300 DC members attended first forum on planning studies


The Chairmen and members of all 18 District Councils, totalling over 300 in number, attended the first forum on major planning studies organised by the Planning and Lands Bureau in conjunction with the Planning Department and Home Affairs Department today (March 27).

The District Council members were briefed on four planning studies: 'Hong Kong 2030'; 'Metroplan/Harbour Planning and Urban Design Guidelines'; 'New Territories and Rural Planning' and 'Urban Renewal'.

Addressing the opening, Secretary for Planning and Lands, Mr Gordon Siu said that the forum offered an excellent opportunity to share and exchange views with District Council members on important planning issues which would affect Hong Kong's development.

"The target of our planning work is to achieve overall benefit for the community and to build a better working and living environment for our citizens.

"Involvement of District Council members in the planning process helps us formulate policies which will bring about the greatest benefits for all sectors of the community.

"With their knowledge of the work of the Government and of local concerns, District Council members are well placed to give us valuable advice," Mr Siu said.

District Council members who joined the first panel on the 'Hong Kong 2030' study were briefed about the focus of the study, which looked into the land use, transport and environment planning measures that affect Hong Kong's long-term development. Members were also briefed on the method to be used in this study, the planning objectives and key study areas.

The second panel looked at the Metroplan/Harbour Planning and Urban Design Guidelines. The Planning Department is now reviewing the Metroplan for the period up to and beyond 2016. The Harbour Planning and Urban Design Guidelines are aimed at translating the Town Planning Board's vision statement on Victoria Harbour into a planning framework to guide the development of the Harbour, as well as to realise the potential of the Harbour as a tourist attraction.

The third panel was briefed on the planning principles for the New Territories and rural areas. Rapid transportation and economic development in the New Territories will have an impact on the land use and natural environment in the area. Members in this panel were briefed on how the Planning Department tries to achieve balanced and sustainable development in the planning context.

Members in the fourth panel were given an introduction of the Planning Department's urban renewal strategy. The strategy aims at arresting urban decay and improving the environment of the old urban areas, while retaining the characteristics of the areas.

Also attended the forum were the Director of Home Affairs, Ms Shelley Lee, and the Director of Planning, Mr Bosco Fung.

When addressing the forum, Mr Fung said that views from District Council members and local organisations will help the Department make necessary adjustments to improve its plans to provide a quality living and working environment for the people while improving the competitiveness of Hong Kong.

"The Department will continue to collect public views in a proactive manner: through public forums and meetings at an early stage and during different phases of the studies," Mr Fung said.

End/Tuesday, March 27, 2001