The Government is committed to investing in infrastructure developments to sharpen Hong Kong's competitive edge and provide a better living environment for Hong Kong people, said the Chief Executive, Mr Tung Chee Hwa, today (July 3).
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong Planning and Infrastructure Exhibition Gallery, Mr Tung reaffirmed Hong Kong's strength in having a world-class infrastructure network.
"Hong Kong has enormous strengths in various areas that are the envy of many places, one of which being our world-class infrastructure."
Mr Tung outlined the main directions of Hong Kong's infrastructure developments, which involved more than 1,600 projects at a total cost of about $600 billion over the next 10 years, ranging from better town planning, enhancing Hong Kong's position as a transport and logistics hub, promoting tourism, and improving the environment.
The Chief Executive announced that a decision had been made to build a cable car system linking Tung Chung and Ngong Ping, which will be completed in 2005 together with the Disney theme park. By that time, North Lantau will turn into a tourist magnet, he said.
He also announced that tenders would be invited in September this year on the conversion of the former Marine Police Headquarters in Tsim Sha Tsui into a tourism-themed development.
"We shall adopt a new concept under which we promote tourism while preserving buildings of historical significance," he said.
"I look forward to this privately-run project giving Hong Kong a new tourist attraction with appealing features."
Mr Tung stressed that investment in the infrastructure projects would help economic growth and create employment opportunities.
He said the Government would strive to streamline procedures to speed up implementation of the projects.
The Chief Executive officiated at the opening ceremony together with the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen; the Permanent Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands (Planning and Lands), Mr John C Tsang; and the Director of Planning, Mr Bosco Fung.
The "Hong Kong Infrastructure Experience" exhibition is staged by the Planning Department at the gallery on the ground floor, 3 Edinburgh Place, City Hall Annexe, as one of the events to celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
It features a wide range of audio-video presentations, models, computer games and animation about existing and planned major infrastructure projects.
One of its highlights is the Infrastructure Walk, a jumbo model stretching 18.5 metres, which shows the major projects on a map of the territory with a scale of 1: 2 500. The projects, ranging from transport, new towns, urban renewal, tourism to environmental protection, are explained via video shows accompanied by special lighting effects.
Another attraction is a video panorama showing an animated view of the future harbourfront. It gives visitors a three-dimensional experience of strolling down the promenade from Central to Wan Chai, and also at the integrated arts, cultural and entertainment district of West Kowloon.
The model section in the exhibition covers the winning conceptual designs for the Western Kowloon Reclamation, the possible transformation of Yau Ma Tei under the urban renewal programme, the Stonecutters Bridge, the Shenzhen Western Corridor, and the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme.
Through a series of web cameras, visitors can watch instant broadcasts of the operation of the container terminals, traffic in the harbour and on Tsing Ma Bridge.
Other exhibits and facilities of the gallery include an e-photo booth for visitors to send their photographs superimposed on Hong Kong's top tourist spots to their designated websites.
The gallery, with a floor area of about 460 square metres, was created to enhance public understanding of Hong Kong's major planning and infrastructure projects in the next decade.
It will be used for staging planning and infrastructure-related activities until a permanent exhibition gallery is built at the Tamar site.
End/Wednesday, July 3, 2002