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Old March 10th, 2013, 07:16 PM   #821
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 06:08 PM   #822
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Question day dawns on reclamation
The Standard
Thursday, March 21, 2013

Members of the public will start to be asked today for their views on various reclamation projects for housing.

The consultation exercise covers five coastal reclamation areas that could provide 600 hectares of land on which to build about 90,000 homes.

It is understood the authorities are particularly keen on sites at Siu Ho Wan and Sunny Bay on Lantau. Planning is already under way at both places.

The other sites are at Lung Kwu Tan, Ma Liu Shui and the southwestern part of Tsing Yi in a consultation exercise that will last for three months.

The reclamation of areas that win approval will likely start as early as 2016. In addition to the actual sites, the projects will require roads and bridges to connect them to existing facilities.

But experts say that even if all sites are approved they will do no more than meet land demands for two years.

It is reckoned Hong Kong needs 3,000 hectares over 10 years to meet housing demand, meaning about 300 hectares on average annually.

Sources also say that the east of Hong Kong is seen as a back garden with relatively little space for reclamation.

But with the the airport and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, opportunities for development on the western side are seen to be considerable.

Reclamation at Siu Ho Wan could offer 100 to 150 hectares of land for residential or university use.

Sunny Bay could provide a further 60 to 100 hectares. Since it is close to the airport, it would be suitable for commercial and entertainment projects.

But sources also say that some of the sites being eyed could cause environment-based controversies. On that, officials are working on limiting the impact on white dolphins.

In his January policy address, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said that to build up a land reserve "we will actively press ahead with reclamation outside Victoria Harbour while endeavoring to keep the impact on the environment and marine ecology to a minimum."

And in his budget speech, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah said he will allocate HK$4.5 billion over five years for land planning and design work.
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Old April 8th, 2013, 10:01 AM   #823
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Old April 13th, 2013, 06:22 PM   #824
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4/7 - Wan Chai

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Old April 22nd, 2013, 07:19 AM   #825
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Opponents of PLA site under attack
The Standard
Monday, April 22, 2013

The development minister has opened fire on those opposing a Central waterfront site designated for military use.

In his blog, Paul Chan Mo-po describes claims by the Society for the Protection of the Harbour as ridiculous.

The society wants the site earmarked for a People's Liberation Army dock to be open to the public.

Chan said the dock plans were clearly set out in 1994, and the public has accepted them.

"The public has every right to know the truth and not to be misled."

The Sino-British deal suggested the government should "leave free 150 meters of the eventual permanent waterfront in the plans for the Central and Wan Chai Reclamation ... for the construction of a military dock after 1997."

Chan said: "The SAR is taking responsibility to implement the treaty."

The PLA has promised to open the dock to the public when it is not in use.

The government need not sign any land grant or memorandum with the PLA, as it is governed by the Garrison Law.

Construction of the dock is entering the final stage and "will be what it looks like today."

There are four one-story buildings on the site to support operations.

The society recently criticized the government decision to hand over a 3,000-square-meter strip of the newly reclaimed Central harborfront to the PLA instead of opening it up to the public.

Government plans to rezone the site from "open space" to "military use" have angered concern groups who want an unobstructed, continuous promenade for public enjoyment.

Winston Chu Ka-sun, adviser and former chairman of the society, said he will go to court as a last resort if petitions are ignored.
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Old May 16th, 2013, 10:14 AM   #826
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Blog spells out need for land
The Standard
Tuesday, April 02, 2013

The development secretary said the government has no choice but to reclaim land if it is to solve a supply shortage.

In his blog, Paul Chan Mo-po said the reduction in the amount of reclamation in Victoria Harbour over the past 10 years is one reason why land is in such short supply.

A three-month public consultation began last month on reclaiming sites in Siu Ho Wan and Sunny Bay on Lantau Island, Lung Kwu Tan in Tuen Mun, Ma Liu Shui in Sha Tin and southwest Tsing Yi. It was projected that 90,000 homes could be built on 600 hectares of land at the sites.

"Apart from Victoria Harbour, the areas along the country and marine parks and sites that are high in conservation value, there are still many others that can be considered for reclamation," Chan wrote.

He stressed that it may take the government up to 10 years to convert a reclaimed site for use.

Although some potential sites have been identified, it will still take more than five years to conduct in-depth studies, including environmental impact assessments and design works, to prepare for the commencement of reclamation.

The government will then need to spend at least four or five years seeking funding from the Legislative Council, initiating tenders and launching the reclamation work.

"We have to map out a long-term plan in advance," said Chan, citing a Chinese proverb that it is not good to wait until one gets thirsty before digging a well.

Some critics claim the reclamation work may endanger the Chinese white dolphins, which are thought to be still active in Siu Ho Wan and Sunny Bay.

In his blog Chan said it is rare for the dolphins to appear in those areas proposed for reclamation.

This conclusion was based on government records of dolphin activities.
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Old June 26th, 2013, 09:18 AM   #827
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Old July 12th, 2013, 06:18 PM   #828
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PLA free to build on entire waterfront plot
The Standard
Monday, June 17, 2013

A senior government official claims a People's Liberation Army pier on the Central waterfront will be only one-story tall, but admits the military will be free to build additional structures.

Speaking at City Forum, Deputy Secretary for Development Thomas Chan Chung-ching said the pier is part of a military agreement in 1994.

The outline zoning plans in 2000 indicated that 150 meters of the coastline will be reserved for the PLA pier and the location was officially confirmed later.

He stressed the PLA has promised to open the area to the public when it is not in use.

"I have to explain that the construction of the pier will not affect the promise on public access," Chan said.

Albert Lai Kwong-tak of the Central Harbourfront Concern Group accused the government of handing over the waterfront to the PLA.

"The pier was listed in the outline zoning plans 13 years ago, but it was designated for military use only in February this year," Lai said.

Chan said the pier will cover about 220 square meters but admitted the military has the authority to use all 3,000 square meters assigned and the government has no right to intervene.

Separately, more than 200 conservationists marched from Wan Chai to the Central Government Offices and Legislative Council in Tamar to condemn the rush to reclaim land and farmland for residential development at the expense of the environment.

Some protesters carried dolphin-shaped balloons as they accused the government of destroying the habitat of Chinese white dolphins off Lantau Island.

Others beat small wooden houses with golf clubs, claiming the government has wrongly used land in the New Territories.

Central and Western Concern Group chairwoman Katty Law Ngar-ning said it should consider the resumption of land used for other purposes instead of kicking out those living in small villages.

Laurence Kwan said his family has lived in Nga Tsin Wai Tsuen in Wong Tai Sin, Kowloon, for more than 10 years only to be told to move out by May 22.

"We just want to preserve our home and live in peace," said Kwan, adding there are about 18 premises and families in the village.
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Old July 21st, 2013, 06:49 AM   #829
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Old August 14th, 2013, 10:30 AM   #830
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Old August 23rd, 2013, 07:50 PM   #831
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Wanchai
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Old August 27th, 2013, 08:05 PM   #832
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Old September 1st, 2013, 03:45 PM   #833
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Admiralty

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Old September 2nd, 2013, 06:14 PM   #834
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Government still has goal for world-class harbourfront
28 August 2013
South China Morning Post

I refer to the letter by Winston Chu, adviser of Society for Protection of the Harbour ("Government keeps breaking pledges on precious harbourfront", August 14).

The government is firmly committed to protecting and preserving Victoria Harbour.

We have also been making great strides in recent years to enhance the harbourfront.

The West Kowloon Cultural District is a 40-hectare waterfront site at the southern tip of the West Kowloon Reclamation. A total of about 22.8 hectares of open space was planned before the Chief Executive in Council ordered the review in 1999 for the development of a world-class integrated arts, cultural and entertainment district on the West Kowloon Reclamation.

In accordance with the latest approved West Kowloon Cultural District Development Plan, a total area of not less than 23 hectares of public open space shall be provided in the cultural district, including a city park, three hectares of piazza areas and a waterfront promenade not less than 20 metres in width. It has not shrunk.

Regarding the zoning amendment for the Central military dock site, the government has explained the background in various forums, including Legco, in the past few months.

The provision for and construction of the military dock arose from the Defence Land Agreement between the Chinese and the UK governments and has gone through many public consultation and engagement exercises over the years.

The present Central District (Extension) Outline Zoning Plan, first approved in 2000, has clearly marked the presence of the military dock at its present location subject to detailed design. The rezoning exercise under way is a technical amendment to amend the zoning in the outline zoning plan to reflect the final delineation and land use of the military dock.

The government has reiterated publicly the garrison's agreement that it would open the area of the military dock site to the public as part of the waterfront promenade when it is not in military use, having regard to its operation and the need for protecting the military dock. The military dock has been designed to integrate with the promenade.

This arrangement will accommodate the need to both provide the military dock for the garrison and provide the public with a waterfront promenade.

I would like to reassure Mr Chu and the public that the government will continue to work with the Harbourfront Commission and other stakeholders in creating a world-class harbourfront for public enjoyment.

Paul Chan, secretary for development
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Old September 19th, 2013, 06:59 PM   #835
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Wanchai - Sept. 7, 2013









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Old September 20th, 2013, 10:36 PM   #836
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I see grass!
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Old October 29th, 2013, 05:38 PM   #837
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Time limit set for military berth critics in public hearing
Anger as overwhelming response to plans to hand over public open space results in each person getting just 10 minutes to speak
29 October 2013
South China Morning Post

Critics of plans to rezone part of the Central harbourfront for military use will get only 10 minutes each to air their objections at a series of sessions meant to hear public views, town planners say.

The unofficial time limit has been set by the Town Planning Board to deal with nearly 10,000 people who have written in to oppose rezoning the open space where a berth for the People's Liberation Army is being built.

The requirement could trigger a legal challenge, said Society for Protection of the Harbour adviser Winston Chu Ka-sun. "The board should act reasonably and provide a fair hearing," he said yesterday.

Chu said he would not rule out launching a judicial review against the new requirement as he estimated he would need two hours to make his case. "The documents and my correspondence with government officials on this matter have piled up to more than a foot high. How can I explain everything in 10 minutes?"

Like many critics, it is not the creation of a PLA dock that is the problem, but the handing over of the rights to the 0.3 hectare strip of land from the public to the military.

On another front, the Central waterfront concern group - comprising 13 green groups and urban planning organisations - said they had asked the board to remove the time limit.

They also offered to help those who had submitted views but could not attend the hearings to record their submissions on video to be shown at the sessions.

The board invited views from the public in a two-month exercise that began in February and the hearings are expected to start next month. With more than 10 sessions slated, town planners may be looking at their longest series of hearings in history.

The Development Bureau said in May that construction of the berth was almost completed. The bureau emphasises that the army has pledged to open the promenade to the public when there are no military activities.

The explanation failed to allay public concerns as no schedule for opening times were given.

At the hearings, the board chairman may request a speaker not to repeat arguments already presented by others, according to guidance notes. There is no mention of a time limit.

But in a letter sent to a scheduled speaker last week, the board said each speaker would be allotted only 10 minutes "because of the large number of comments received". A representative authorised by three speakers would get 30 minutes to speak.

Albert Lai Kwong-tak, convenor of the policy committee at think tank Professional Commons, said the group had asked that the hearings be chaired by a non-official board member instead of the bureau's permanent secretary, Thomas Chow Tat-ming, to ensure fairness.

A planning board spokeswoman said the 10-minute arrangement was fair given everyone will get the same amount of time. She said the board would take account of all considerations before making any decision.
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Old November 6th, 2013, 05:21 AM   #838
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Top harbor activist quits in PLA pier row
The Standard
Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Activist Winston Chu Ka-sun has resigned as adviser to the Society for Protection of the Harbour, the group he founded 18 years ago.

Chu also announced he has retired from all public affairs.

His decision yesterday came seven hours after an acrimonious meeting of the Town Planning Board, during which the microphone of a lawmaker was turned off 10 minutes into his speech.

Chu said recent events, including a government plan to designate part of the Central waterfront for a People's Liberation Army military pier, have forced him to "leave the stage to wiser and better people" to fight for Hong Kong.

Earlier Chu, Civic Party lawmaker Kenneth Chan Ka-lok and several others protested at a decision by Town Planning Board chairman Thomas Chow Tat-ming decision to limit speeches to 10 minutes.

"Since joining the legal profession in 1960, I have spent my life contributing to the rule of law, promoting education and protecting the environment, especially Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour," Chu said.

"Unfortunately, recent events have forced upon me the conclusion that it will not be possible for me to make any further contribution to the public affairs of Hong Kong."

In the early 2000s, the society launched a lawsuit against government reclamation work for the Central-Wan Chai bypass.

In 2004, the Court of Final Appeal ruled in favor of the society, saying that any reclamation must satisfy the test of overriding public need and be supported by cogent and convincing materials.

Chu founded the society in 1995 and served as chairman until 2003, when he stepped down and became its adviser.

Chow, who is also permanent secretary for development, introduced the 10-minute limit at the public meeting to discuss the government plan to rezone an area of the harborfront for military use.

The board had received more than 19,000 written submissions, with nearly 1,000 people saying they would attend the meeting.

Chan and other activists walked out in protest after his microphone was switched off.
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Old November 7th, 2013, 04:47 PM   #839
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Old November 17th, 2013, 02:10 PM   #840
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Pressure over budgets aftercost blowout
Government's request for extra HK$7.9 billion in funding to build the Central-Wan Chai bypass leads to demands for better cost projection
16 November 2013
South China Morning Post

The government is facing increasing pressure to review its method of estimating the construction costs of public projects, as it urged lawmakers yesterday to approve an additional HK$7.9 billion in funding for the Central-Wan Chai bypass.

The extra funding is a 28 per cent increase from the originally budgeted HK$28.1 billion, estimated in 2009, to build the 4.5 kilometre dual three-lane road.

The bypass, of which 3.7 kilometres is a tunnel, will cut a 15-minute trip from Central to North Point to just five minutes.

Undersecretary for Transport and Housing Yau Shing-mu said the extra money was needed because of a significant underestimation of costs. His remark triggered lawmakers' comments that the government's method of projecting construction costs was in need of a review.

"This is a special case as the global economy was having a hard time in 2009," Yau told transport panel lawmakers. "The estimation was a difficult one."

Statistics showed the government assumed an annual cost increase of 2 per cent and 3 per cent over the period from 2009 to 2013 and 2014 to 2019, respectively. But the actual increases recorded in 2011 and last year were 5.9 per cent and 6.3 per cent.

Chief highways engineer Lawrence Ho Kai-ming said the deeper bedrock profile, which was not expected at the design stage, also added to costs.

Lawmakers expressed concern that the request for the additional funding would not be the last unless the government took steps to improve its cost estimation for such projects.

"The bureau should study if there is room to improve the formula for estimation," said Tony Tse Wai-chuen, who represents architects and surveyors. "We are talking about spending HK$80 billion a year on public projects. An 0.5 per cent increase would be an extra HK$400 million."

This is not the first time that the government has underestimated the cost of a project.

Last year, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor revealed that the cost of the arts hub's Xiqu Centre had more than doubled from HK$1.3 billion to HK$2.6 billion. In 2008, a surge in construction costs also forced the administration to seek an extra HK$2.8 billion from the Legislative Council to complete 35 major public works projects.

The University of Hong Kong's real estate and construction chair professor Chau Kwong-wing said the government should have foreseen the rise in labour and material costs as a result of the significant increase in public projects over a short period of time.

Hang Seng Management College's business professor Raymond So Wai-man said the government could introduce a more flexible pricing mechanism from the private sector, which estimates costs according to a project's characteristics.

"They can look at whether the project is labour-intensive, or which material would be used more, which will give a more precise projection," So said.

A Development Bureau spokeswoman declined to say whether it was reviewing its cost estimation method, but said the process was standard practice in the construction industry.
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