at least 15 separate zoning plans. Hong Kong's "relationship with the waterfront was always an awkward thing," says Richard Marshall, an urban design director for the planning firm EDAW, who led a Harvard University study of the harbor in 2000. "It's surprising, given the identity the waterfront has with Hong Kong."

Maybe not too surprising. In a city where the word taxes has long had people reaching for the smelling salts, successive British colonial governments learned to use sales of reclaimed land to finance their budgets. In the mid-1990s--the last time a chunk of centrally located landfill came on the market--the administration sold 0.35 hectares to Citic Group for $430 million, while a consortium of developers paid $1.54 billion for the right to develop another site that now includes the IFC II skyscraper. "It was cheap, easy money," says Sun Hung Kai's Nissim, who for 20 years had worked as a senior government surveyor. "But it spun out of control."

While Hong Kong's government was milking the harbor as a tax cow, it missed what was happening elsewhere in the world. As shipping moved from downtown wharves to purpose-built container ports, old cities discovered that their weedy waterfronts could be reworked into the sort of environments that would attract--and retain--both tourist dollars and the creative minds that give a place fizz. From Boston to Bilbao, from Singapore to Sydney--even, for heaven's sake, in Liverpool, the ultimate rusted-up port--city planners have remade harbors into lively, people-friendly places full of restaurants, design studios and cultural attractions. "Waterfronts are now cherished assets," says Marshall. According to a study by the Boston Foundation, the $21 billion, 20-year cleanup of Beantown's once dank harbor has created 47,000 jobs and attracted $8.4 billion in "present or planned" new investment. "We have a renaissance here," says Bruce Berman, spokesman for Boston's Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, the group that spearheaded the waterfront revitalization. "It has transformed the city and put us in a very competitive position." Hong Kong could reap similar rewards. A Designing Hong Kong Harbour study predicts that a vibrant Victoria Harbour with restaurants, cultural venues and marinas would create an estimated 50,000 jobs.

Over the past few years, the realization that Hong Kong, too, can do something with its harbor has begun to sink into the city's consciousness. Winston Chu, 65, remembers taking girlfriends for evening strolls along the harbor in the 1960s. Forty years later, Chu collected tens of thousands of signatures for a law banning most harbor reclamation works. One of his inspirations was his 90-year- old mother, Cissy, who invited him up to her harbor-view penthouse garden in 1995 and, pointing to the shrinking waterway, "gave me a scolding and instructed me to do something about it." In 1997, in the waning days of British rule, the local Legislative Council passed the Harbour Protection Ordinance. The incoming postcolonial administration tried, but failed, to repeal the law, and in 2002 pressed ahead with a plan to build a mostly underground highway from Central to Causeway Bay through reclaimed land. Chu spent nearly $1 million of his own money on a legal challenge to the scheme, and in January 2004, the Court of Final Appeal struck down the government's ambitions. The judges deemed the waterfront "a natural heritage" to be trifled with only when there is "an overriding public need." Part of the land for that project has already been reclaimed, but the government is blocked from reclaiming the other 26 hectares.

Michael Suen, Hong Kong's Secretary of Housing, Planning and Lands, insists that he and his colleagues have got the message. "We know the harbor is our greatest asset," he stresses. But Suen says that somehow or other, a new highway has to be built. "The overriding need is the road," he says, while pledging that most of the land above it will be used for parks and promenades. Activists, however, have heard such claims before. Chu asks, "Who can trust the government?" and notes that the planned West Kowloon cultural district, will, if completed, offer millions of square meters of commercial and residential space--but it was zoned as a park when the land was first reclaimed in 1996.

The key issue now is to find a method and a platform on which the new mood can be turned into real plans. Constant lawsuits--a staple of Hong Kong life as well established as reclamation--won't do the trick. "You can't design a city in a courthouse," says Zimmerman. "We have policy constipation," remarks Sun Hung Kai's Nissim.

In Hong Kong, few policies move without the backing of the business community, which is why the formation of the Harbour Business Forum is important. Business leaders don't want to take over all plans for the harbor. But the Forum has already settled on four broad areas in which it wants the Hong Kong government's performance to improve, and it will release the details next month. The Forum's report will call for a single, omniscient harbor authority, and transparency in the planning of projects. At the same time, the group says there should be a bias toward developing the harbor with public spaces, and that the 2004 court ruling banning nearly all reclamation should be respected. "The strength of feeling about the harbor has become conspicuous," says one of the participants at last week's meeting. "The business community should use its resources, its skills, its position in the community to move things forward. An improved harbor would be good for business."

Make that good, too, for intrepid swimmers, artists, cocktail kings, fishermen--heck, everybody. Who wants lunch? -

WEST KOWLOON: Three plans were shortlisted last year to turn this 40-hectare site into a vast cultural district under a swooping, Norman Foster-designed canopy. Opposition to granting control of the site to a single developer has led even senior officials to admit that it will probably be returned to the drawing board.

WANCHAI RECLAMATION PHASE II: In 2004, a court struck down this 26-hectare project, saying it doesn't comply with a 1997 ordinance requiring that reclamation should occur only when absolutely necessary. The plan is being revamped.

CENTRAL RECLAMATION PHASE III: Almost 20 hectares-- about half of the initial proposal-- will be filled in by 2007 as part of a 30- year plan to unfurl another waterfront highway. The government has recently promised to put the road underground and use the land for low-rise buildings and public spaces.

WATER QUALITY

About a decade ago, the harbor was choking with heavy metals and untreated sewage. The government began a cleanup program, but the water still has insufficient oxygen for most marine life. Only hardy species like the rabbitfish can survive.

More than 160 years of hauling landfill from mountainsides and construction sites and shoveling it into the water has left Hong Kong's harbor about 1 km wide--shorter than the span of the George Washington Bridge over New York's Hudson River
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Old June 2nd, 2005, 06:42 PM   #38
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Thursday June 2, 8:24 PM
Leading businesses set up coalition to protect Hong Kong's harbor from reclamation

AP - In a rare display of business concern for the environment, about 100 of Hong Kong's top companies on Thursday formed a coalition to protect the city's famed Victoria Harbor from further reclamation.

"Our harbor is a core part of Hong Kong's heritage, an international symbol of our city and a source of inspiration to those who live and work in Hong Kong," said the coalition's spokesman Vincent Cheng, chairman of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp., the local unit of HSBC Holdings PLC.

"Reclamation should be avoided as much as possible," he said.

The government welcomed the group's launch in a statement released Thursday.

"It is the common goal and in the interests of the government, the business sector and non-governmental organizations to work hand-in-hand to promote the enhancement and sustainable development of the harbour and harbour-front areas," the statement said.

Concerns about the harbor have been raised since thousands of people protested last year against land reclamation that they say will turn Victoria Harbor into a river. It has already shrunk by almost half, or 3,200 hectares (7,907 acres), after decades of reclamation.

Last year, anti-reclamation activists won a court battle to stop a planned 26-hectare (74-acre) strip for a road, park and commercial development in Hong Kong's financial district.

Cheng said the business coalition, called the Harbor Business Forum, has set up a committee to study what other cities have done in the transformation of their waterfronts so as to plot a development strategy for Hong Kong's harbor.

The coalition's patrons, which will fund its research projects, include HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd., other conglomerates such as The Swire Group, CITIC Pacific Ltd. and Jardine Matheson Holdings.

It also includes 27 chambers of commerce and business associations.

Cheng said it will try to influence government policy in the harbor's preservation.

He rejected suggestions that the coalition's establishment reflected a sudden change of heart by businesses and property developers, who have been the biggest beneficiaries of development made possible by reclamation.

"We all come together with a very sincere wish, which is to look at the future use of the harbor so that everybody in Hong Kong _ the business, the people, every stakeholder in Hong Kong _ can be proud," Cheng said.

"It's not about property development. It's not just about transport. It's not just about economics. It's the whole value of the harbor for us," he said.
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Old June 3rd, 2005, 06:24 AM   #39
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^ I read the article above the last one you posted, and I TOTALLY agree with the initiative to "rethink" Victoria Harbour. I first visited Hong Kong last July, and stayed in the Eaton Hotel in Kowloon. I had hoped to at least see a little of the harbour from the rooftop, but all I saw was building after building, and most of them were so tall I couldn't even see anything on Hong Kong Island!

The little pedestrian bridge that goes around the Intercontinental Hotel is a great place to view the harbour from Kowloon, but other than that I had a difficult time seeing it. They need to put some kind of a waterfront park in Kowloon.

I also think the Cultural District would be great for public viewing of the Harbour, but I'm not exactly sure why this is being blocked by environmentalists. Will the project require even more reclaimed land than what's already there from the Western Harbour Crossing road tunnel?
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Old June 3rd, 2005, 07:17 AM   #40
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The cultural district doesn't require any more reclamation. Environmentalists are more concerned with reclamation on the other side - Hong Kong Island.
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