Following is the transcript of the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, speaking to the press after attending a seminar on building management for members of the District Councils at North Point Government Offices this (September 17) afternoon.
Reporter: Mr Suen, the Society of Protection of the Harbour today issued the government with basically, a legal ultimatum to cease reclamation works in the harbour within seven days or face another judicial review, would the government now comply with that?
Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands: I think we got to understand that the contract of the reclamation was awarded before the result of the judicial review was announced. We have already accepted the ruling of the judicial review in the sense that it has laid down three tests for whether a reclamation is required and we are applying the three tests to the Central Reclamation. Specifically, relevant departments are reviewing the project and the review is nearing completion. They will be submitting the report to us in a short time.
Reporter: But at the same time you are continuing with other reclamation works and the Society said you have been putting sand into the Central reclamation filling an already .....?
Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands: It's got to be understood in context. As I have said the contract was awarded before the ruling was made and in any case I think the Society has accepted the need for the Central-Wan Chai Bypass, a highway project which will relieve the very congested traffic passing through Central. To the extent that they have already accepted, I don't think what we are doing would in anyway be regarded as excessive.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript)
End/Wednesday, September 17, 2003