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Transcript of a media session by the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands

Following is a transcript (English portion) of a media session by the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, at CGO today (December 13):

Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands: Insofar as the preservation of the clock tower of the Star Ferry is concerned, actually, we have consulted very widely among various stakeholders and the process started about seven years ago. We have consulted the relevant District Councils. We have consulted the Legislative Council and other stakeholders. From all the indications that we got from the records of meetings, there were no objections to the proposal. But of course, we understand that of late there is a demand for the preservation of the clock tower. During recent round of negotiations and discussions in the Legislative Council, we have already said that we do not rule out the possibility of rebuilding the clock tower to the same design at a suitable location in the new waterfront. That proposition was discussed with the relevant panel of the Legislative Council on November 14. I think the way forward for this particular issue is to, for us, to come up with a study to find a suitable location for that.

Reporter: What is your feeling about the opinion expressed by members of the public .... ?

Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands: I suppose at the time people were not precise in stating their demand, and I think even today there is confusion as to what to preserve. If you ask any man in the street, some would say they want to preserve the memory, other to demand the preservation of the clock tower building and yet other would include the whole pier. So I don’t think there is any uniformity in what they think about the issue. But I suppose the point really is that they treasure the thing, which we do. Looking ahead, we have just said that we are going to do a study to find a suitable form so that the whole memory can be preserved. If necessary, we have all the dimensions, we have all the details design for the clock tower and if necessary, as I said, we can have the whole building reconstructed at a new location.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Issued at HKT 16:40

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