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Old August 5th, 2010, 06:05 PM   #721
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Kwun Tong waterfront by bbhh001 from a Hong Kong photography forum :

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Old August 19th, 2010, 09:02 PM   #722
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Advisers to study relocating IFC ventilation shafts for bypass
19 August 2010
South China Morning Post

Government advisers will consider whether bypass ventilation shafts planned for a site in front of Two IFC can be built elsewhere.

The location of the shafts, which would be enclosed in a building, has drawn resistance from the harbourfront advisers and from IFC's management - although the government is insisting on its original choice.

The harbourfront advisers - members of the Harbourfront Commission - say the structure would have visual and environmental impacts on the neighbourhood. But the government says moving it would delay the bypass and add to its cost.

The 18-metre-high smoke vent will occupy an area of 1,470 square metres in front of Two IFC. It will be one of three ventilation buildings along the 4.5-kilometre bypass, which will run underground along the reclaimed Central harbourfront and is due to open in 2017.

Nicholas Brooke, chairman of the commission, an advisory board made up of representatives from the private sector, NGOs and government departments, said the vents could be better positioned.

"There are many alternative locations ... it is more expensive [to move it] but we can do it. I think we should look at all the options," he said.

Paul Zimmerman, chief executive officer of Designing Hong Kong and member of the commission, said he was optimistic about relocation.

"If the commission agrees, I hope the government will not reject it," he said.

But a spokesman for the Transport Department said that having considered all the land available, environmental impacts, cost and disruption to the public, the current proposed location was the most suitable.

Designing Hong Kong has been one of the main opponents of the government's plan. It has proposed shifting the structure westwards towards a nearby flyover.

Karen Chang, spokeswoman for Designing Hong Kong, said the additional construction costs incurred by a relocation would be HK$70 million - 0.02 per cent of the total cost of the HK$28 billion bypass. It would increase the operating costs of the bypass by HK$48 per day, she said.

The management of IFC also has voiced concern about the possible impact of the building and has commissioned an urban design consultant to conduct a planning and visual impact study.

Alan Macdonald, director of Urbis, which conducted the study, said the visual impact of the structure would be unacceptable.

"From all the lower- level shops you simply will not be able to see past the vent building."

The Harbourfront Commission will discuss the issue at a meeting in mid-September.
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Old August 26th, 2010, 07:25 AM   #723
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Ventilation building will ruin Central harbourfront
25 August 2010
SCMP

Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor will no doubt agree that in all her travels to investigate the waterfronts of leading cities in the world - including London, Liverpool, Sydney, Vancouver, San Francisco and Singapore - there is no structure anywhere more hideous and obtrusive than the proposed massive ventilation building for the Central-Wan Chai Bypass at the Central harbourfront.

Until this matter was exposed by your newspaper in recent articles, the public was unaware that the Central harbourfront would be ruined by such a huge, horrendous structure.

It is typical of the callous and short-sighted approach that too many government departments have taken towards the harbour and harbourfront. Hence, the public constantly finds all kinds of ugly structures which completely ruin people's enjoyment of the harbour.

Perhaps the secretary for transport and the Highways Department are not aware of the public commitment announced by Mrs Lam that the Central harbourfront would be world-class with "a mixture of social, recreational, entertainment, arts and cultural activities, in addition to landscaped open spaces and promenades" ("Maritime Museum will be part of vibrant waterfront at Central", May 19).

The reasons given for their refusal to improve the design and to relocate this ventilation building do not stand up to scrutiny. Firstly, even if the improvement is slightly more expensive, such a big ugly building will stick out like a sore thumb and will forever destroy the scenic beauty of the Central harbourfront, which is priceless.

Secondly, the excuse that the improvement and relocation will cause delay does not make sense.

The construction of the second half of the tunnel under Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and North Point for the Central-Wan Chai Bypass has not even started. Reclamation works will only begin next year and it will take at least seven years for the whole tunnel to be completed.

Fifteen years ago, the then secretary for planning, Tony Eason, led a delegation from the Town Planning Board, including myself, to look at the town planning of Singapore. We learned a great deal. Perhaps the present secretary for planning should do the same so that those responsible for the town planning of Hong Kong today will see the imaginative and visionary approach that Singapore has adopted in designing its waterfront. It is putting Hong Kong to shame.

All officials and departments should support Mrs Lam's new visionary approach to the planning and design of Hong Kong's harbourfront. As the special administrative region's present political system does not provide any means for the general public to vent its frustrations by voting the government out, it is therefore essential for the present administration to demonstrate competence and a sense of responsibility to the people.

Winston K.S. Chu, adviser, Society for Protection of the Harbour
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Old September 5th, 2010, 07:27 PM   #724
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Mass dredging works raise fears for harbour
5 September 2010
SCMP

A host of big engineering projects due to start beneath the waters of Victoria Harbour this year and next have raised fears over what effects the collective dredging operation might have on marine life and water quality.

The seabed, from east to west, will undergo a massive transformation as various projects involving dredging start almost simultaneously. It is likely to be the biggest collection of such jobs since the early 1990s, when the so-called rose garden projects - the new airport and related road and rail links - saw vast land areas reclaimed from the sea.

While all the latest projects have been approved by the environmental watchdog, questions are being raised about why they are being allowed to start at about the same time and whether the effects on marine ecology and water quality have been properly assessed.

At least a dozen marine projects - including roads, ports, tunnels and submarine pipes - are due to start this year or next, and they will continue into 2012 and beyond. Together they will produce an estimated 40 million cubic metres of sediment - enough to fill 16,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools - that will have to be disposed of somewhere.

At least seven million cubic metres of this material is contaminated with heavy metals like silver, mercury, arsenic, copper and zinc released into the water and dropped to the seabed since the unregulated industrial boom of the 1960s and '70s. Individual sediment samples at the site of one project - a cross-harbour gas pipeline - was found to contain heavy metal levels up to eight times the maximum used by the Environmental Protection Department to decide if such sediment must be dumped in an isolated area.

A pollution scientist at City University, Dr Michael Lam Hon-wah, said toxins previously locked in the sediment might become active again during the dredging. "They might become biologically available again and enter the food chain, such as marine life eventually consumed by humans," he said, warning that it would be unwise to fish in the harbour during the work period.

Lam said the dredging activities, especially within the harbour, would undermine the recent success of the harbour sewage treatment scheme in cleaning up the water.

"Marine life has been returning to the harbour in recent years after efforts to divert raw sewage to the treatment plant. But all this dredging may turn the clock back."

The most recent job to seek a permit from the department proposes dredging the Kwai Chung container port basin two more metres to a depth of 17 metres to allow safe navigation of ultra-large container ships.

That project - covering a seabed area of 446 hectares and lasting for two years from the third quarter of next year - will generate up to 4.4 million cubic metres of spoil, including 2.6 million cubic metres contaminated with heavy metals such as copper and silver. The toxic mud will be dumped at confined undersea mud pits at East Sha Chau, off North Lantau or at the planned South Brothers Island facility.

The less toxic mud will be abandoned south of Cheung Chau and the Ninepins Islands.

A consultancy study commissioned by the Civil Engineering and Development Department concluded the impact on water quality and marine ecology was acceptable.

It also listed nine concurrent projects - all confirmed with tentative construction programmes overlapping with the port dredging - and said computer modelling concluded that the cumulative impact of these was also limited.

These parallel projects take place in different parts of Hong Kong's waters and some of them involve even larger dredging operations. Most of them already had their environmental impact assessment reports approved by the government.

About 16 kilometres away from the port, the boundary crossing of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge east of the airport will be four times larger than the Kwai Chung project in terms of dredging volume. The work will start in the third quarter this year.

It alone will produce 18 million cubic metres of unwanted sediment, on top of the combined 10 million cubic metres from the connecting road link of the bridge and the related Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link.

The Wan Chai Development Phase II will start in 2011 and produce 1.15 million cubic metres of sediment. In 2011, dredging for the cruise terminal in Kai Tak will also start, generating 1.38 million cubic metres of sediment. Other works within the harbour requiring dredging include a submarine gas pipeline to be laid by Towngas from To Kwa Wan to North Point, which will require removal of 260,000 cubic metres of sediment.

Alan Leung Sze-lun, conservation manager of WWF Hong Kong, said he wanted each of these marine projects properly monitored to ensure they met the environmental outcomes forecast in the respective environmental impact assessment reports.

"There also needs to be a clear contingency plan for each project for what should be done if there are breaches in water quality objectives and there has to be some kind of co-ordination when something unpredictable and bad for the environment happens," he said.

Leung said there should have been a strategic impact assessment of the cumulative impact of all the projects and an acceptable work schedule should have been worked out before construction started.

Under the current Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance, the cumulative impact of concurrent works - which might have a bearing on the environmental acceptability of a particular project - will have to be gauged. But there seem to be no clear guidelines on how to identify those concurrent projects, such as whether it is by distance or scale.

For instance, the Kwai Chung port project takes into account concurrent projects as far as the cross-Pearl River Estuary bridge, but does not explain why it did not include the closer cruise terminal dredging at Kai Tak.

Sometimes, the dredging of a project considered in an impact study of another project might not happen as planned, making it even harder to predict the outcomes.

The dredging work for an undersea water mains between West Kowloon and Sai Ying Pun that involves disposing of over 500,000 cubic metres of mud started this year, instead of early last year as planned.

The massive dredging works are also expected to overload local marine dumping grounds for toxic mud. The undersea mud pits at East Sha Chau are likely to be filled by 2012, three years earlier than scheduled. Given the vast quantity of less toxic mud suitable for open-sea disposal, some of it might also have to be dumped in mainland waters.

Leung Mei-yee, an assistant professor from the ecology and biodiversity department at the University of Hong Kong, said there was no need to panic about the marine works, which were not the worst the city had seen.

"This isn't the worse scenario. The harbour area used to be in a much worse shape during the construction of the airport and its related works in the mid and late '90s, when dredgers could be seen all around working," he said. The new airport project involved at least 184 million cubic metres of mud dredged from the seabed.

Leung said there had been great advances in dredging technology, such as the use of silt curtains, and improvement in works management, such as controlling the dredging rate, that could significantly reduce the impact on the sea.

He said controlling the number of concurrent projects was unrealistic as it might increase the building cost and duration of such works that could not be avoided anyway.

While he admitted that it was inevitable that some pollutants might be stirred up from the sea and spread out in the waters, he said an environmental cost sometimes had to be paid for development. "There is a sacrifice one has to make unless we don't want any development at all."

An environment department spokesman said the environmental impact assessment and monitoring system was in place to ensure the cumulative impact was within an acceptable range. "Only when the assessed cumulative water quality levels are in compliance with relevant water quality objectives ... will the environmental impact assessment reports for dredging works be approved," he said.
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Old September 15th, 2010, 08:53 PM   #725
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We can't afford another disaster in the harbour
13 September 2010
South China Morning Post

The government is committed to minimising the environmental impact of dredging and reclamation works. That's what it pledged eight years ago after excessive toxic mud was removed during construction of Disneyland at Penny's Bay, resulting in environmental damage that led to hundreds of millions of dollars in clean-up costs and compensation. At least 200 times as much dangerous sediment will be removed by major engineering projects starting soon in Victoria Harbour. Assurances have been made that every measure is in place to protect marine life and water quality, but authorities would do well to revisit past mistakes to prevent another catastrophe.

Our harbour is, after all, Hong Kong's most important asset. Despite that, we've got an appalling record of taking care of it. Sewage, industrial waste, shipping and oil and chemical spills in a mere three decades turned its waters into an almost lifeless toxic brew. Reclamation shrunk its width, reshaping it from a majestic waterway with intricate bays and inlets to a straight-sided channel. Only now, with sewage treatment schemes well advanced and environmental protection rules in place, are fish of any size returning. The harbour protection ordinance and a court ruling against the government have made plain that no more land will be reclaimed. Water that was once green and hazardous is clearing up. Those who thought the cross-harbour swimming contests held until the early 1960s were a thing of the past may yet be proven wrong.

But the scale of upcoming infrastructure projects raises questions about whether such progress can be maintained. There are at least a dozen either already under way or planned to start in coming months or next year. Many of them will be in progress at the same time. They will have a massive impact on the harbour, with an estimated 40 million cubic metres of sediment being dredged out to make way for works ranging from tunnels to bridges.

Some have been long planned, others more recently announced. Among them is the bridge to Zhuhai and Macau and the cruise liner terminal at Kai Tak. Most recently, there's been a proposal to deepen the basin at the Kwai Chung container port by two metres to allow for bigger ships. When all are under way, it will be the most dredging work in the harbour at the same time for two decades.

Harbour traffic will increase, waters will be muddied and sealife sent scurrying. Heavy metals and other toxins on the seabed and in the sediment will be disturbed, creating a fresh environmental hazard. To be sure, much of this can't be avoided. Development always has an environmental cost. What authorities have to ensure is that it is minimised as much as possible. Impact assessments have to be thorough and every effort made to eliminate risks.

With at least seven million cubic metres of toxic-laden sediment being moved, that will be a massive undertaking. Just 30,000 cubic metres was excavated from the Choy Lee Shipyard at Penny's Bay and its improper handling led to the deaths of 189,000 fish in two farms and perhaps six million in open waters. Farmers were paid HK$5.78 million in compensation and an extra HK$428 million more than was anticipated was needed for clean-up work. This was a single project in a confined area; those planned cover all parts of the harbour and many will be in progress at the same time.

Attitudes for harbour preservation have never been stronger. Given the many concurrent projects, co-ordinated monitoring is essential. Clear contingency plans to prevent breaches of rules have to be in place. We can't afford another disaster.
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Old September 16th, 2010, 04:31 PM   #726
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That is why a harbor authority is really needed to protect "Hong Kong's most important asset."
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Old September 21st, 2010, 01:00 PM   #727
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Contracts signed for Central-Wan Chai Bypass - Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter Tunnel Section and Central Interchange
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Government Press Release

The Highways Department today (September 21) signed two contracts with a total cost of about $6.65 billion for the Central-Wan Chai Bypass (CWB) project.

Of the two contracts, the one signed with China State Construction Engineering (HK) Limited is worth about $5.38 billion. The works mainly comprise the construction of a 750-metre-long tunnel under the seabed between the ex-Wan Chai Public Cargo Working Area and the east breakwater of Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter, which forms part of the 1.1- kilometre-long tunnel of the CWB project.

The other contract signed with Leighton Contractors (Asia) Limited is worth about $1.27 billion. The works mainly include the construction of a 220-metre-long road tunnel, the western tunnel portal and the interchange with the approach roads between Rumsey Street flyover and Man Yiu Street in Central.

Speaking at the contract signing ceremony, the Director of Highways, Mr Lau Ka-keung, said that the awarding of the two contracts marked an important milestone for the CWB project.

"Upon commissioning of the CWB in 2017, the travelling time between Central and the Island Eastern Corridor (IEC) at North Point will be reduced to only five minutes. It will relieve the traffic congestion problem along Connaught Road Central, Harcourt Road and Gloucester Road," said Mr Lau.

"Both contracts will each take about 64 months to complete and will totally create more than 1,900 job opportunities. The CWB project as a whole will create about 6,400 job opportunities for the local construction industry.

"Throughout the project development, the Highways Department has exercised its best efforts to protect the harbour and minimise the temporary reclamation in compliance with the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance. Regarding the tunnel contract in Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter, merit has been given to tenders which could provide further reduction in reclamation in terms of area and/or duration. The winning contractor has proposed a solution to significantly reduce the duration of temporary reclamation compared with that required. This will further minimise the disturbance to the harbour and enable an earlier restoration of the harbour for public enjoyment."

The CWB project is a 4.5-kilometre-long dual three trunk road including a 3.7-kilometre-long road tunnel to link Central to the IEC at North Point via Wan Chai and Causeway Bay.
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 06:09 PM   #728
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Like this photo.
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 08:46 AM   #729
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Memory chimes from the waterfront
The Standard
Wednesday, November 03, 2010

There are always some things you simply can't remember even if they were around when you were a youngster. You might find it hard to believe something ever existed.

A good example is the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront. Today, we have the Cultural Centre, the Art and Space museums, open spaces and a walkway with a classic view of Hong Kong Island.

More recently, the Avenue of Stars opened in the area to pay homage to local performers.

Go back a few decades and the area between Salisbury Road and the harbor was covered in rail tracks. The Kowloon-Canton Railway had its terminus right there, just next to the Star Ferry. Many passengers arriving at the station in colonial times would have crossed straight over the road to the Peninsula Hotel, maybe after long trips from London via Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Beijing and Guangzhou.

It was early in the 1970s that the government decided to move the station up the track to Hung Hom. That freed up the area for the museums and the shopping centers of Tsim Sha Tsui East. The station's clock tower was kept, but the bell was removed and went on display at KCR company premises.

Just a few months ago, I witnessed the handing over of the bell from the rail company to the government. It is too heavy to be lifted into place inside the tower, but it is back where it belongs. It makes the tower more complete as a monument - even if it's hard to believe it was part of a bustling railway station.

Bernard Charnwut Chan, chairman of the Antiquities Advisory Board, sees culture from all perspectives.
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Old November 8th, 2010, 07:22 PM   #730
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Leap of faith required to revive harbor swim race
The Standard
Monday, November 08, 2010







Now that the yuck factor is fading, some people want to revive the long-shelved cross-harbor swimming race next year.

The Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Association has submitted an application to stage the once-famous event, which was held for 60 years from 1912 before it was scrapped after the 1978 race because of heavy pollution in Victoria Harbour.

It's planning a 2,000-meter race, from Hung Hom to North Point, and some 600 to 800 swimmers, all members of the association, could be expected to participate.

Just three years ago, some people thought it still wasn't safe to go into the water.

They're the men behind The Dark Knight who reportedly dropped a scene involving Batman jumping into the harbor.

Now, however, the association says the government has achieved impressive results in treating the water.

But it will still play it safe - participants will wear global positioning system wristbands and the competition will be held during high tide when the water will be cleaner.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 05:30 PM   #731
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Leighton rides infrastructure boom
12 November 2010
The Australian

The giant Australian construction firm made a `visionary decision' -- and found it pays to call Hong Kong home

ONE of the oldest Australian companies in Hong Kong, Leighton Holdings, is riding high on the infrastructure boom in the city, with the economy being driven by China's strong economic growth.

Its subsidiary, Leighton Asia, which has been operating from its base in Hong Kong for 35 years, now has about $8 billion worth of work under way in the city.

These include the massive Wanchai bypass and harbour reclamation project, a $420 million contract for work on a high-speed rail line to Guangzhou, construction of the $250m North Lantau hospital near the airport, which began this year, and a $200m contract for a drainage tunnel to help reduce flooding in low-lying areas of West Kowloon.

The company is also working on a $410m sewage tunnelling system on Hong Kong island, a new $660m sludge treatment facility in the western part of the New Territories, and it has just finished a $135m contract to redevelop the famous Ocean Park theme park.

``Right now in Hong Kong, we have more work on and more staff than we have ever had in our history here -- and record levels of profit,'' says Leighton Asia's managing director, Hamish Tyrwhitt.

``We are benefiting from the incredible growth of China, which is overflowing its borders.''

Hong Kong is the gateway to China, he says.

``The increasing population in Hong Kong is putting strains on the infrastructure, which is requiring new projects.''

Tyrwhitt says there was massive investment in infrastructure in Hong Kong in the lead-up to the handover of the former British colony to the Chinese in 1997, including the construction of the new airport on Lantau Island.

``Things did slow down for a while, but Hong Kong is now playing catch-up,'' he says.

The special administration region is in the middle of another wave of infrastructure investments, which is highly attractive for Leighton, whose long history in Hong Kong means it is now regarded as a local company, which is important in getting government business.

``We operate here as a Hong Kong-licensed contractor,'' Tyrwhitt says.

``We're not seen as a foreign company, we're seen as an international company with extensive local knowledge.''

Hong Kong is the head office for Leighton Asia, which employs about 8500 people in the region.

The company has about 1500 staff based in the city working on its Hong Kong projects, and another 50 people who are running the head office of Leighton Asia, making it the largest single concentration of staff in the region.

``A third of our Asian business is in Hong Kong,'' says Tyrwhitt, who says many of the Asian construction companies that had been operating in the city have now gone home.

Leighton Asia's biggest job in Hong Kong began in 2004 and is still continuing. It was a major reclamation project of 18 hectares of land from Hong Kong harbour, in which the famous Star Ferry terminal on the Hong Kong side was moved closer towards the Kowloon side.

The project is aimed at land reclamation, and putting the highways that run along the front of Hong Kong island underground. The work has included building a dual three-lane road tunnel, a heliport, new ferry piers, a new sea-wall and a rail overrun tunnel.

The company has since won two extensions of the contract, under which the reclamation work and underground highways have been extended along the harbour to Wanchai.

``We won the original contract and have since won two more contracts to build on the original work,'' Tyrwhitt says.

``It is the largest civil contracting job ever undertaken by us in Hong Kong.''

Tyrwhitt says the company is now eying future work for the Hong Kong metro rail system, the MTR, as it extends its lines around Hong Kong island and on the Kowloon side.

Leighton Asia is also looking at work on the third runway at Hong Kong airport, which has been announced by the government.

But the big prize could be work on the $8bn 50km bridge from Hong Kong across the water to Macau and Zhuhai.

Planning for the bridge is well under way and contracts for segments of the project are expected to go out to tender next year, with the massive bridge expected to be open by 2016.

Leighton uses Hong Kong as a base to oversee its construction operations in many Asian countries, ranging from Thailand and Vietnam to The Philippines and Laos and Macau, where the company has already constructed two of the city's giant new casinos, including the City of Dreams hotel-casino project, which is part-owned by James Packer's Crown group.

Leighton's latest substantial expansion, overseen by the Hong Kong office, has been into Mongolia, which is opening up as a major mining and resources country.

The Leighton board regularly meets in Hong Kong.

Tyrwhitt says Hong Kong has proved to be a highly efficient base for the company's Asian operations, with its well-connected airport and transport facilities, access to North Asia, its British-based legal system and access to international support such as banking, legal and accounting systems.

``The decision made to set up in Hong Kong was a visionary decision,'' says Tyrwhitt.

``And when you look at its importance as an access point to China, you would have to say it was exceptionally visionary.

``If we were asked to pick a base in Asia, we would still make the same decision today as the one we made 35 years ago.

``The city is humming and alive at the moment.''
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Old November 18th, 2010, 07:48 PM   #732
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700 turn out to protect harbour
15 November 2010
SCMP

About 700 harbour conservationists staged a protest march in Central yesterday to warn the public not to drop its guard against further reclamation by the government to build high-rise buildings on the waterfront.

Led by a parade band, the protesters walked more than 2km from the new Star Ferry pier in Central to Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai, where they concluded with a fun fair. It was the fifth annual "Walk for the Harbour" organised by the Society for Protection of the Harbour, which was set up in 1995 to fight reclamation of Victoria Harbour, and which has blocked government reclamation projects several times.

The march was supposed to follow the Central waterfront, but protesters were unable to see the waterfront because much of it is still a construction site, with hoardings blocking views of the harbour.

Society chairwoman Christine Loh Kung-wai said: "Although the government has stopped reclaiming our harbour, our work is not over. We hope to convey the message of anti-reclamation, and arouse public awareness of the issue.

"We should continue closely monitoring the government to make sure the new waterfront will be used by the public and not be sold for developers to build high-rise buildings," said Loh, who sponsored the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance when she was a legislator in the pre-handover era.

The society said it was excited by yesterday's turnout.

Among those taking part in the march were Democratic Party legislator Lee Wing-tat, anti-reclamation activist and Southern district councillor Paul Zimmerman of the Civic Party, and the chairman of the government-appointed Harbourfront Commission, Nicholas Brooke.

Controversy arose recently after the government hinted that traffic congestion in Central was partly due to the delay in building the Central-Wan Chai bypass due to a series of court actions taken by the society.

A public consultation is under way on means to improve traffic flow among the three harbour tunnels. But officials have said there is little the Western Harbour Tunnel can contribute at this stage because the existing road network outside the tunnel cannot take more traffic, despite the tunnel operating at only a quarter of its capacity.

More measures could be considered after the Central-Wan Chai bypass opens in 2017.

Loh argued yesterday that the society should not be blamed for the congestion, and rejected suggestions that it should be as "nonsense".

The society has said it challenges government reclamation because it is against the law and that the delay in building the bypass is due to government reluctance to obey the law.

In his policy address last month, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen revealed plans for reclamation outside Victoria Harbour to generate more land for housing.

Loh said that while the harbour protection law could not limit reclamation outside the harbour, she believed people's awareness of the impact of reclamation on the environment had risen a lot. "People will still ask questions and the government will also have to explain clearly why such reclamation is needed."
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 11:44 AM   #733
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Bypass won't match tunnel's capacity
Western harbour crossing will only run at 75pc capacity because of limit of new road

10 November 2010
South China Morning Post

The underused Western Harbour Tunnel will be able to operate at only 75 per cent capacity even after the Central-Wan Chai Bypass opens, lawmakers heard yesterday. That's because the capacity of the bypass to take traffic from the tunnel to Causeway Bay and North Point is smaller than that of the tunnel.

Officials say congestion for drivers using the Cross-Harbour Tunnel will only ease in 2017, when the bypass opens and the government takes back the Eastern Harbour Tunnel from its private-sector operator.

Even then, the good days might not last for long, Liberal Party lawmaker Miriam Lau Kin-yee said at a meeting of the Legislative Council's transport panel.

"Even with the Central-Wan Chai Bypass, the Western Harbour Tunnel will become congested again when its daily traffic hits 90,000 trips, but it has a capacity of 120,000 trips per day; does that mean the tunnel will never be fully utilised?" she asked.

David To Kam-biu, the Transport Department's assistant commissioner for planning, said it was normal for different sections of a route to have different capacities.

"We can't build a road with two and a half lanes, it must always be a whole number in transport planning, so there will be bottlenecks in some road sections," he said.

A consultancy firm advised the government last week to increase tolls for the Cross-Harbour Tunnel and to subsidise the Eastern Harbour Tunnel's operator so it could offer a toll cut to lure traffic from the former.

But the firm did not recommend the same strategy for the western tunnel, which carries only 51,000 vehicles a day, because the road network linked to it could not take more cars.

Under the plan, cars and taxis would pay HK$25 to use the Cross-Harbour Tunnel and HK$20 for the eastern tunnel.

But lawmakers questioned the feasibility of the plan yesterday.

"Will truck drivers really opt for a tunnel farther from their destination just to save HK$5; the fuel cost they spend on the extra distance would be far greater," Lau said.

Economic Synergy lawmaker Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung asked what the government would do if the eastern tunnel's operator did not agree to cut tolls. Other lawmakers repeated calls for the government to buy back the two privately owned tunnels.

Transport minister Eva Cheng said the eastern tunnel's operator was open to the government's suggestion. "I think they are open to any suggestion that could raise the traffic flow for their tunnel," she said.

The government would only consider buying back the Western Harbour Tunnel after 2017, she said, and she expected it would be very difficult to reach agreement with the operator on a price. The franchise to operate the tunnel expires in 2023.

The government will come up with a proposal after a three-month public consultation ends in February.
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Old December 16th, 2010, 12:21 PM   #734
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Another sad reminder of our harbour's plight
7 December 2010
South China Morning Post

Last Thursday, office workers and residents of the many skyscrapers overlooking the harbour and commuters with a view of the waterway might have been somewhat disconcerted to see what appeared to be a barge sinking in the middle of the harbour. Some even called the police. As it turned out, the semi-submersion of a 121-metre long vessel was a deliberate procedure to off-load materials for the construction of an "underwater sea wall" which will form part of the engineering process for the construction of the Central Wan Chai Bypass.

The vessel has to remain there for more than 10 days to complete the process. An 800-metre-long sea wall is being built for what is supposed to be temporary reclamation work to facilitate the construction of the bypass, scheduled for 2017. Clearly there was no need for alarm but it was yet another disturbing reminder that Hong Kong's defining natural asset remains under assault after many years of reclamation have remodeled the shoreline and squeezed the harbour to half its original size.

The sinking vessel brought to the surface concerns that there must be some limit to the change we inflict on an anchorage that in some way has become a measure of our overall record of respect for the environment.

Infuriatingly, the Hong Kong side of the harbour is already an eyesore. Most visitors from abroad cannot comprehend how such a spectacular landscape can only best be viewed from inside a vehicle travelling along a motorway and how it is almost impossible to walk along the waterfront on the Hong Kong side.

In 2004, then Chief Justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang penned what was then hailed as the first leading judgment on sustainable development to support the law protecting the harbour from reclamation. It was also a quasi-elegy for the natural beauty we had already irrevocably destroyed: "It is at the heart of the metropolis both physically and metaphorically ... There must be protection, that is, it must be kept from harm, defended and guarded," he wrote. We should not forget the urgency of those words.
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Old December 19th, 2010, 08:18 AM   #735
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im Zephaniah no Nic or wilgles. I deliver this message for him. Don't mess with the some of the most powerful people on the internet. Have fun.
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Old December 19th, 2010, 11:09 AM   #736
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If they keep reclaiming land from Victoria Harbour, there will be no more Victoria Harbour. Enough already.
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Old December 25th, 2010, 04:07 PM   #737
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Planned projects on both sides of harbour ensure congestion
29 November 2010
SCMP

I refer to the letter from George Vasilopoulos ("Tunnel toll cuts must not pander to rich in HK", November 20) which expressed concern over my proposal for a Western Harbour Tunnel toll reduction and its impact on the traffic in Kowloon ("Government should experiment with same toll for three tunnels", November 16).

Equalising the toll between the three cross-harbour tunnels will not only help to balance cross-harbour traffic on the Hong Kong side but also cross-harbour traffic in Kowloon. It will also relieve the congestion at the Kowloon end of the Cross-Harbour Tunnel, which charges the cheapest toll.

Furthermore, vehicles travelling from Kowloon to Aberdeen, Wah Fu Estate, Cyberport, Pok Fu Lam, Kennedy Town and Western district can then use the western tunnel instead of the Cross-Harbour Tunnel. Accordingly such vehicles will not have to go through Wan Chai and Central, where they are causing the present traffic jams.

Therefore, the traffic flow in both Kowloon and Hong Kong Island should benefit from my proposal. The real problem for Kowloon is the government's proposal for extensive commercial and housing developments on the West Kowloon reclamation. This project will attract more traffic to the harbourfront, and aggravate traffic congestion. Although the project is called West Kowloon Cultural District, it is in danger of becoming just another Cyberport and may become in substance another property development project instead of a genuine cultural district for the benefit of the community and public enjoyment.

It should be kept as green and open as possible, bearing in mind that the original justification for this reclamation given to the then town planning board was to create the largest public park (40 hectares) in Kowloon. It was never intended for property development.

A similar problem exists on the Hong Kong Island side. The sale for property development of the land on the now completed Central reclamation, the commercial development of Government Hill in Central and the construction of phase three of the Convention Centre in Wan Chai proposed by the government will also worsen the present congestion.

These proposals will defeat the purpose of the Central-Wan Chai bypass, as the original justification of the Central and Wan Chai reclamations given to the then town planning board was to build the bypass to relieve traffic congestion.

Hong Kong people must face these problems before it is too late. I shall be interested to receive any useful and constructive suggestion of an alternative solution. If such a suggestion is not forthcoming, perhaps my proposals for equalising the tolls between the three cross-harbour tunnels and stopping all further non-essential and/or private developments on both sides of the harbourfront should be given due consideration by the government.

Winston K. S. Chu, adviser, Society for Protection of the Harbour
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Old January 19th, 2011, 04:49 AM   #738
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Contract signed for Central -Wan Chai Bypass Tunnel (North Point Section) and Island Eastern Corridor Link
Government Press Release

The Highways Department today (January 18) signed a $4,020 million contract with Chun Wo–CRGL–MBEC Joint Venture for the Central-Wan Chai Bypass (CWB) project.

This contract mainly includes the construction of a 300-metre-long tunnel at North Point and an approach road to the tunnel, modification of the section of Island Eastern Corridor (IEC) between Hing Fat Street and Po Leung Kuk Yu Lee Mo Fan Memorial School as well as the junction of Victoria Park Road and Hing Fat Street, and the demolition of Rumsey Street Flyover eastbound down ramp in Central. The contract also covers associated works, such as landscaped deck, noise barriers, noise semi-enclosures, road drainage and landscaping works.

It is expected that the construction work will take about 90 months to complete and will create more than 800 job opportunities. The CWB project will create over 6,400 job opportunities for the local construction industry as a whole.

The Director of Highways, Mr Lau Ka-keung, said at the contract signing ceremony that the travelling time between Central and the IEC at North Point will be greatly reduced to only five minutes upon commissioning of the CWB in 2017. Traffic congestion problems along Connaught Road Central, Harcourt Road and Gloucester Road will also be relieved. With the completion of the landscaped deck and noise semi-enclosures over the approach road and the reconstructed IEC, the environment of the adjacent area will also be improved.

The CWB project is a 4.5km-long dual three trunk road including a 3.7km-long road tunnel linking Rumsey Street Flyover in Central to the IEC at North Point.
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Old February 1st, 2011, 12:03 PM   #739
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Core construction of Central-Wan Chai Bypass project now in full swing
26 January 2011
Government Press Release



The Ground Breaking Ceremony for the Central-Wan Chai Bypass (CWB) - Tunnel (Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter Section) was held today (January 26), signifying that the core construction of the CWB Project is now in full swing.

The CWB is a 4.5km long dual three expressway, with 3.7km being road tunnel, connecting Central and North Point via Wan Chai and Causeway Bay. Upon its commissioning, the travelling time between Central and North Point will be significantly reduced to five minutes. The CWB will also enhance the capacity of the connecting road networks of the Western Harbour Tunnel. The overall efficiency of the traffic network in Hong Kong will thus be improved.

"The successful commencement of CWB - Tunnel (Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter Section) is a clear testimony that with the spirit of mutual understanding, different stakeholders in the community are willing to be accommodating and contribute to the overall interest of Hong Kong," the Under Secretary for Transport and Housing, Mr Yau Shing-mu said in his speech when he officiated at the Ground Breaking Ceremony.

"While we will continue to press ahead with the Project full steam, we will maintain close liaison with the stakeholders to strive for completing the Project in 2017 as scheduled, so as to enable early improvement to the traffic condition along the north shore of Hong Kong Island."

The contract sum of the CWB - Tunnel (Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter Section) is about $5.4 billion. The works mainly comprise the construction of a 750-metre section of the CWB tunnel between the ex-Wan Chai Public Cargo Working Area and the east breakwater of the Typhoon Shelter.

To facilitate the tunnel construction works, the first stage of the relocation of boaters of the typhoon shelter had been completed successfully.

The Government will continue to maintain close liaison with the stakeholders and to implement effective mitigation measures so as to reduce the impact of the construction on the public to a minimum. For this, the Government has set up a community liaison centre and formed community liaison groups with stakeholders' participation, so as to address the public's concerns on the construction promptly.

Other key officiating guests at today's ceremony were the Chairman of Legislative Council Public Works Subcommittee, Dr Raymond Ho; Deputy Director of Economic Affairs Department, Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Mr Sun Wen Xiu; Director of Highways, Mr Lau Ka-keung; the Chairlady of Eastern District Council, Ms Ting Yuk-chee; the Chairman of Wan Chai District Council, Mr Suen Kai-cheong; the Project Manager/Major Works of Highways Department, Mr Mak Wai-pui; and the representatives of the Contractor, China State Construction Engineering (HK) Ltd. and the Consultant, AECOM.
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Old February 11th, 2011, 08:30 AM   #740
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Cycling the path to a vibrant harbourfront
11 February 2011
SCMP

Victoria Harbour has more than 50 kilometres of shoreline, yet many of us only see the water's edge when we board a ferry. Vast tracts of our waterfront are inaccessible, derelict, underused or misused.

There is agreement to develop these areas to provide enjoyable harbourside access for all.

Amid extensive land reclamation for the new Central-Wan Chai bypass, designs for this area offer large piazzas, with al fresco dining and with plenty of "vibrancy". This is the image that many of us have of the new harbourfront.

The government has committed to a continuous waterfront on both sides of the harbour. But surely we are not going to build 50 kilometres of piazzas?

The local plans for the Wan Chai-Central area and various sites in Eastern District all assume that people will arrive from inland, often quite a walk from existing transport networks. This would concentrate arrivals at a few relatively accessible locations, which would probably be intensively managed.

To truly open up the Hong Kong Island harbourfront - all of it - people have to be able to get to it easily.

A cycle path along the 13.5 kilometre island coastline would provide that connectivity. Many locations are otherwise hard to get to, hidden behind tunnel entrances, roads and fixed developments.

But, by bike, it is easy to reach these out-of-the-way places, rendering them useful and creating a harbourfront that has its own character and an independent existence. Fortunately, the northern shore of Hong Kong Island has very little development or private usage that would impede a continuous harbourfront cycle/pedestrian path, once the road construction is complete.

With easy movement along its length and vastly more locations for the public to use and enjoy, the path would spawn countless diverse activities, especially non-commercial ones, such as choir practice at dusk, candle-light picnics, fishing, treasure hunts, an annual office dinner by bike to a new seafood restaurant, canoe clubs, craft goods sales, a sponsored hop along the waterfront - the list is endless. Real vibrancy comes through the unpredictable efforts of others.

Of course, a continuous and connected cycle path would be a fantastic feature in its own right, as can be seen in so many other cities that have acted to encourage cycling.

The path would be popular for getting across Hong Kong Island quickly and safely, handy for getting to the ferries, perfect for peacefully enjoying the harbour, and an excellent way to encourage more people to cycle.

It would also attract tourists, improve our health, lower pollution (air and noise) and help strengthen the contribution that cycling makes to Hong Kong.

Tomorrow morning, hundreds of regular and occasional cyclists will ride together from Kennedy Town to Shau Kei Wan, calling for a continuous harbourfront cycle path on Hong Kong Island. Everyone is welcome.

Martin Turner is chairman of the Hong Kong Cycling Alliance.
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