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Old February 22nd, 2010, 08:35 PM   #701
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My God!" they gonna fill entire Victoria Harbour? I've been therw a bit more hen a year ago and it was much wider then!
Soon one could jump over it!
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 07:28 PM   #702
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If they keep reclaiming land at this rate there won't be a harbour left to enjoy!!!!! A certain amount of reclamation is OK but i think there is a very fine line between enough and too much. They are definately overstepping the mark in Hong Kong and i feel sorry for the people of HK because they are loosing there beautiful harbour more and more each day.
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Old February 24th, 2010, 02:50 AM   #703
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
First section of Lung Wo Road in Central to open tomorrow
Government Press Release
Monday, February 22, 2010



http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/2...1002220081.htm
I hope they're planning on building ped overpasses or subways b/c for the time being I see no crosswalks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SimFox View Post
My God!" they gonna fill entire Victoria Harbour? I've been therw a bit more hen a year ago and it was much wider then!
Soon one could jump over it!
Quote:
Originally Posted by fozzy View Post
If they keep reclaiming land at this rate there won't be a harbour left to enjoy!!!!! A certain amount of reclamation is OK but i think there is a very fine line between enough and too much. They are definately overstepping the mark in Hong Kong and i feel sorry for the people of HK because they are loosing there beautiful harbour more and more each day.
Makes me think, "hmm, does this mean the harbor in my SimCity version will have to be updated every few years?" Well, you never know, maybe one day there will be a new phrase in HK, "Harbour Reclamation." And really, if you look at one of the possibilities that caused the Sichuan earthquake a while ago, it was b/c of the immense pressure caused by the damming of a river.

http://www.internationalrivers.org/e...e-damages-dams
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Old February 24th, 2010, 03:42 AM   #704
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herenthere View Post
I hope they're planning on building ped overpasses or subways b/c for the time being I see no crosswalks.
yes, there will be footbridge/raised platform across lung wo road, along with at-grade crossing.
since the reclaimed area is still under reclamation, there is no need to build any pedestrian crossing at this point of time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by fozzy View Post
If they keep reclaiming land at this rate there won't be a harbour left to enjoy!!!!! A certain amount of reclamation is OK but i think there is a very fine line between enough and too much. They are definately overstepping the mark in Hong Kong and i feel sorry for the people of HK because they are loosing there beautiful harbour more and more each day.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SimFox View Post
My God!" they gonna fill entire Victoria Harbour? I've been therw a bit more hen a year ago and it was much wider then!
Soon one could jump over it!
Quote:
Originally Posted by herenthere View Post
Makes me think, "hmm, does this mean the harbor in my SimCity version will have to be updated every few years?" Well, you never know, maybe one day there will be a new phrase in HK, "Harbour Reclamation." And really, if you look at one of the possibilities that caused the Sichuan earthquake a while ago, it was b/c of the immense pressure caused by the damming of a river.

http://www.internationalrivers.org/e...e-damages-dams
folks, this is the last planned reclamation on both sides of the harbour in the foreseen future. no more reclamation will occur, so no worry.
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Old February 24th, 2010, 10:25 AM   #705
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Even if the gov't tries it the public will speak against it pretty strongly (it already has before)
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Old February 25th, 2010, 08:39 AM   #706
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Projects role sought for new harbour watchdog
18 February 2010
South China Morning Post

A proposed new harbourfront watchdog would be given a more proactive role to initiate development projects on key waterfront sites in Central and Kai Tak, but its power would be limited as it would still be a non-statutory body.

The new body is also expected to encourage businesses and community organisations to contribute capital, expertise and ideas to manage the harbourfront.

In the last meeting of its tenure today, the Harbourfront Enhancement Committee will recommend to the government its proposal for a harbourfront commission to replace the committee to better plan and manage waterfront sites.

The proposal is the outcome of a two-year study and overseas visits seeking a suitable management model for the waterfront, which has often been criticised for lacking vibrancy and is plagued by problems arising from the involvement of several government departments.

The committee was set up in 2004 to advise officials and to conduct public consultation on public waterfront projects after a series of legal battles in which the government was challenged over reclaiming land from the harbour for development.

Under the proposal, the commission would remain an advisory body, led by an official from outside the government and formed by lay members and representatives from professional bodies. It would be appointed by and report to the financial secretary. Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng-yuet ngor would be vice-chairwoman.

The recommendation report stated: "[The committee], however, recommends that in the longer run, the aspiration for an independent, statutory authority, supported by its own executive and dedicated funding {hellip} should be revisited to enhance public involvement."

The report says the commission could initiate and formulate projects to enhance the design, development and management of harbourfront areas. It could also co-opt more members onto additional working panels.

To execute the commission's ideas, the harbour unit of the Development Bureau would, for each site or project, set up special teams of architects, engineers and public relations consultants, and seek funding.

The commission would also have the right to advise on the work of other bodies such as the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, the Town Planning Board and district councils, when they plan for harbourfront sites which lie within their jurisdictions.

It is expected to identify sites for the private sector to take part in the planning and management work of public waterfront sites, in particular in large, undeveloped sites in Kai Tak and Central.

Committee member Vincent Ng Wing-shun said the new commission could take on a greater proactive role and overcome red tape, especially when different government departments want to occupy harbourfront sites with their utilities.

Another member, Dr Ng Mee-kam, said inviting the private sector to take part would be a key task.

Chu Hoi-dick, an urban planning activist, said the commission was still far from satisfactory, as he doubted the extent to which it would represent the public's views.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 12:00 PM   #707
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A missed opportunity to protect our harbour
22 February 2010
South China Morning Post

Victoria Harbour and its waterfront belong to the people of Hong Kong. What the vast majority want to see happening has been clear for some time: shorelines that are accessible, rather than isolated by highways. They seek a vibrant harbour frontage where people can meet friends, take their families and even their pets; long and pleasant promenades graced with restaurants, museums, music and arts venues, parks full of trees and grass, and wide open spaces. Most people do not want any more mammoth office towers and malls built on reclaimed land.

Unfortunately, that is not likely to be the mandate of a new harbour watchdog proposed to the government by the now defunct Harbourfront Enhancement Committee. The committee met for the last time last week. Given what little it has achieved in the past five years, it is fair to say it will not be sorely missed. As a public relations exercise to placate critics of the government's then reclamation policy, it has served its purpose by giving more people a channel to voice their views.

The committee lacked solid achievements. It disbanded boasting exactly two temporary, albeit popular, projects: a dog park near the Cross-Harbour Tunnel in Causeway Bay and a promenade in West Kowloon. The former has closed to make way for construction on the Central and Wan Chai bypass and the latter will disappear when work starts on the West Kowloon arts hub. But as a departing gift, the committee recommended setting up a harbour commission.

Early indications are that officials are amenable to the proposal. Little wonder: it would be appointed by, and report to, the financial secretary. The secretary for development would be its deputy chair. The proposed commission would remain an advisory body, with the government keeping a tight grip on its workings. This is despite more openings being proposed for people from different sectors and community groups.

Such a body is better than nothing but it is not what the public needs if the harbourfront sites are ever to become something we can all be proud of. The problem is that most land on the waterfront belongs to the government but its departments and bureaus jealously guard their territories. Officials are afraid to proceed with any enhancement or development project without a public consensus. It needs to factor in the interests of the business community, especially developers, yet it is loath to antagonise the public. As a result, the West Kowloon arts complex has dragged on while redevelopment plans for the old Kai Tak site are moving at a snail's pace. The only waterfront project the government has prosecuted with any urgency has been the Tamar development - to build a world-class headquarters for itself and the chief executive.

The current administration likes to do everything by consensus. Yet it is clear it has neither the political will nor capital to put forward any large scale project without attracting significant opposition from some powerful and vocal grouping or another. To break the impasse, what is needed is to set up a harbour commission that is independent and statutory so it has the necessary authority. It would need a visionary leadership that listens to the people, yet has the boldness and creditability to push through projects that genuinely enhance the city.

Unfortunately, the government does not want to give up any more power, so we will, in all likelihood, end up with another toothless advisory body.
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Old March 11th, 2010, 07:47 PM   #708
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3/10



































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Old March 17th, 2010, 06:58 AM   #709
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Four-legged strollers to get park at North Point promenade
15 March 2010
SCMP

Pet owners can look forward to walking their four-legged friends in a new dog park on the North Point promenade.

The park, next to the North Point pier near Kam Hong Street on the former grounds of North Point Estate, is being renovated and is due to open shortly, the government said.

Formerly a tree-lined path with benches and exercise facilities, it is being widened into a dog park with stone walls and sand pools. Morning strollers will still be welcome but will have to share the park with the animals. The new amenity comes after the pet-friendly park along the Wan Chai promenade closed in late January to make way for construction of the Central-Wan Chai Bypass.

Eastern District councillor Desmond Lee Yu-tai said although the government had told the council that the park was temporary, he believed it would be kept.

"When you have given people something, it will be hard to take it back," he said.

A spokeswoman of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said it would offer an alternative for pet owners living in Wan Chai and Eastern districts.

She was not worried that local residents would oppose the opening.

"Look at [the park at] Wan Chai promenade. It was clean, and even non-pet owners loved going there," she said. "The park helped build up a reputation of Hong Kong pet owners having self-discipline."

Tsoi Hiu-wing, who has been living in North Point for over two decades, said it was good to have a pet park, since many of her neighbours were dog owners. "North Point and the Eastern District in general lack such facilities. Many people just walk their dogs in the streets. It is good to have a place where they can gather," she said.

But Ching On-yi, who passes by the North Point promenade every morning when she walks to work, said the park might be a hassle for local residents.

"I have been to other dog parks; they do not smell good and sometimes you see liquid on the ground," she said.

She said she might avoid the park if there were too many dogs.

Covering 570 square metres, the North Point pet corner will be only a fraction of the size of the one that was in Wan Chai. Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said earlier that the Wan Chai park might be reinstated after completion of the Central-Wan Chai Bypass.

Meanwhile, the society said it would try to persuade the government to convert larger areas, such as Victoria Park, into pet-friendly parks.

A government spokeswoman said another pet garden would be built in the Tai Hang Drive Sitting-out Area in Wan Chai.

Pets are allowed in about a dozen parks across the city, including Victoria Peak Garden in Western, Yau Tsim Mong Pet Garden in Ferry Street, Kowloon Tsai Park in Kowloon City and the Sheung Wan promenade in Central and Western District.
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 08:29 PM   #710
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Old April 12th, 2010, 12:43 PM   #711
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New road has helped to ease congestion
11 March 2010
SCMP

I refer to the letter from Markus Shaw ("Lung Wo Road is just another monument to 'concrete coalition'", March 4) and wish to clarify several issues.

Lung Wo Road, which is now open to traffic, is a part of road P2 designed to connect the existing Man Cheung Street via the land formed under the Central Reclamation Phase III and Wan Chai Development Phase II projects with Hung Hing Road to be realigned under the latter project.

Upon completion of the Central-Wan Chai bypass and road P2 by 2017, the road will serve to distribute traffic between the east-west traffic corridor formed by the bypass and Rumsey Street flyover to the neighbouring areas including Central, Admiralty, Mid-Levels and Wan Chai.

We see benefits in opening Lung Wo Road now before completion of the whole road P2 as it will help relieve the traffic congestion in this locality.

It provides an alternative route for Wan Chai-bound traffic to bypass the congested Connaught Road Central and avoid merging with other traffic heading for Admiralty and Mid-Levels.

We have observed that, following its opening, Lung Wo Road has helped ease traffic congestion especially at the Central Reclamation Phase I areas including Connaught Place, Man Yiu Street, Man Cheung Street and Man Po Street.

Traffic queues on the above roads during peak hours have shortened quite significantly.

The Transport Department will continue monitoring the traffic situation and undertake fine-tuning measures where necessary to maximise the benefits.

When completed, road P2 will become a tree-lined boulevard as recommended under the Urban Design Study for the New Central Harbourfront commissioned by the Planning Department.

There will also be at-grade and grade-separated pedestrian crossings to facilitate convenient access to the new, vibrant, green and sustainable promenade planned for the waterfront.

Whilst Lung Wo Road is now open and works at the reclamation are yet to be completed, we have provided temporary footpaths and traffic barriers to ensure public safety.

No doubt we will undertake the necessary works to achieve the said planning intention in tandem with the development of the waterfront promenade.

C. K. Hon, project manager for Hong Kong Island and Islands, Civil Engineering and Development Department
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Old April 18th, 2010, 02:04 AM   #712
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History Lesson: The fight to save a school campus is resonant of past and present times
The Standard
April 16, 2010
Kaylene Hong

Efforts to develop Hong Kong as a thoroughly modern metropolis within a pleasing surround of greenery sits well with the vast majority of residents. In recent years, however, There has been increasing support too for the preservation of old structures amid the high rising concrete, steel and glass.

Residents find their souls through a sense of belonging, it's said. They want history in a place that has grown with them, so bulldozing everything that is outdated to make way for the new is cutting emotional ties they'd like to retain.

Or perhaps some people seek no more than relief from too often predictable lines of the 21st century city rather than viewing bygone age architecture as their own history in bricks and mortar.

Whatever the driving force, it was heartening for the nostalgia brigade that a campaign to save a few low rise but hardly architecturally inspiring residential blocks on Sheung Wan's Wing Lee Street just paid off. Of course, Director Alex Law Kai-yui's film Echoes of the Rainbow was a force there.

But what about some of the colonial staff? How many British era police stations do we want to keep? And was that recent and sometime violent squabbling over Central's shabby Star Ferry sprawl and the neighboring and very ordinary Queens' Pier worth the trouble?

......(continues)

http://paper.thestandard.com.hk/Defa...&view=document
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Old April 18th, 2010, 05:41 AM   #713
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This probably would sit better in the historic preservation thread, but the harbour preservation movement probably goes along with similar themes as this article.
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Old April 18th, 2010, 06:18 PM   #714
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Hong Kong Island East Harbour-front Study Stage 2 Public Engagement Programme launched
Friday, April 16, 2010
Government Press Release

The Planning Department today (April 16) launched the Stage 2 Public Engagement Programme for the Hong Kong Island East Harbour-front Study.

In May 2009, the Planning Department started the study with the overall objective of formulating a comprehensive plan for enhancement of the Hong Kong Island East harbour-front areas focusing on connectivity and pedestrian accessibility to the harbour-front. The study area covers about 200 hectares of land along the harbour-front of Hong Kong Island East stretching from the immediate east of the ex-Government Supplies Depot site in North Point eastward to Siu Sai Wan.

In the Stage 1 Public Engagement Programme conducted in March/April 2009 before the commissioning of the study, initial views from key stakeholders on their visions, aspirations and suggestions on harbour-front enhancement were received. Taking into account these public views, the study consultants have formulated the initial options for the enhancement proposals.

The Stage 2 Public Engagement Programme, which will last for two months, will solicit public views on the initial enhancement proposals with a view to assessing the general acceptability of the initial options, evaluating the pros and cons of each option and identifying alternative enhancement proposals, if any.

An engagement workshop will be held on May 8 in Quarry Bay and exhibitions to display the initial enhancement proposals will be organised at two venues in the Eastern District. Members of the public are welcome to visit the Planning Department's homepage (www.pland.gov.hk) for details of the study and the Stage 2 Public Engagement events.
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Old May 25th, 2010, 09:43 AM   #715
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Maritime Museum will be part of vibrant waterfront at Central
19 May 2010
South China Morning Post

It is encouraging to know that Winston Chu Ka-sun and the Society for Protection of the Harbour ("Harbour group backs museum's waterfront plan", May 12) have pledged support for the relocation of the Hong Kong Maritime Museum to Pier 8 in Central. I cannot agree more with the museum's director Stephen Davies ("In same boat over museum", May 8) that for a maritime museum, there is no better location than the harbourfront. Our world-renowned Victoria Harbour warrants such a befitting public facility.

I paid an official visit to New Zealand last week and spent a couple of hours at the Auckland waterfront and the New Zealand National Maritime Museum. Located in the heart of Auckland's downtown waterfront area, it is a major tourist attraction and has added substantially to the vibrancy of the waterfront areas. Through careful curatorial work and interesting displays, the museum also gives visitors a good understanding of the city's maritime history.

My previous visits, and those by members of the harbourfront enhancement committee to other metropolitan cities like London, Liverpool, Sydney, Vancouver, San Francisco and Singapore, where attractive waterfronts have been developed, all point to the same conclusion: a successful harbourfront must feature a mixture of social, recreational, entertainment, arts and cultural activities, in addition to landscaped open spaces and promenades. Well-run public facilities and the interesting programmes they offer will help bring people to the waterfront.

Evolving from a tiny fishing village to one of the busiest ports in the world, Hong Kong has a long and valuable maritime history that we must treasure and remember. It is this historical past that makes Victoria Harbour unique as Hong Kong's most valuable natural asset and heritage. The Maritime Museum, since its opening to the public 4½ years ago, has achieved its mission of showcasing the unique maritime heritage of Hong Kong. It has a strong and growing collection and would benefit from a waterfront location and a larger space. Their current space at Murray House, Stanley, is a mere 500 square metres or less, while Auckland's is 6,000 square metres; Pier 8 will offer a more decent, but not quite comparable, venue.

The government supports the relocation of the Maritime Museum to Pier 8. The Development Opportunities Office of the Development Bureau has been providing advisory and co-ordination services to the museum in its pre-planning work. The museum, with the support of the Home Affairs Bureau, will continue to consult the relevant stakeholders on the proposed relocation before seeking the necessary planning approval from the Town Planning Board.

The government is committed to creating a vibrant, green and accessible new Central harbourfront for the people of Hong Kong, featuring more than 18 hectares of public open space and a two-kilometre-long continuous promenade. I am confident that the future Maritime Museum at Pier 8 will be valued as a key component in this vision.

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, secretary for development
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Old May 30th, 2010, 09:56 AM   #716
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Tenders invited for Central-Wan Chai Bypass Tunnel (North Point Section) and Island Eastern Corridor Link contract
Friday, May 28, 2010
Government Press Release

The Highways Department (HyD) today (May 28) invited tenders for the Central-Wan Chai Bypass Tunnel (North Point Section) and Island Eastern Corridor Link contract (contract No. HY/2009/19). The works are expected to commence in September 2010 for completion in 2017.

The works mainly comprise:

(i) construction of a 300-metre section of tunnel in North Point at the East Portal;
(ii) construction of an approach road to the tunnel;
(iii) modification of Island Eastern Corridor between Hing Fat Street and Po Leung Kuk Yu Lee Mo Fan Memorial School;
(iv) modification of Victoria Park Road and Hing Fat Street junction, and adjacent roadworks;
(v) construction of sub-structures for the Administration Building and East Ventilation Building;
(vi) demolition of Rumsey Street Flyover eastbound down ramp in Central; and
(vii) associated works including landscaped deck, noise barriers, noise semi-enclosures, road drainage and landscaping works.

The Major Works Project Management Office of the HyD has appointed AECOM Asia Company Limited to design and supervise the construction works. Interested contractors may obtain the tender forms and other particulars from AECOM Asia Company Limited on 12th floor, Grand Central Plaza, Tower 2, 138 Sha Tin Rural Committee Road, Sha Tin, New Territories, Hong Kong.

Tender submissions should be placed in the Government Secretariat Tender Box located at the lift lobby on the lower ground floor of Central Government Offices (East Wing), 20 Lower Albert Road, Hong Kong. Submission of tenders will close at noon on July 30, 2010 (Friday).

For enquiries, please call 2605 6262.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 05:20 PM   #717
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Opinion : What Hong Kong waterfront needs is a maritime centre
1 June 2010
SCMP

Secretary of Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's letter in support of the Maritime Museum's relocation to Pier 8 ("Maritime Museum will be part of vibrant waterfront at Central", May 19) again raises serious questions about the government's approach to planning the Central waterfront.

In drafting a concept for the Central waterfront two years ago, I inventoried the "anchors" found at other waterfronts - major uses that could help brand our waterfront and generate essential visitation. The list was short, once I eliminated uses committed to West Kowloon Cultural District (museums and performance venues) and uses that don't fit our circumstances, such as a stadium and a theme park.

I published a draft concept (at www.queenspier.com) that was principally anchored by the inner harbour and restaurant complexes that drive the benchmark waterfronts in Singapore, Sydney and Baltimore. A relocated and expanded maritime museum figured prominently in the concept.

So, what's wrong with relocating the Maritime Museum to Pier 8?

First, the scheme isn't sufficiently ambitious. The current museum collection, moved to Pier 8, might draw tourist traffic from the Star Ferry, but it is hard to imagine it attracting a large audience. Installing the existing collection would squander one of our few remaining anchor alternatives.

I toured the significant museums in Sydney and Baltimore and spoke to managers about the challenge of finding an audience in an age spoiled with entertainment choices.

At their suggestion, I replaced a maritime museum with a maritime centre that could include other elements aimed at broadening its appeal.

For example, my draft imagined a collection of docked ships (about which I interviewed Stephen Davies, director of the Hong Kong Maritime Museum). It illustrated one notion of the icon the building could become, by capping it with a must-see attraction - an enormous moving sculpture, formed from a working crane and shipping containers.

Second, the museum's relocation is premature. The government doesn't have a serious concept for the Central waterfront.

Worse yet, it has proceeded with filling in what could have been its strongest anchor (an inner harbour), crating off what could have been its signature element (Queen's Pier, set on that inner harbour), and leading with an act waterfront experts would universally condemn by introducing a major road.

Anchors have special design requirements.

They need to be planned and positioned so they achieve a critical mass that draws people to the waterfront, then, pulls them along it. So far, the government has conducted a piecemeal process that will yield a whole less than the sum of its meagre parts. Mrs Lam's letter closed with the word "vision". Stephen Davies and the museum would be well advised to wait until the government develops one.

Dick Groves, Wan Chai
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Old July 13th, 2010, 04:55 PM   #718
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Waterfront authority must listen to the people
5 July 2010
South China Morning Post

Hong Kong needs an independent statutory authority to protect the rights of the owners of the harbour and its waterfront - the people. Nothing less will break the impasse over community consensus on development. The new Harbourfront Commission falls short of that. But it is the best we have until the city gets truly representative government. It is important, therefore, that it is more effective than its predecessor.

The mission of the now-defunct Harbour-front Enhancement Committee was to give the people a bigger say in what happens to their most precious natural asset. In reality, it was little more than a public relations exercise to placate critics amid an outcry over the government's reclamation policies. It was never going to bring about a sea change in the development mindset.

If the committee served a purpose, it was to give more people a channel to voice their views. If it had a meaningful legacy, it was its recommendation that it be replaced with a commission that would have more authority to carry out its mission.

The composition and role of the newly announced commission holds out hope. Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor will be deputy chairwoman. Chairman Nicholas Brooke, a surveyor, businessman and member of the old committee, says this demonstrates the government's commitment to making things work better. If she can improve co-ordination between departments focused on their own agendas that will make a difference. Where she cannot, Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen will have the final say. That will be a test of the government's sincerity and resolve to strike a better balance between development and the people's rights.

Brooke says the commission will be proactive in the planning and execution of projects, instead of playing a follow-up role. It needs to be, because restoring the access and amenity of the rightful owners of the harbour involves negotiating a maze of vested, territorial and political obstacles. An unelected administration errs on the side of caution in balancing the interests of the people and the business community. The slow progress of the West Kowloon arts complex and development of the old Kai Tak site are cases in point.

The commission inherits 22 action areas already identified around Victoria Harbour. Brooke hopes it will draw up a five-year master plan which taps the flair of the private sector and encourages public-private partnership. That is a sensible approach. It can show that it means business by assuming oversight of development of a prime site in Central, between the IFC towers and the ferry wharves - the first waterfront land to be developed by public-private partnership.

It remains to be seen if the new body can forge a consensus that reconciles development with the public's expectations. Stakeholders in waterfront development are well represented. Officials, professionals, non-government organisations and developers account for 18 of the 26 seats on the commission. Eight unofficial members include two district councillors and an urban design expert, along with three younger members of leading tycoon families and a representative of hotel interests. And an accountant.

They must ensure that the people, too, have the ear of the government. It is therefore important, as Brooke has promised, that the commission consults the public at an early stage to ensure that design and management plans for waterfront sites meet expectations. That means listening as well.
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Old July 22nd, 2010, 06:12 PM   #719
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Museum move to Central site causes splash
The Standard
Thursday, July 22, 2010

The relocation of Hong Kong Maritime Museum to the new Central harborfront has drawn lively discussion in the first meeting of the Harbourfront Commission.

As the six-year lease of the Maritime Museum at Stanley's Murray House expires next month, the newly formed commission proposed to move it to Central Pier 8 where it will sit as "the home of Hong Kong's maritime heritage."

The city's only privately initiated large-scale museum, run by Hong Kong's international shipping and maritime community, has been beset by financial difficulties for years as the current revenue from ticket sales can only cover around 20 percent of the operating costs.

"If it is moved to Central, we expect to increase visitor flow to more than four to six times," a representative from the museum relocation project told the meeting.

The establishment of the Harbourfront Commission was recommended by the the former Harbourfront Enhancement Committee when it concluded six years of work in February 2010.

Members of new commission were appointed by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and comprise mostly non-official members from professional institutes, civic and environmental groups and the business sector.

Chairman Charles Nicholas Brooke said: "We will spare no effort to advise the government on all harborfront matters with the aim of delivering a world-class harborfront for public enjoyment."

The commission also recommended establishing three panels to work on the development approach of Site 4 in the new Central Harbourfront for commercial and leisure use, the construction of which is set to commence next year.

At the one-hectare site, to the north of the City Hall complex, the Planning Department has proposed to build three low-rise blocks - each with a height not exceeding 20 meters to harmonize with the waterfront setting.

"It's the first time for us to adopt the public- private partnership approach. I hope it will speed up the whole project," Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said. "I don't want to see it turned into another West Kowloon or Kai Tak site - which have been left empty for years."

Members also gave updates on the development progress at Kai Tak harborfront and released a study on Hong Kong Island East Harbourfront.
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Old July 29th, 2010, 05:42 PM   #720
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At last, real hope of a harbour for the people
24 July 2010
South China Morning Post

The Victoria Harbour shoreline is one of Hong Kong's great natural assets - or it should be. Yet public access for its enjoyment is limited. Where one would expect tree-lined promenades fringed by green and leafy parks, outdoor restaurants and cafes, art venues and museums are instead by ferry piers, roads, buildings and wasteland. But a hopeful bright spot has appeared: The government's new advisory body, which in its first meeting this week voiced the enthusiasm, common sense and energy that we've for so long needed to hear.

The Harbourfront Commission has the government's ear far better than its predecessor, the Harbour-front Enhancement Committee. Among its changed line-up are a diverse mix of community members, from the sons of tycoons to architects and an accountant. But it's the deputy chairwoman, Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who holds the key to achieving change where there was little before. Positive comments she made at the commission's first meeting this week, backed by its members promptly getting down to work, augur well.

Three panels have been set up, each to handle the 22 projects left undone by the committee. One will deal with the Hong Kong Island north shore, one with West Kowloon and the third, development of the greater Kai Tak area. The first job unveiled was a site in Central of just under one hectare north of the City Hall and the People's Liberation Army garrison headquarters. It's a small part of work centred on the creation of a promenade between the Star Ferry Pier and Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai, but how it evolves will be indicative of the commission's abilities, resolve and influence.

Lam gave cause for optimism. The government unveiled plans for the site that included three blocks of not more than 20 metres high surrounded by public open space with alfresco dining and green courtyards. Breaking with anticipated convention, the secretary said that while the project would have to be paid for by the developer, authorities were not interested in the highest bid; they instead were looking for an iconic design creating an environment that could be enjoyed by all people. Best of all, while she spoke of timetables and deadlines, she stressed the government's willingness to be flexible.

Government stubbornness long marked redevelopment of the Kai Tak airport site. Unlike for the West Kowloon arts district, public involvement has been minimal. But that changes with the creation of the commission, which has the power to give continuous feedback to the project's development office. The cruise ship terminal is set in stone and work has started on public housing on the site's northern boundary, but there is now flexibility on plans that include water sports facilities, a stadium and hospital.

There are considerable challenges in opening our harbourfront for public use. Government sections have a spotty record of communicating and co-operating with one another. The harbourside is lined with features that fall into the orbit of multiple bureaus, departments and agencies and more will be involved as projects take shape. Good ideas that the commission puts forward need not only Lam's backing, but require experienced and dedicated staff under her watch to ensure that they are correctly implemented.

The state of our harbourside proves that much work lies ahead. There's at least a glimmer of hope, though, with the commission.
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