Speech on West Kowloon Reclamation Concept Plan Competition (English only)

The following is a speech (English only) delivered by the Secretary for Planning and Lands, Mr John C. Tsang, at the cocktail reception in honour of the Jury for the West Kowloon Reclamation Concept Plan Competition this evening (February 28):

Lord Rothschild, Members of the Jury, Ladies and Gentlemen,

If I can divert you for a few moments from your keen interest in the winning entries, I would like to welcome you all to this cocktail reception in honour of the Jury for the West Kowloon Reclamation Concept Plan Competition.

The aim of the competition is to identify innovative concepts for the development of an arts, cultural and entertainment district in Hong Kong that is of outstanding architectural merit and has the facilities to place us firmly on the international cultural map. We are looking for an urban miracle. We intend to turn this piece of land reclaimed from our precious harbour in West Kowloon into a cultural oasis that will enrich the lives of our citizens, attract visitors from neighbouring cities and enhance even further one of the most beautiful skylines in the world with distinguished landmark built forms.

Over the past few days - since Sunday, in fact - the Jury has been meeting behind closed doors in City Hall, conscientiously sifting through the 161 entries to the competition to find those with the potential to realise our objective.

I am reliably informed that the Jury had a debate worthy of the heights that we are aiming for. The Jury's decision was announced to the world in a live broadcast on the internet this afternoon by Lord Rothschild, the Chairman of the Jury, and we have the good fortune to be among the first to see the winning entries.

We are, indeed, honoured to have Lord Rothschild as the Chairman of the Jury. He has impeccable credentials to serve in this capacity, being a member of the Jury for the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize.

We are also pleased to be able to bring together in the Jury members prominent in the fields of architecture, culture and heritage, engineering, planning, strategic development and tourism. I would like to recognize each one of them:

Lord Rothschild

Professor Peter Droege

Mr Peter Rogers

Professor Peter Rowe

Professor WU Liangyong

Mr Nicholas Brooke

Professor CHANG Hsin-kang

Hon Mrs Selina CHOW Liang Shuk-yee

Professor Patrick LAU Sau Shing

Hon LEUNG Chun-ying

On behalf of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, I would like to commend and extend our warmest appreciation to Lord Rothschild, the jurors, the Honorary Special Advisor Mr I M Pei who is not able to join us today, and the Professional Advisor to the competition, Mr Bill Lacy, for their hard work serving on the Jury and their contribution to promoting the arts and cultural development in Hong Kong.

Thank you very much.

I would now like to invite Lord Rothschild to say a few words to you. Lord Rothschild.

End/Thursday, February 28, 2002