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Old May 14th, 2007, 07:47 PM   #381
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^ That's explained why proposed P2 needs to be 100m wide. It is designed for tankers, not regular motor vehicles.
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Old May 15th, 2007, 07:06 PM   #382
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Old May 16th, 2007, 12:50 PM   #383
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Gov't Press Release:
LCQ8: Wan Chai Development Phase II
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Old May 17th, 2007, 05:16 AM   #384
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Hong Kong is ridiculously slow on this project.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 01:20 PM   #385
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zergcerebrates View Post
Hong Kong is ridiculously slow on this project.
Do you think go fast on this project is good?????? Victoria Harbour would really become Victoria River if the original plan was confirmed!!!
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Old May 19th, 2007, 02:35 PM   #386
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The reclamation process is well under way. The area in front of Tamar is pretty much filled up and it continues west towards the new Star Ferry pier.
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Old May 20th, 2007, 07:07 AM   #387
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Engineers propose $80m solution for Queen's Pier
Hong Kong Standard
Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers said Friday the best, cheapest and most pragmatic way to preserve the Queen's Pier would be to divide it into sections that could be dismantled and then reassembled after it was relocated.

"The whole process will cost about HK$50 million, which will include the dismantling of the pier, renovation, storage, reinforcement, foundation and consultant's fee, plus a further HK$30 million as a result of a delay of about four months to the road work, for a total of HK$80 million," said the institution's public relations committee deputy chairman, Yim Kin-ping.

The institution's view is similar to the government's position.

The government is expected to resubmit a request for HK$50 million to the Legislative Council public works subcommittee for the reconstruction of the pier. The request was withdrawn last week following opposition from several political parties.

Yim said the actual cost of the foundation work would depend on where the pier was relocated.

Should it be rebuilt on its current location, this would cost around HK$5 million to HK$10 million.

It would cost more if relocated to a site near Pier 9, one of the areas suggested by the Planning Department.

Another engineer, Wong Chi-ming, said it would be difficult to estimate the total cost of relocating the pier as much would depend on its future location.

Either way, there will be an additional cost of HK$100 million for the building of an MTRC tunnel to be constructed around 2016.

The Institution of Engineers said of the four proposals to preserve the pier, in-situ preservation by shifting the planned infrastructure work is technically not feasible.

Another in-situ preservation method which involves underpinning and tunneling would cost about HK$565 million with a further HK$300 million cost due to work delays and structural risks.

The engineers said in-situ reinstatement by rolling the superstructure away and rolling it back when the work is completed is not practical. The structure is 50-odd years old and the piles are eroding.
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Old May 21st, 2007, 09:24 AM   #388
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Group seeks new ruling for Queen's Pier
Hong Kong Standard
Monday, May 21, 2007

A pro-government Queen's Pier concern group has urged the Antiquities Advisory Board to downgrade the historic structure in a bid seen by observers as more of a move to offset mounting pressure for the pier to be declared a monument.

The Queen's Pier Grading Concern Group Sunday threatened to seek a judicial review of the board's decision to make the pier a Grade 1 historic building. Grade 1 status does not mean the pier's automatic preservation unless it is listed as a statutory monument endorsed by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen.

Group convenor Stephen Yam Chi- ming, who is also a member of the pro- government New Forum and represents the accountancy subsector in the Election Committee, is challenging the legality of voting procedures at a May 9 meeting of the Antiquities Advisory Board. Twelve people voted for the pier be declared a Grade 1 historic building, 10 people for Grade 2 and three for Grade 3.

Yam said the majority of the votes should be more than half the total number for the ruling to be convincing. Moreover, citing general meeting regulations and previous court rulings,Yam said the three votes for Grade 3 should be grouped with those for Grade 2, thus Queen's Pier should have been downgraded to a Grade 2 historic building.

Demanding a meeting with board chairman Edward Ho Sing-tin, Yam said his group will not rule out the possibility of seeking a judicial review against the legality of the votes.

"We think the decision made by the Antiquities Advisory Board is problematic, it's not fair, [it's] illegitimate and unacceptable," Yam said.

Chinese University political commentator Ma Ngok said the group's opinion suggested that Tsang's job would be made easier.

"The concern group's request to downgrade the pier's historic value is a relief for Tsang and it looks very likely he's not going to grant it monument status," Ma said.

A date for the government to approach the Legislative Council for HK$50 million funding to relocate Queen's Pier has yet to be determined after the funding plan was withdrawn last week.

However, the concern group's view is not expected to affect sentiment in Legco as each party's stand is already clear.

"The government should be able to get enough votes to endorse its proposal in Legco," Ma said.

Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong lawmaker Choy So-yuk said while the party was likely to endorse the government funding request, she had yet to make up her mind.

Pro-conservation activist Ho Loy described the concern group's decision as "immature" and "lacks respect for the Antiquities Advisory Board."

"We have examples of Grade 2 or Grade 3 historic buildings being listed as monuments which is bound by law to be preserved and ultimately that's where we're heading," Ho said.

"They're welcome to raise any kind of opinion because it will deepen public debate over such a controversial conservation issue. The process is raising the Hong Kong people's core values which is making us so unique. Preserving Queen's Pier is an investment to society as a whole, it's priceless."

Asked whether the board's decision could be changed, Ho said: "I think it's going to be interesting."

Queen's Pier has become the second battlefield for conservationists and the government over heritage conservation following the Star Ferry saga which saw the iconic landmark demolished amid a public outcry.
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Old May 21st, 2007, 08:05 PM   #389
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大狀要求皇后碼頭再評級
05月 21日 星期一 03:30AM
星島日報報道

皇后碼頭早前被古物諮詢委員會評定為「一級文物建築」,有關注評級的大律師指當日投票程序不合法,指支持「一級文物建築」評級的委員未過半數,今日將約見古物諮詢委員會主席何承天要求重新評級,並不排除行動會升級,透過司法覆核爭取重新評級。

  五月九日會議上,古諮會委員就皇后碼頭評級為一級、二級和三級的,分別有十二人、十人和三人。大律師任枝明昨指,按一般會議及常規,應把支持三級的票數,撥入支持二級的評定,「故從票數來說,支持二級的票數應該計算為十三票,而不是十票。」另一辦法是針對一級及二級評定,作第二輪投票。任稱如果委員會主席再次投票,相信結果不會是「一級文物建築」。

  任枝明表示,當日有部分委員並不滿意投票程序及結果,認為「會議程序的合法性」也極為重要。他今日會約見古物諮詢委員會主席何承天要求重新評級,並且不排除行動會升級,「約見民政事務局 官員及申請司法覆核。
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 07:05 AM   #390
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New groups are at odds in widening battle over future of Queen's Pier
22 May 2007
South China Morning Post

The battle over the future of Queen's Pier has widened with the formation of two new groups - one dedicated to the pier's preservation and the other determined to have it stripped of its recently acquired historical status.

In one corner is the Queen's Pier Grading Concern Group, which has been set up to pressure the Antiquities Advisory Board to downgrade the pier from the Grade I historic status it was awarded two weeks.

In the other is the Professional Group for Queen's Pier's Conservation, which wants the pier to stay where it is, possibly on the shore of an artificial lake within the reclaimed land that will soon surround the former landing place of royalty and colonial governors.

Concern group convenor Yam Chi-ming, a barrister and a member of the New Century Forum, described the board's decision as "unfair, illegal and unacceptable" and threatened to take it to court if it did not agree to downgrade the pier. He said if the board had adhered to usual voting procedures, the pier would have been given a Grade II rating.

Architect Tony Chan Siu-tung, one of about 10 architects and town planners who have formed the other group, said building an artificial lake would solve the problem of the pier becoming landlocked.

"A big artificial lake can be built, making the existing shoreline the southern edge of the lake," he said, adding that the lake could also collect stormwater and moderate temperatures in the area.

The group aims to find a feasible solution to preserving the pier.

The antiquities board awarded the pier Grade I historic status two weeks ago in an unprecedented open meeting. But the government was quick to dismiss the importance of the grading, stressing it did not guarantee preservation.

It is likely to resubmit its funding proposal for the pier's reconstruction to the Legislative Council's public works subcommittee tomorrow. It withdrew the request hours before the board's decision when it became clear it did not have enough support to pass.

Leading solicitor and harbour protectionist Winston Chu Ka-sun has already threatened to take the government to court if it tries to pull down the pier.
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 03:28 PM   #391
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Victoria Harbour Reclamation Site @ Google Earth.
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Old June 6th, 2007, 12:44 PM   #392
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Gov't Press Release:
LCQ6: Military Dock
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Old June 12th, 2007, 05:57 AM   #393
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Last resistance
A disparate band of conservationists are doing their bit to protect the city's disappearing history

12 June 2007
South China Morning Post

On November 11 last year, an estimated 150,000 people savoured the mild autumn breeze blowing off Victoria Harbour as they enjoyed the historic last day of operation for the Star Ferry at its former home in Central. Disembarking at the landmark, they were joined by thousands of others flocking to the pedestrian walkway in front of the pier terminal to mark the end of an era as the Star Ferry Pier, Queen's Pier and clock tower were earmarked for demolition.

As that historic day faded into memory, a small, diverse group of protesters and conservationists returned to the Star Ferry Pier in an attempt to stop the demolition. Despite their efforts, piece by piece the pier was removed. The emblematic clock tower was dismantled on the morning of December 16, and - to remove any thoughts the public might harbour of a possible resurrection - the debris was sent to a landfill inTuen Mun.

But the protest over the action drew together a small but energised group of heritage protesters, including artists, tertiary students, former journalists and professionals. Their standoff with police in the final days of the pier's demolition drew more people, many of whom were first-time activists.

Some protesters, such as Lingnan University cultural studies student Chan King-fai, were involved in the fight to protect Wan Chai's Lee Tung Street, also known as Wedding Card Street, from the Urban Renewal Authority bulldozers. Others were first-time protesters who had never considered becoming activists. Retiree Wat Yau-tin, 47, and self-employed Ma Cho-ming, who was born in 1954, the year the Queen's Pier was built, are two cases in point. Mr Ma is the group's cameraman and photographer, capturing each event and every encounter between the activists and officials.

They were drawn to the movement after watching news bulletins showing heated stand-offs between conservationists and the police after the December demolition work. The like-minded protesters formed a loose alliance, dubbed Local Action, and announced in April that they would camp at Queen's Pier in an attempt to save it from demolition.

The action group said their movement plans to "Safeguard the Queen, Experience the Queen and Transform the Queen". Their aim was to make the pier their home, and turn it into a makeshift conference venue, exhibition foyer, concert hall and even a football pitch. The idea is that it would have as many functions as possible to draw attention to their cause.

Their fight is at odds with the harbour reclamation plan, which legislators endorsed in 2002, involving a mega shopping arcade dubbed the horizontal version of Two IFC and a 40-metre road linking the IFC towers with Admiralty.

From the outset they refused to accept the government's technical explanation of why the pier had to go. Their dedication to the task has seen them transform the site. Walls at the pier are covered with photos, news clippings, poems and essays explaining their aims. And in preparation for an indefinite stay, the protesters have brought in four tents and furniture such as a desk, chairs, a bookshelf, a television and radio, fridge and a gas oven.

To ensure a round-the-clock presence, group members take turns to keep watch at the pier, greeting visitors and answering press inquiries. Their numbers dwindle to one or two during the day and then rise to about five overnight, when some finish their work or studies.

Icarus Wong Ho-yin, a second-year sociology and biotechnology student at the University of Hong Kong, is one of those who camps at the pier every night. Like his associates, Mr Wong, 23, had little to do with heritage protests before the demolition of the Star Ferry Pier.

His participation began with a text a friend forwarded to him, calling for support for those at the pier. Mr Wong became one of 13 protesters the police removed from the terminal by force. He then participated in the 49-hour hunger strike to protest the pier's destruction.

"The Queen's is more than a public pier," Mr Wong said. "People come here to have lunch, play chess, take a nap, fish. Its future is an issue on how we face and deal with our history, cultural and urban planning. I came to experiment with how to use public space and give new meaning to this place. Participation is crucial when we want to protect public spaces. I also see it as a learning process: learn how to observe, feel and use the space."

A core member of the group, freelance writer Chu Hoi-dick, 29, said: "We didn't exist during the Star Ferry campaign. Now we have a team. The two campaigns have a totally different ideology."

Protesters say the campaign last year to save the Star Ferry Pier and the clock tower was based on collective memory, while their latest movement is a crusade to safeguard the principle of public space; to stop the government from privatising common areas that have helped form Hong Kong people's identity. They have also called for city planning to be more democratic.

Mr Wong disputes the notion of collective memory. "The Star Ferry Pier and the Queen's Pier are not so much about collective memory," he said. "Government uses collective memory because it is abstract, hard to judge, so they will be able to manipulate and achieve what they want to achieve. Our campaign is to break the myth of collective memory. As I've said, the issue is about history, culture and the people's role in urban planning; none of it is abstract."

In a statement to explain their position, Local Action says the latest strategy is aimed at the future as well as the past. "Conserving this group of constructions and ensuring they and the land around them are maintained for public use would not only help the next generation to gain knowledge of our history, it would also serve to ensure Hong Kong people maintain our right to use the land and the harbour around this area," the group said.

"Policies affecting space and city planning have a direct impact on the everyday life of people from all walks of life, particularly the working class, the poor and the marginalised. We are fighting for the right of Hong Kong people to take part in making decisions about the development of their city."

Another regular face is 42-year-old interior designer Julian Fung Ping-tak. He visits the pier three times a day: before work, at lunch time and after work. He helps clean the camp site and often buys groceries.Mr Fung, whose participation was also prompted by a text message to support the Star Ferry Pier activists, spelt out a core principle of the movement.

"We're not political parties, nor are we pressure groups. We will not become politicians," he said. "We just want our government to do a good job. When we achieve our goal, we'll become ordinary citizens again."

But the movement appears far from over because Mr Fung says conserving old districts, such as Wan Chai and Sham Shui Po, is the next task. The group bolsters its cause in a variety of ways. They write to media outlets, lobby the government's Antiquities Advisory Board to award the pier Grade I historic status, and have helped persuade political parties to oppose the demolition plan.

Their efforts have had some success. The Antiquities Advisory Board, though divided, gave the pier Grade I historic building status on May 9. The morning before the vote, objections from pan-democratic legislators and Choy So-yuk of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong forced the government to withdraw a funding application on how to deal with the pier.

Although the government managed to have Legco's public works subcommittee approve the HK$50 million funding application two weeks later, the decision to go ahead with the demolition plan damages the credibility of the antiquities board. The Democratic Party and veteran harbour protection campaigner Winston Chu Ka-sun also warned that they might sue the government if it tried to dismantle the pier.

Chinese University political scientist Ma Ngok sees the tug-of-war between the action group and the government as a battle of ideology. He believes Hong Kong will witness more conflicts between this group and the authorities.

"There's a huge generation gap between officials and young people. It's not that the people are against construction of buildings in general. They're against development-led ideology. They are unhappy with the decision-making process as there has never been an open forum to adjudicate that development should be allowed to override other values."

Professor Ma believes the movement will reshape the city's political agenda, forcing political parties to pay more attention to previously off-beat issues such as planning, environment, conservation and gender. He also thinks the government will find them difficult to deal with because they do not have political allegiances.

"Ideologically, the government is losing this battle. The government can't explain why the road is more important than the pier. Officials weaken their own case as all they do is pay lip service on issues of heritage conservation and public participation," Professor Ma said.

He said that although their number was small, their intensity and determination made the government unable to ignore them. "Public sentiment is changing. More people are asking why and what is happening at Queen's Pier."
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Old June 15th, 2007, 04:28 AM   #394
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Harbor group urges public's voice be heard
Hong Kong Standard
Friday, June 15, 2007

Reclamation to improve the harborfront should be carried out only if it is in the public interest with people involved at an early stage, according to a revised version of the Harbour Planning Guidelines presented to the outgoing Harbour-front Enhancement Committee Thursday.

The version was presented during the last meeting of the committee, which had been given a three-year term.

"It's a fairly robust and implementable recommendation," Harbour Planning Guidelines review group convener Andrew Thomson said.

In February, the draft was issued to 130 relevant organizations and stakeholders. It was also uploaded onto the Harbour-front Enhancement Committee Web site. Since then, 18 written comments have been received.

Thomson said some suggested the guidelines be mandatory as part of the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines of the Planning Department to ensure effective implementation.

Sustainability principles such as preserving the harbor, conserving cultural heritage and enhancing environmental quality have also been included.

Thomson said the revised guidelines should be issued to relevant stakeholders, district councils, developers and academics.

However, when Chan Wai-kwan, convener of the South East Kowloon Development Committee, asked whether there are concrete steps to incorporate the guidelines into the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines, Thomson said he could not answer.

He said the Harbour-front Enhancement Committee is merely an advisory body. "This goes beyond the mandate of [the committee], but we could encourage it."

Rita Lau Ng Wai-lan, permanent secretary for housing, planning and lands, promised the guidelines will be incorporated into the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines. The government Web site would also provide hyperlinks to the guidelines posted on the committee's Web site.

Harbour-front Enhancement Committee chairman Lee Chack-fan said the public engagement process has been effective in soliciting opinions on major projects in the past three years, a view shared by government officials.

Ng Fong Siu-mei, of Friends of the Earth, suggested the incoming committee strengthen bonding with universities and create a space for students to offer their opinions.

Committee member Leung Kong- yui said the revised guidelines would be incorporated.

He wished the proposed environment bureau could see the light of day and realize the chief executive's promise of sustainable development as soon as possible.
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Old June 16th, 2007, 05:12 AM   #395
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Queen's Pier may find temporary home at Kai Tak airport site
Hong Kong Standard
Saturday, June 16, 2007

Tseung Kwan O or the former Kai Tak airport site could be the temporary home for the dismantled Queen's Pier.

However, the final location will only be announced in a few weeks, the Legislative Council's Finance Committee was told Friday before it approved the HK$50 million funding the government has asked for its relocation.

Civic Party lawmaker Audrey Eu Yuet-mee repeatedly pressed Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Michael Suen Ming-yeung about the storage of the dismantled pier.

She feared various parts could be left out in the open and exposed to the elements as were the statues from the former Tiger Balm Garden. Suen said the government was looking at a few locations for storage, but assured legislators the dismantled pier would not be battered by wind or the rain.

Later he revealed the possible sites at Tseung Kwan O and Kai Tak, but said details will be announced in a few weeks.

The planning chief remained silent when Eu asked for the pier's dismantling date or an assurance that it would not be dismantled until the storage location was revealed.

According to a paper submitted to the public works subcommittee of the Finance Committee, it will cost HK$10 million to preserve the pier's components and another HK$9 million to transport parts of the pier to temporary storage.

Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung and several other lawmakers also bombarded Suen with questions as to whether the government had no respect for the Antiquities Advisory Board, which last month had assessed the pier as a Grade I historical building.

Cheung also asked whether the Antiquities Advisory Board and the Antiquities and Monuments Office used different standards when grading buildings.

Only the latter has the authority to declare heritage monuments.

Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs Carrie Lam Cheung Yuen-ngor said a review of heritage conservation would begin in the next six months but she reminded legislators the board was only an advisory body while there was an internal mechanism when deciding which buildings could be declared as monuments.

She said if a building is deemed to have historical value, the Antiquities Authority - currently the Secretary for Home Affairs Patrick Ho Chi-ping - will declare it a monument without having to consult the board.

She admitted, in reply to a question from legislator Kwok Ka-ki, there were more than 100 Grade I buildings in Hong Kong that have not made the Declared Monuments list.

She would not say how many of these had already been demolished.

Lawmaker Choy So-yuk asked whether Queen's Pier could be kept at its original location like numerous Tin Hau temples in the city that used to be on the seashore but were kept in their original locations when land reclamation look place.

There was no answer.

After three rounds of questions, the HK$50 million request was approved by 28 votes to 18 with one abstention.

Queen's Pier is being taken apart to make way for the Central Reclamation Phase III.

It is to be reassembled in 2011 after the completion of the reclamation and underground work for MTR tunnels and a sewage system.
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Old June 16th, 2007, 06:49 AM   #396
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so when is reclamation going to stop? 300 years from now, you wouldn't even need a ferry ride to get over...just walk over.
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Old June 16th, 2007, 07:04 AM   #397
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.x View Post
so when is reclamation going to stop? 300 years from now, you wouldn't even need a ferry ride to get over...just walk over.
The current reclamation is likely the last in the main harbour area. There are some sporadic plans elsewhere but those are fairly minor and the distance is still large between both coasts.
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Old June 19th, 2007, 07:12 PM   #398
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Barracks cut for PLA in campaign to save harbor
30 May 2007
Hong Kong Standard

Designing Hong Kong, a harbor concern group, Tuesday called for half of the People's Liberation Army barracks at Tamar to be converted into an open space and for a tram track to be laid through the new Central waterfront.

Presenting 23 proposals to the Town Planning Board, the group also suggested Queen's Pier and the Star Ferry clock tower be rebuilt on original locations. The proposals include reducing a planned six-lane highway, called P2, to the minimum required for a dual two- lane road with a tram track along the middle.

The chairman of the group's harbour district section, Paul Zimmerman, said the ideas were based on public opinion gathered over the past five years.

Another board member, Markus Shaw, who is also chairman of World Wide Fund for Nature, said the key would be to reduce the number of cars.

``P2 should not be the mass transit system. People should move on trams or the MTR,'' Shaw said.

Shaw said the group had broken up two key sites in their planning _ the low-rise buildings, or groundscrapers, and the festival market _ to give Central a more distinctive look.

The single huge groundscraper block will be separated into three blocks of buildings while the festival market site will be split into two.

Civic Exchange chief executive Christine Loh Kung-wai said the group hoped some of the amendments would be included in the Central reclamation urban design study being conducted by the Planning Department.

The group is also holding an urban planning and design competition to attract more ideas on the design for the Central waterfront. Prizes, including honorariums, amount to HK$1 million and the deadline is August 15.

Meanwhile, several legislators have also questioned the need for the P2 road, which is a part of the proposed Central- Wan Chai Bypass.

At a special meeting of the Legislative Council planning, lands and works panel, the Democratic Party's Albert Ho Chun-yan called for more options in the effort to ease traffic congestion in the Central district.

Deputy Secretary for Environment, Transport and Works Philip Yung Wai- hung said the traffic volume in the district had already exceeded the limit and that a bypass was one way to alleviate the problem.

Ho said a road-pricing system could help ease traffic congestion.

He accused the government of pushing ahead with the bypass plan without exploring alternatives in an attempt to secure reclaimed land for business purposes.

Raymond Ho Chun-tai, who represents the engineering constituency, said the bypass was the only way to solve the existing problem.

He pointed out the government had looked into the road-pricing system, but concluded the system was too expensive for Hong Kong.
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Old June 27th, 2007, 12:38 PM   #399
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Gov't Press Release:
LCQ18: Urban Design Study for the New Central Harbourfront
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Old June 30th, 2007, 07:11 PM   #400
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Planners yield ground on views over Central reclamation
Hong Kong Standard
Friday, June 29, 2007

Transport and Planning Department officials went on the defensive at a special meeting of the Legislative Council's planning, lands and works panel Thursday to discuss the Central reclamation project.

Lawmakers and representatives of harbor concern groups traded barbs with government officials in a heated exchange after activists took on government officials for not addressing public demands over the HK$3.5-billion project. Critics said mutual frustration had arisen from the public's loss of trust in the government's handling of the issue.

Representatives of 13 harbor concern groups grilled officials about the high plot ratio and building heights on reclaimed land in Central.

They voiced concern over the SAR being recently dubbed "the world's worst transportation system on a waterfront" by a leading expert on city space revitalization, and urged the government to consider their suggestions.

On the site close to Two IFC and the lands adjoining piers four to six, there are buildings that rise 12 to 28 stories. Ivan Ho Man-yiu of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects said these block seaviews.

Annelise Connell from Save Our Shorelines said more commercial buildings on reclaimed land would only generate more traffic and defeat the purpose of solving congestion through reclamation. "If you know the Road P2 is going to be full, then stop building more buildings there. This is not a sustainable concept at all," she said.

Paul Zimmerman of concern group Designing Hong Kong Harbour District said public consultation on the project, which began last month, has not included details of traffic arrangements.

In response, Deputy Transport Commissioner Lau Ka-keung said the Road P2 will reach only 70 percent of its capacity by 2016, and should be able to accommodate traffic needs.

Ophelia Wong Yuen-sheung, deputy director of planning, said the first stage of public consultation is under way and the Planning Department will take those views into consideration to try to improve the project gradually.

Lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki said since last year legislators had been urging the Planning Department to lower the plot ratio on future reclaimed lands but nothing has come through yet.

"More than 50,000 square meters of land for commercial use will make Central more congested than before. What have you done to lower the plot ratio with the Town Planning Board? Have you even consulted the people about whether they want to have shopping malls, hotels and offices there?" he asked.

"It's so hard being a civil servant," an agitated Wong replied, arguing that the Central district zoning plan had been approved by the Town Planning Board as well as Legco and the Executive Council years ago. The plan only stated the use of the zones without specific details of planning. She said the phase one public consultation will help understand opinions on the relocation of Queen's Pier and the demolished Star Ferry pier.

"We're planners with a conscience and won't just do whatever bosses say, if not, we will be ashamed to face the people. I cannot accept some people's insults against my colleagues. Planning is for the citizens and our children, there is no turning back after it's built. We have to keep a balance," Wong said.

Legislators also asked whether the winning designs for a Central reclamation planning competition organized by Designing Hong Kong Harbour District will be considered by the department. Wong said the designs will definitely be taken into account.

Bill Barron of Civic Exchange said the frustration felt by both government officials and harbor concern groups is merely due to lack of trust in the government by the people, adding that the project will have to be monitored.
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