Revitalisation of Tsui Ping River – breathing new life into our flood prevention facilities
Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland and the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. I am honoured to be appointed as the Secretary for Development (SDEV). In the days to come, I will do my very best to lead and unite some 20 000 colleagues of the nine departments under the Development Bureau (DEVB) to strive to build a better Hong Kong. The DEVB will, as in the past, continue to make earnest efforts to develop Hong Kong into an international metropolis for living and work and to increase its competitiveness. We will not only facilitate economic development, but also proactively respond to public aspirations. Building on the work of Mr Paul Chan and Mr Eric Ma, the two former SDEVs from the previous Government, I will continue to introduce our policies and explain our initiatives through “My Blog”. Here, I would like to first introduce the Revitalisation of Tsui Ping River project.
In recent years, the Government has been dedicated to turning Kowloon East into a Green Core Business District. In 2012, the DEVB proposed the Energizing Kowloon East Conceptual Master Plan and put forward the concept of transforming the King Yip Street nullah in Kwun Tong into Tsui Ping River. It aims to convert the existing nullah into a unique river with environmental, ecological and landscaping upgrading works without compromising its stormwater drainage function and capacity. The Drainage Services Department (DSD) is currently studying the integration of Tsui Ping River with the Tsui Ping River Garden under construction, and linking them with the nearby pedestrian network so as to create synergy and enable the public to enjoy an accessible and green community.
Flood prevention and revitalisation at the riverside public space
Situated along Tsui Ping Road and King Yip Street and extending to the harbourfront via Kai Lim Road, the King Yip Street nullah is located in the centre of Kwun Tong District adjacent to the residential and commercial areas. Its excellent geographical location makes it a precious riverside public space in the urban areas. The Energizing Kowloon East Office has built specially designed railings along the two sides of the nullah and enhanced its green facilities. We hope that the project will enhance the flood prevention capability of the river and turn Tsui Ping River into a new landmark where the public can enjoy the river view and carry out leisure activities.
The midstream and downstream of the nullah are located in the intertidal area (where the sea meets the land). The water level changes with the tides and the river bed will be exposed at low tide. We plan to install at the downstream a water gate that will go up and down with the tides to manifest the water body characteristics of the future Tsui Ping River and to create a water storage area through regulating the water level. When the river water plunges down, a waterfall effect will be created. Besides, we will also set up water-friendly features like floating pontoons at the water storage area to enrich the scenery and ambience of the river.
A green river corridor to improve walkability and connectivity
Meanwhile, under the concept of a “Walkable Kowloon East”, we will construct pedestrian walkways on both sides of the river, with footbridges and landscaped decks spanning the river to enhance connectivity with the surrounding areas, in order to transform Tsui Ping River into a green river corridor in the community. This river, coupled with the adjacent Tsui Ping River Garden, the Kwun Tong Promenade and the arts and cultural spaces under construction beneath the Kwun Tong Bypass, will add diversity to the Kwun Tong District.
Given increasing public awareness of protecting the natural environment, we will improve the habitats which will be conducive to aquatic species. We are currently studying the feasibility of using natural materials instead of concrete in some parts of the river bed, and growing aquatic plants in the river. As the salinity of water in Tsui Ping River changes from freshwater at the upstream to brackish at the downstream, we will grow suitable aquatic plants in different locations so as to present a beautiful, green and lively Tsui Ping River to the public.
Extensive public engagement to achieve better results
Residents in the Kwun Tong District may have noticed that the DSD just completed Stage 1 Public Engagement for the Revitalisation of Tsui Ping River project earlier this year. Apart from consultations with the Kwun Tong District Council and the Harbourfront Commission, community workshops, focus group meetings and roving exhibitions were also organised. In addition, a project webpage was set up and pamphlets were delivered to local residents to introduce the project’s preliminary design concept and collect public views. Given general positive feedback from the community, we deeply understand that the public have high expectations for Tsui Ping River to add vibrancy to the community.
During the consultation process, the public have given a lot of valuable opinions, amongst them include enhancement of the river’s flood prevention function and water quality; improvement of accessibility and connectivity; enhancement of aquatic habitats; setting up of safety and warning facilities for the river; and providing repair and maintenance services. We are consolidating the views collected in the public engagement exercises, and will conduct an in-depth study on their feasibility, so that the project design will meet the needs of different stakeholders as far as possible and achieve the effects of the “public participatory” approach.
The revitalised Tsui Ping River will not only continue its important function as the main stormwater drainage system in the district as it has done so for half a century, but also evolve into a green river corridor in the community connecting the recreational, arts and cultural facilities within the district. The successful implementation of the Revitalisation of Tsui Ping River project hinges on the collective participation of various stakeholders. I hope you will provide continued support for the project and actively offer your views in the future public engagement exercises, so that we can pool our wisdom and create a better living environment together!
2 July, 2017