Legislative Council Question 4 : "New Central Harbourfront" by the Hon Audrey Eu and a reply by the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council
Following is a question by the Hon Audrey Eu and a reply by the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (July 5):
The design objectives and planning visions of the new Central Harbourfront announced by the Planning Department at the end of May this year include, among other things, the construction of a 400-metre long nine-storey shopping groundscraper, a 28-storey commercial building and an 18-storey hotel. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the total gross floor area of these buildings, and the floor area to be built on the land from the new reclamation;
(b) of the anticipated traffic volume to be generated upon the occupation of these buildings; and
(c) as the former Chief Executive promised at a Council meeting in October 2004 that any new reclaimed land would be used only to a limited extent for low-density commercial use, such as sight-seeing points and catering facilities, whether the authorities have assessed if the construction of these buildings is in line with that promise, if they have, of the assessment results; if not, the reasons for that?
The Central Reclamation is comprised of three phases. Phase I involved the reclamation of about 20 hectares from Rumsey Street to Blake Pier to provide land for the extension of the Central Business District and the construction of the Airport Express and the Tung Chung Line. The works of this phase were completed in June 1998. Phase II started in 1994 and the works which involved the reclamation of about 5.3 hectares in the Tamar Basin were completed in September 1997. The Phase III works currently underway have been scaled down considerably from the original 32 hectares to about 18.73 hectares. This phase mainly provides land for the construction of essential transport infrastructural facilities, including the proposed Central-Wanchai Bypass, Road P2 network and an extended overrun tunnel for the Airport Railway, and the reprovisioning of the existing piers and the cooling water pumping stations. The works started in 2003 and are expected to be completed by late 2008.
The illustrative concept for the new Central Harbourfront announced by the Planning Department at the end of May this year is proposed on the basis of the planned land uses set out in the Central District Outline Zoning Plan (OZP) and the Central District (Extension) OZP, which covers the three commercial sites mentioned by the Hon Audrey EU. The proposed developments are as follows:
(1) the "Comprehensive Development Area" to the north of the Statue Square: The eastern part of the site can be developed into a garden deck not more than two storeys with shopping space inside. To the west will be office/commercial buildings of not more than nine storeys. The length of the garden deck and the office/commercial buildings will be about 270 metres and 350 metres respectively. The development is proposed to adopt a cascading design with massive greening to tie in with the waterfront setting.
(2) the "Comprehensive Development Area" adjoining Central Piers No. 4 to No. 6: A garden deck can be constructed to connect the piers. Proposed developments include two hotel/commercial blocks of 12 storeys and 14 storeys each on top of a 3-storey shopping deck¡Qand
(3) the commercial site to the north of Two International Finance Centre: It is proposed that a 28-storey office building with a public transport interchange on the ground level be developed.
My reply to the three-part question is as follows:
(a) The above developments cover a total gross site area of about 7.5 hectares, with a total gross floor area of 306 550 square metres. The distribution is as follows:
(1) the "Comprehensive Development Area" to the north of the Statue Square: about 190 000 square metres;
(2) the "Comprehensive Development Area" adjoining Central Piers No. 4 to No. 6: about 55 740 square metres; and
(3) the commercial site to the north of Two International Finance Centre: about 60 810 square metres.
Of the sites mentioned above, only a portion, about 2.63 hectares, of the "Comprehensive Development Area" to the north of the Statue Square is situated within the area of the Central Reclamation Phase III (CR III) currently underway. The rest of the developments are all on existing land.
(b) According to the Transport Department, it is estimated that the total volume of traffic on the above developments during the morning and afternoon peak hours will be 1 609 and 1 823 passenger car units per hour respectively in 2016. The proposed Road P2 within the area and the Central-Wanchai Bypass will be able to cope with the traffic demands of the district.
(c) The land uses within the CR III is covered by the current Central District (Extension) OZP, which was approved in December 2002 after several rounds of public consultations in accordance with the statutory town planning procedures. When deliberating on a few rezoning applications in August 2005, the Town Planning Board reaffirmed that the scale and development parameters of the above commercial sites are appropriate and are also in line with the planning intention and development controls set out in the relevant OZP.
Just as what the former Chief Executive said, the newly reclaimed land would only be used, on a limited basis, for the provision of low-density commercial facilities. Only about 2.63 hectares of the land will be for low-density office/commercial development, with a plot ratio of only 3.63. Other than that, most of the reclaimed land, about 11.28 hectares in area, will be used for public open space or waterfront-related low density shopping or leisure uses. The focus of our planning is the provision of ample open space for the community and a diversity of functions so as to create a vibrant and green landscape for the new Central Harbourfront.
Ends/Wednesday, July 5, 2006
Issued at HKT 14:49