During the past century, Hong Kong has undergone progressive transformation from a fishing village to an entrepot, an industrial base and today an international financial centre. Reclamation has been a means to provide land to meet various economic, transport, housing and social needs of the community of Hong Kong. With the changing aspirations of the community, there have been increasing concerns over further reclamation and strong calls from various community groups for active steps to protect the Harbour. Harbour reclamation has been the subject of several litigations over the past years which leads to the establishment of the overriding public need test by the Court of Final Appeal (CFA) on 9 January 2004.
2. The Government fully appreciates the public sentiments to protect and preserve the Victoria Harbour, which is an invaluable natural asset of the people of Hong Kong. As a result, initial plans for reclamation such as those in Kowloon Point and Tsim Sha Tsui were dropped. The reclamation extent of the Central Reclamation Phase III (CRIII) had been reduced from the original planned 32 hectares to 18 hectares. In October 2003, the Government announced the cancellation of more proposed reclamation plans. These include the ones at Tsuen Wan Bay and off Green Islands on Hong Kong Island West.
3. The Government has made public pledges repeatedly that apart from the current CRIII, the Wan Chai Development Phase II (WDII) and the Southeast Kowloon Development (SEKD), there will be no more reclamation within the Harbour in future. In the light of the CFA judgment on reclamation, the Government has undertaken to comprehensively review the WDII and SEKD to ensure full compliance with the requirements of the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance (PHO) and the CFA judgment.
4. In response to the community's aspirations for a common platform to discuss the planning and development of the harbour-front, the Harbour-front Enhancement Committee (HEC) was established in May 2004 to advise the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands on the planning, land uses and developments along the existing and new harbour-front of Victoria Harbour. The HEC concluded its six years of service on 28 February 2010 and is succeeded by the Harbourfront Commission (HC) established on 1 July 2010. For further details on the HC, please visit http://www.hfc.org.hk/.
5. The Government agrees that the Victoria Harbour should be protected and preserved as a special public asset and a natural heritage of Hong Kong people. We will abide by the PHO and the CFA's judgment on reclamation. Our goal is to return the harbour to the people for their use and enjoyment. We want our harbour to be a harbour for the people and a harbour of life, easily accessible for the enjoyment of all. We look forward to working in close partnership with the HC to actively engage the community to make this vision come true.
[Central Reclamation Phase III]