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Old November 20th, 2008, 05:32 PM   #581
hkskyline
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Planners want to drive over court ruling on bypass
19 November 2008
Hong Kong Standard

The administration is set to press ahead with the controversial Central-Wan Chai bypass despite a court ruling that a temporary reclamation required for the job would break harbor protection laws.

In a government document to be discussed in the Legislative Council next Tuesday, the Development Bureau will seek to increase the funding for the Central Reclamation Phase III project by 60 percent to HK$5.7 billion from an original HK$3.5 billion.

The extra funding is mainly for work in Central, including protective walls and slabbing so that work on the bypass can continue after being disrupted by the court ruling in March.

A government official said work could begin next year and would advance the reclamation from 2013 to 2011.

The extra funding would also include consultancy fees and adjustments to building costs.

The government estimates the protection work will create about 1,390 jobs.

In March, High Court Judge Michael Hartmann granted an application by the Society for the Protection of the Harbour for a declaration that 10.7 hectares of temporary reclamation in and around Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter is subject to a 1997 ordinance, including a strong presumption against reclamation.

But in its latest document, the Development Bureau concludes that ``without temporary reclamation, the Trunk Road Tunnel cannot be safely and practically constructed. There is an overriding public need for the temporary reclamation in the construction.''

A government official explained: ``We have sought legal advice and we are confident that there is sufficient justification to carry out the reclamation.'' Planners want a tunnel rather than a flyover for the construction even though that will require permanent reclamation of 12.7 hectares against 9.8 hectares.

A tunnel is also HK$9 billion more expensive at HK$20 billion, though either of the choices would take about seven years to complete.

A government official said a tunnel would allow an open view of Victoria Harbour. ``Going simply on the size of the reclamation, the flyover seems a better choice,'' the official said. ``However, the eyesore it will create will be permanent. So we prepared a tunnel option.''

Government planners also propose moving yachts from Causeway Bay to Aberdeen typhoon shelter to make way for fishing boats and other vessels.

Legco's development panel will discuss all the proposals next week.

Conservancy Association chairwoman Betty Ho Siu-fong warned that the plans could draw more legal challenges from harbor-protection activists. And a bypass alone could not end traffic congestion, she said, so road pricing was needed.
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Old November 21st, 2008, 04:24 AM   #582
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HK$172.6m to give harbourfront access
19 November 2008
South China Morning Post

The government has proposed spending an extra HK$172.6 million to ensure the public has access to part of the new Central harbourfront despite a delay in building a road tunnel.

Construction of the 950-metre tunnel, which is a section of the Central-Wan Chai Bypass and involves reclamation, has not started because of judicial challenges. The strip of land involved on the harbourfront now lies idle while public consultations continue.

A government spokesman said yesterday that protection works for the tunnel would be done so that the whole piece of newly reclaimed land in Central - including the tunnel site - could be freed up as soon as possible for other harbourfront developments.

Without the works, the new Central harbourfront would not be open for public use until 2013 after the tunnel is completed. With the works, the harbourfront is expected to be available to the public in 2011.

The protection works will comprise building diaphragm with a top slab along the future tunnel alignment, ensuring the tunnel box can be safely built underground in future without opening up the land.

This will save the trouble of digging up the land to make way for tunnel works. The proposed works project will create 1,390 jobs, including 1,130 labourers and 260 professional and technical posts.

Meanwhile, a High Court judge ruled yesterday that the government should not be liable to pay for three lawyers who represented a group that won the bid to stop temporary land reclamation for the Central-Wan Chai Bypass.

Mr Justice Michael Hartmann praised the Society for the Protection of the Harbour and its "entirely altruistic" efforts, but questioned the need to hire a trio of lawyers to fight its case.

Two lawyers, not three, would have been reasonable, the judge wrote in his ruling.

But the society "acted again in protection of the public interest to protect a public asset - our harbour - which is central to our identity and heritage", he said in the judgment.

Mr Justice Hartmann awarded the society its legal costs in March after the group won a battle that forced the government to prove further reclamation served an overriding public need. But the two sides could not agree on how much the government should pay. The legal fight concerned a plan to temporarily reclaim 10.7 hectares in and around the Causeway Bay typhoon shelter during construction of the bypass.
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 06:39 AM   #583
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國金旁地盤掘出 屬英軍遺物
中環又引爆戰時炸彈

22/11/2008



【本報訊】中環添馬艦新政府總部地盤,周一發現戰時日軍遺下的炮彈後,毗鄰的舊天星碼頭填海地盤,工人昨又掘出一枚疑戰時英軍「回禮」還擊遺下的炮彈,殺傷力達方圓一百公尺,拆彈專家奉召到場引爆,但為免附近大廈玻璃幕牆被震碎,先將炮彈搬至海邊,炮彈經兩次才完成引爆,爆炸威力強大,壓住炮彈的沙包飛彈十多公尺墮地,一百名地盤工人需要疏散。

威力可及方圓百公尺
昨午二時許,工人在中環填海地盤郵政總局對開一百五十公尺位置,掘出一枚直徑十五公分,五十公分長的炮彈,即通知上司報警。

警方拆彈專家到場,證實炮彈仍有爆炸威力,由於位置接近國際金融中心,恐引爆震碎大廈的玻璃幕牆,拆彈專家先將炮彈運到遠離大廈的海邊才進行引爆,警方為安全計,疏散了地盤內一百名建築工人,及封閉從郵政總局通往新天星碼頭的行人天橋及附近街道。

警方爆炸品處理課高級炸彈處理主任布立頓表示,該炮彈重四十公斤,屬於二次大戰時英軍使用的炮彈,相信是一九四一年十二月日軍攻佔中環後,英軍用作還擊日軍之用,其威力可及方圓一百公尺,第一次引爆主要是炸毀炮彈外殼,第二次才正式摧毀炮彈。
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 05:06 PM   #584
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Second shell in a week blown up
22 November 2008
South China Morning Post

A wartime artillery shell was unearthed at the site of the former Star Ferry pier yesterday, the second time in a week that an explosive has been found by construction workers in the area.

At about 2.30pm, workers discovered a 40kg, 50cm-long, 15cm-wide shell on the site, 100 metres away from a flyover leading to the new Star Ferry pier and Two IFC tower.

Police believe the shell was a British one fired in a battle with Japanese forces who were shelling the city from Kowloon side.

"The one that we found on Monday [at the Tamar site] was shot by the Japanese military from Kowloon side," waterfront divisional commander Johnny Chan Man-yin said. "When the Japanese occupied Hong Kong Island, British forces in the city tried to fight back. We believe [the shell found yesterday] was fired by them at that time."

Although it was less powerful than the one found on Monday, officers estimated it could still have affected an area up to 100 metres away if it exploded.

Fearing the detonation could damage nearby buildings, including Jardine House and the Central Post Office, bomb disposal officers moved the shell to the waterfront for the controlled explosion.

The 100 workers on the site were evacuated and nearby Man Yiu Street was closed temporarily.

As on Monday, two explosions - one at 5.12pm, another at 5.36pm - were needed to destroy the shell after the first only damaged the casing.

The shell was found during work on a hotly contested reclamation project that led to demolition of the former pier in December 2006 amid marathon protests.

Activists claimed the building, although having little architectural merit, was part of the history and culture of the city.

But the government was determined to push ahead with the reclamation, insisting it had conducted sufficient consultations in the five years leading up to the demolition.

The reclamation project, which includes a highway linking north Central and Wan Chai, is regarded by the government as the solution to traffic congestion. It is scheduled to be finished by the end of next year.

Work at the site resumed immediately after the detonation and the Development Bureau said the discovery of the shell would not affect the progress of the work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
國金旁地盤掘出 屬英軍遺物
中環又引爆戰時炸彈

22/11/2008



【本報訊】中環添馬艦新政府總部地盤,周一發現戰時日軍遺下的炮彈後,毗鄰的舊天星碼頭填海地盤,工人昨又掘出一枚疑戰時英軍「回禮」還擊遺下的炮彈,殺傷力達方圓一百公尺,拆彈專家奉召到場引爆,但為免附近大廈玻璃幕牆被震碎,先將炮彈搬至海邊,炮彈經兩次才完成引爆,爆炸威力強大,壓住炮彈的沙包飛彈十多公尺墮地,一百名地盤工人需要疏散。

威力可及方圓百公尺
昨午二時許,工人在中環填海地盤郵政總局對開一百五十公尺位置,掘出一枚直徑十五公分,五十公分長的炮彈,即通知上司報警。

警方拆彈專家到場,證實炮彈仍有爆炸威力,由於位置接近國際金融中心,恐引爆震碎大廈的玻璃幕牆,拆彈專家先將炮彈運到遠離大廈的海邊才進行引爆,警方為安全計,疏散了地盤內一百名建築工人,及封閉從郵政總局通往新天星碼頭的行人天橋及附近街道。

警方爆炸品處理課高級炸彈處理主任布立頓表示,該炮彈重四十公斤,屬於二次大戰時英軍使用的炮彈,相信是一九四一年十二月日軍攻佔中環後,英軍用作還擊日軍之用,其威力可及方圓一百公尺,第一次引爆主要是炸毀炮彈外殼,第二次才正式摧毀炮彈。
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Old December 1st, 2008, 03:54 PM   #585
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12/1











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Old December 3rd, 2008, 05:11 PM   #586
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Source : http://www.flickr.com/photos/smilevv...7608680642949/

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Old December 10th, 2008, 03:56 AM   #587
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Pier plan's popularity disputed
10 December 2008
South China Morning Post

Most Hong Kong people want the historic Queen's Pier rebuilt at a new harbourfront site rather than restored at its previous location, the government has concluded.

It said this has emerged from public views submitted to the Harbourfront Enhancement Committee on design of the new Central waterfront.

The findings were released by the Planning Department yesterday.

The department said a majority of responses from the public favoured placing the historic pier beside Victoria Harbour, instead of re-erecting it at its original site, which will be landlocked by the Central reclamation. It said 16 of 18 district councils supported reassembling the pier on the harbourfront for public use.

But it was favoured by only 49 per cent and 27 per cent of respondents to comment cards and in phone interviews respectively.

Civic Party vice-chairman Albert Lai Kwong-tak questioned the validity of what he said were the "manipulated" views of district councils.

Meeting records show most of the motions backing the relocation were initiated by appointed councillors and members of the government-friendly camp, and 13 out of 18 had similar wording.

"Some councils in remote districts say they don't really care where the pier is put," he said, adding that Hong Kong should adopt international best practice - and site the pier at its original location to avoid irreversible damage to heritage - if opinions were divided.

Engineers and surveyors support the waterfront option but architects and planners say the pier - demolished this year amid strident protests - should stay at its original position because of its historic relationship with City Hall and Edinburgh Place.

Meanwhile, the department said there was no consensus on the siting of the old Star Ferry clock tower, also demolished amid protests, but people in face-to-face interviews, telephone polls and focus group workshops preferred putting it close to its original location.

On future development, most respondents preferred building a hotel and one office tower in front of Two IFC rather than a hotel and two towers. But half of focus group workshop participants disliked both concepts, saying the density was too high for a site close to the waterfront.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 11:30 AM   #588
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Courts not the place to cure ills of society says HK's top judge
11 December 2008
Hong Kong Standard

Hong Kong's top judge says the city's social, political and economic problems should be resolved through the political process rather than the courts.

Chief Justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang made the comments while addressing the issue of a growing number of judicial review cases here and overseas.

He made no direct mention of the most recent controversial case that saw a judge rule this week that prisoners have the right to vote. The ruling came at the end of a judicial review launched by two inmates at Stanley Prison - one of them a convicted robber - and a lawmaker.

But, in an opening address to a conference on ``Effective Judicial Review: A Cornerstone of Good Governance Today,'' jointly organized by Chinese University and Britain's Cambridge University, Li said: ``It is only through the give and take of the political process after consultation and dialogue that viable solutions may be found.''

Li added that the legislative and executive procedures are better suited to reconciling society's various interests.

``It is to the political process that the citizen must look for an appropriate resolution to these problems,'' he said.

``The judicial review is a cornerstone of good governance,'' said Li, but he added that the public should understand that the decisions of the courts in such cases are concerned with ``what is legally valid and what is not.''

Li said courts dealing with judicial reviews were ``not decision-makers'' and warned that the courts of law were not the solution to political, economic or social ills.

Serial judicial review-seeker and League of Social Democrats lawmaker ``Long Hair'' Leung Kwok agreed.

``He's right, but the problem is the SAR government failed to make amendments or strike down ordinance and laws which have violated human rights for decades,'' he added.

Leung, the third man in the case seeking the vote for inmates, said the government also failed to ensure Hong Kong residents could enjoy rights guaranteed under Article 39 of the Basic Law.

``That's why there are so many judicial review cases in court. We aren't going to court to get decisions on policy and political reform but to seek justice,'' Leung said.

Danny Lam Wai-fung, who heads Hong Kong University's department of politics and public administration, said the focus of a judicial review should be ``solely on whether government agencies have exercised the powers given to them in an appropriate way.''

He added that sometimes court rulings can impose unnecessary constraints on policy deliberations.

Lam added that judicial reviews do provide a suitable channel for conservationists and environmental protection groups to fight the government's monopoly of power over reclamation policy.

``In a political system where the venues for policy debates are limited and monopolized by the executive branch, the court is a venue in which interest groups can at least have a chance to win,'' he said.

Li said the sharp increase in judicial reviews in Hong Kong was also largely due to a more educated public with higher expectations of those who govern.

He said reconciling the Basic Law and Bill of Rights with executive and legislative acts along with attempts to navigate the middle ground between individual rights and the public interests have also led to more challenges.
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Old December 29th, 2008, 11:28 PM   #589
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pictures from 27. december ... view from central plaza sky lobby

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Old January 2nd, 2009, 09:58 AM   #590
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Project makes a nonsense of rules on reclamation
28 December 2008
South China Morning Post

The cavalier attitude many government officials take towards reclamation never ceases to amaze. After the furore over damage to the harbour stemming from the Central-Wan Chai bypass project, it should have been clear to officials that any reclamation needs to be carried out with full transparency and public support. Yet the Drainage Services Department appears to have completed a substantial reclamation off Cyberport, Pok Fu Lam, without proper permission. It claims the authority to do so because the work is not "technically" reclamation.

The site is part of a HK$3.8 billion storm-water management project to relieve flooding at times of heavy rain. No one disputes the need for such work in many parts of Hong Kong Island, especially in Sheung Wan, an area which has been plagued by chronic flooding for years. The department announced last year that it would build a small, temporary pier for the project off Pok Fu Lam and obtained permits for it. It gazetted a map showing a narrow, finger-like pier jutting out into the middle of the proposed works area. But contractors for the department have instead reclaimed an area of sea to build a giant platform several times larger than the proposed pier and nearly equal in size to the entire works area.

The department has admitted the original plan for the site was revised after its initial approvals. With no sense of irony, it has insisted the platform is the pier and that it falls entirely within the approved works boundary. If so, it must be one of the strangest- looking piers in the world. Drainage officials said the Environmental Protection Department had not objected to the revised plan, and the main contractor said the site was not technically reclamation because it was only temporary. These are excuses that fly in the face of common sense and legal precedent. The platform fits any reasonable person's definition of reclamation. Under the Foreshore and Sea-Bed (Reclamations) Ordinance, all plans for reclamation - and all subsequent changes to those plans - need to be approved by the director of lands and gazetted. The drainage department has not complied with the law.

As for the distinction between temporary and permanent reclamation, the High Court has already ruled that there is no difference and that both must pass the same stringent test of overriding public interest. Granted, that ruling in March was an interpretation of harbour protection laws; the Pok Fu Lam site falls outside the harbour. But officials should not assume they can carry out any reclamation project outside the harbour by claiming it is only temporary.

It may well be that construction of the platform is necessary to complete the anti-flooding project in the area. If so, drainage officials should now make an effort to explain the new development to nearby residents and the public at large. If the works platform is intended to be temporary, they should explain how long it will be there and whether surrounding marine conditions may be restored when it is dismantled. Moreover, those officials in charge of approving reclamation must now look into the project to make sure it has the necessary permits and that it does not cause any further damage to the marine environment. Government departments are required to gazette public works so that people will know exactly what is being done. Drainage officials have made changes that appear not to be in the gazetted plan. They must now rectify the situation and convince people they are not being misled.
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Old January 9th, 2009, 05:12 AM   #591
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Opening up harbourfront to take 10 years
9 January 2009
South China Morning Post

About 70 per cent of harbourfront land would become accessible open space for public enjoyment, but the whole plan would probably take at least 10 years to achieve, the government said yesterday.

The plan would take time because a lot of harbourfront sites were privately owned, Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor told a Legislative Council subcommittee on harbourfront planning.

The government's ultimate objective was to construct continuous promenades around most parts of Victoria Harbour, she said.

At present, about 30 per cent of the harbourfront comprises promenades or parks, and 27 per cent is devoted to cargo. Another 40 per cent, or 180 hectares, will be turned into green, accessible open space.

The minister said the number of years the process would take was uncertain, but "it is probably not a single digit".

Her bureau would study the feasibility of public-private partnership to develop waterfront promenades in private sites, and would start with Hung Hom Pier, which adjoins a private residential area.

While district-level planning could be accomplished in new areas such as West Kowloon and Kai Tak, she said other districts such as Kwun Tong, Sheung Wan and Wan Chai, where waterfronts were already occupied, would need the co-operation of various government bureaus and engagement with private stakeholders and district councils.

The government was also looking for consultants to study the possibility of introducing water taxis, as there were a lot of disused piers around the harbour that could be used, she said.

Mrs Lam said she was also considering the possibility of removing cargo areas from harbour sites in the long run, as Sydney was doing, because some argued the government should preserve the historic function of the harbour.
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Old January 21st, 2009, 03:11 PM   #592
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By memphis from a Hong Kong photography forum :



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Old January 22nd, 2009, 04:45 AM   #593
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O my, we seem to be missing a building somewhere! :-D
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Old January 24th, 2009, 06:35 PM   #594
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Now create a harbour we can take pride in
14 January 2009
South China Morning Post

After years of making and revising plans, the government has finally unveiled a development blueprint for the former Kai Tak airport site that looks set to go ahead. At long last, officials have come up with a viable plan that seems to have bypassed the sort of pitfalls and minefields that held up development of Tamar, the Central-Wan Chai bypass and the West Kowloon arts hub. Moreover, the economic climate has worsened, changing public sentiment. It is easier, now, for the government to push ahead with major infrastructure and development projects, given the need to provide work and stimulate the economy.

Along with West Kowloon, the 320-hectare Kai Tak site is the most valuable piece of vacant urban land we have, and one that does not have roads blocking access to our beautiful waterfront. We must make sure it stays that way. The site's development is important to the whole city, not only to those who will move to live there. One major concern is the relative geographic isolation of the site. Planners must ensure easy access for future residents, visitors and tourists. Its success will very much depend on accessibility.

There are two reasons why the latest blueprint will be acceptable to the public. First, the government will pay most of the bill, which will amount to more than HK$100 billion over 12 years. This will help the administration avoid any allegations of collusion with big business interests. Suspicions of this kind contributed to problems for the original plan for West Kowloon to be built by a single developer. The government was forced to backtrack and parcel out the site as individual projects for different bidders. The proposed cruise terminal, a major component of the Kai Tak site's development, was originally to be built and run by a single private operator. But several private bids failed to meet minimum government requirements. Now, the government will be the main builder.

Second, the government recognises the Kai Tak site amounts to a sub-district, so it has something for everyone: schools, public housing flats, private residential development, government offices, parks, a cleaned-up nullah to be turned into a river, a major stadium, tourist attractions and shopping malls. An MTR station connecting Sha Tin and Central will be built, and possibly a monorail. There is also the possibility of a bridge linking the tip of the runway to Kwun Tong. Questions have been raised about whether building this will contravene harbour protection laws against reclamation and block the flow of vessels. It must be carefully thought through.

With the latest blueprint, the government has made an attempt to avoid flaws in the way it had conducted previous public consultations. Since 2004, it has made extensive use of the Harbourfront Enhancement Committee to gauge opinions across different sectors regarding the Kai Tak development. In the past, critics have accused officials of failing to highlight the salient points and hiding the real agenda behind major public projects. In turn, officials have become upset that attempts at transparency have opened them up to attacks and criticism. So even now, Kai Tak's planners should listen to legitimate concerns about their project and, where possible, adopt changes that can bring improvement.

With the Kai Tak blueprint, all the major development plans are now in place. The future landscape of our city is taking shape. Our children will have to live with this for a long time. Let's now create a new harbourside of which Hong Kong can be proud.
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Old January 24th, 2009, 08:31 PM   #595
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Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Project makes a nonsense of rules on reclamation
28 December 2008
South China Morning Post

The cavalier attitude many government officials take towards reclamation never ceases to amaze. After the furore over damage to the harbour stemming from the Central-Wan Chai bypass project, it should have been clear to officials that any reclamation needs to be carried out with full transparency and public support. Yet the Drainage Services Department appears to have completed a substantial reclamation off Cyberport, Pok Fu Lam, without proper permission. It claims the authority to do so because the work is not "technically" reclamation.

The site is part of a HK$3.8 billion storm-water management project to relieve flooding at times of heavy rain. No one disputes the need for such work in many parts of Hong Kong Island, especially in Sheung Wan, an area which has been plagued by chronic flooding for years. The department announced last year that it would build a small, temporary pier for the project off Pok Fu Lam and obtained permits for it. It gazetted a map showing a narrow, finger-like pier jutting out into the middle of the proposed works area. But contractors for the department have instead reclaimed an area of sea to build a giant platform several times larger than the proposed pier and nearly equal in size to the entire works area.

The department has admitted the original plan for the site was revised after its initial approvals. With no sense of irony, it has insisted the platform is the pier and that it falls entirely within the approved works boundary. If so, it must be one of the strangest- looking piers in the world. Drainage officials said the Environmental Protection Department had not objected to the revised plan, and the main contractor said the site was not technically reclamation because it was only temporary. These are excuses that fly in the face of common sense and legal precedent. The platform fits any reasonable person's definition of reclamation. Under the Foreshore and Sea-Bed (Reclamations) Ordinance, all plans for reclamation - and all subsequent changes to those plans - need to be approved by the director of lands and gazetted. The drainage department has not complied with the law.

As for the distinction between temporary and permanent reclamation, the High Court has already ruled that there is no difference and that both must pass the same stringent test of overriding public interest. Granted, that ruling in March was an interpretation of harbour protection laws; the Pok Fu Lam site falls outside the harbour. But officials should not assume they can carry out any reclamation project outside the harbour by claiming it is only temporary.

It may well be that construction of the platform is necessary to complete the anti-flooding project in the area. If so, drainage officials should now make an effort to explain the new development to nearby residents and the public at large. If the works platform is intended to be temporary, they should explain how long it will be there and whether surrounding marine conditions may be restored when it is dismantled. Moreover, those officials in charge of approving reclamation must now look into the project to make sure it has the necessary permits and that it does not cause any further damage to the marine environment. Government departments are required to gazette public works so that people will know exactly what is being done. Drainage officials have made changes that appear not to be in the gazetted plan. They must now rectify the situation and convince people they are not being misled.
exactly, why reclaim for such an ugly building?? if they chose the other design then ok... but this??
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Old January 25th, 2009, 04:48 PM   #596
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為中環新海濱建立共識
10 January 2009
星島日報

《中環新海濱城市設計研究》進入最後階段。規劃署的顧問,早前向共建維港委員會報告公眾參與的結果,隨後再訂出最終方案。

國金二期前面近四至六號碼頭的土地,政府建議興建兩幢分別為十八層高與三十層高的大廈。概念A是辦公室和酒店各一幢,概念B是兩幢辦公室,報告指概念A較受歡迎。其實,許多倡議者認為該土地臨近海濱,根本不應建高樓。例如中西區區議會便提出把土地綠化用作公園和公共設施,長春社提議用作大笪地,也有團體提議只建三層高的樓宇把面積轉移至其他地方而不在海邊建高樓。政府的回應是「可考慮減低建築物的高度」。即是說,團體的建議都不被接納。

方案另一缺點,就是那八綫行車,比干諾道中還要闊的地面P2幹道。寬闊的馬路把海濱與內陸地方隔絕,減低海濱的可達性,也不符合《海港規劃原則》。有專業團體認為,既然發展密度降低了,P2道路為甚麼不能收窄?政府的回應是「P2路可解決現時干諾道中與康樂廣場路口的交通擠塞;再者,降低將來的建築密度也不會影響現時對P2路的需要。」似乎答非所問,實在令人摸不着頭腦。問題不在P2路是否需要,而是可否減低闊度呀!

無計畫把碼頭原址重置

皇后碼頭是原址重置還是搬到海邊,意見也有分歧。明顯地,這是「尊重歷史」和「着重功能」之間的選擇。報告顯示,專業工作坊的參與者多支持原地重置;意見卡、面談訪問和公眾論壇的參與者多支持搬到海邊,十八區區議會亦支持後者。

結果可解讀為:香港人的選擇,功能比歷史重要。怪不得報告顯示,中環新海濱在「尊重文化歷史脈絡」的設計原則方面獲得最低的支持。

政府在回應文件中聲稱皇后碼頭原址與P2路重疊,要原址重置則要刊憲,阻礙興建道路的進度。哎,由皇后清場至今已超過一年,P2路建成了嗎?有心原址重置的話P2路刊憲修改早就完成了。

由此可見,政府自此至終都沒計畫把皇后碼頭原址重置,除了用作安撫保育人士保衞碼頭免被清拆的權宜之計。這樣又怎不會傷透保育人士和專業人士的心呢?

政府高層誓死要把皇后碼頭遷離原址的決心,從整個公眾參與的過程中可見端倪。眼見專業人士在工作坊中多數支持原址重置,部門便連忙找來自己的支持者,甚至游說與中區毫不相干的區議會通過捆綁式的動議,把碼頭搬到海邊。對此結果,筆者除了深感無奈,實在無話可說。一切是非對錯,惟待歷史判斷。

枉費倡議者另類方案

每個議題只有A餐與B餐的選擇,其他建議不作考慮,那便枉費了其他倡議者花盡心思的另類方案了。因此共建維港委員會建議舉辦公聽會,讓不同的倡議者和政府辯論,互相聆聽各項理據,讓政府也可以理服人(如果有的話)。

過去五年,市民對海港規劃的訴求起了重大的變化。從單一地反對填海,到追求一個以人為本綠意盎然,充滿活力和富歷史感的海濱願景。可惜《城市設計研究》卻一成不變的按過時的分區計畫大綱圖,設下大量不必要的局限。如此又豈能做到一個世界級的海濱呢?

政府過分小心,是恐怕一旦放鬆規限,隨時連規劃多年且飽受折騰的中環灣仔繞道都不保,筆者認為這是過慮了。

筆者擔心的,反而是到時海填了,路建了,海旁還是一片沙漠,海濱長廊卻遙遙無期。但願不是如此。

吳永順

註冊建築師

城市設計聯盟成員

http://hk.myblog.yahoo.com/avincentng
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Old January 30th, 2009, 06:11 PM   #597
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Old January 31st, 2009, 01:19 AM   #598
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Are there renderings of the new government building planned for the reclamation?
I remember seeing a render of a tower with a kind of baroque plaza in the entrance,but I guess it has changed since then.
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Old January 31st, 2009, 07:08 AM   #599
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Quote:
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Are there renderings of the new government building planned for the reclamation?
I remember seeing a render of a tower with a kind of baroque plaza in the entrance,but I guess it has changed since then.
HONG KONG | Tamar Development Project News
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Old February 8th, 2009, 04:01 PM   #600
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Hong Kong's battle to preserve waterfront
5 February 2009
Financial Times

The last remaining bay in Victoria Harbour is likely to be saved from reclamation, writes Tom Mitchell

Six of the 14 stations on Hong Kong's Island underground railway line are named after bays or streams that no longer exist, obliterated decades ago by landfill projects that greatly diminished what had been one of the world's most beautiful harbours.

The government's original redevelopment plan for Kai Tak, the city's former airport, threatened to eradicate Kowloon Bay, the last vestige of the once spacious Victoria Harbour.

But when a 12-year, HK$100bn ($12.9bn, €10bn, £8.9bn) blueprint for Kai Tak was finally released last month, environmental activists were pleasantly surprised to find that the Hong Kong government had taken a "zero reclamation option".

"It is a major success - there will not be one square foot of reclamation," says Winston Chu, a solicitor who has led the fight to preserve what remains of the harbour. "This is the last bay left."

Mr Chu, who began his crusade in 1994 at the urging of his late mother, and his fellow campaigners owe much of their success to Hong Kong's independent judiciary and the rule of law, tools not available to would-be citizen activists in other Chinese cities.

Mr Chu has won five of seven lawsuits against the government. Another victory was the protection of the harbour bill adopted on the eve of the former British colony's return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. It declared that the harbour "is to be protected and preserved as a special public asset and a natural heritage of Hong Kong people, and for that purpose there shall be a presumption against reclamation".

Six years later, a legal test case set a high bar for proposed reclamations, saying they could proceed only if they met an "overriding public need". One that did is a bypass expressway to be built on the controversial Central and Wanchai (Cantonese for "Little Bay") reclamation, which is in full swing and will reshape the waterfront of Hong Kong's main business district.

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's secretary for development, calls it "the final, final piece of reclamation - that's it".

"We respect the law," Ms Lam says. "We should do much better on enhancing the waterfront because Victoria Harbour is such a natural asset . . . It's also about respecting the history of the place." Much of the damage to Hong Kong's harbour was in fact done decades ago by British rulers trapped by huge development pressures in the cramped colony and their fiscal dependence on land sale revenues. Roughly half of Kowloon Bay was lost to reclamations completed by 1977; the new plan for Kai Tak will preserve the bay's remaining 300 hectares.

Mr Chu jokes that Hong Kong's former rulers, perhaps homesick for the Thames, set out to turn Victoria Harbour into Victoria river. He compares the government sanctioned erosion of the harbour that is the city's raison d'être and gave it its name - "Hong Kong" is Cantonese for "fragrant harbour" - to the slow but steady mastications of a silk worm. "It's only one small bite at a time - chomp, chomp, chomp - but then the leaf is gone," he says.

While activists pledge to remain vigilant of future landfill encroachments, their focus is turning to the revitalisation of Hong Kong's dispiriting waterfront. Public promenades are piecemeal and often truncated by industrial installations.

These waterfront wastelands contrast sharply with Hong Kong's world class natural park system, which encompasses almost half the territory's land area. When people seek solace and natural beauty, they head to the hills not the harbour.

"There's no vision for what the harbour might look like one day," says Margaret Brooke, who chairs the best practice committee at the Harbour Business Forum, a concern group backed by many of Hong Kong's leading companies.

"Providing a [continuous] promenade is going to be a nightmare because you've got so much engineering stuff on the harbour . . . We just have to improve it inch by inch. It's a dead economic asset at the moment."

Ms Lam agrees: "We have tended to put a lot of functional things by the waterfront." She says she maintains "an open mind" about the possible creation of a more powerful harbour authority. But she also defends the government's current "bits and pieces" approach to harbour development, citing an HK$18m project to pedestrianise a 200-metre stretch along Kowloon Bay. "We don't want to lose any opportunity to make improvements."
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