Government reaffirms its commitment to harbour protection

The Government shares the community's desire to protect the Harbour and will do whatever it can to protect and preserve it for the enjoyment of future generations, said a spokesman for the Housing, Planning and Lands Bureau today (February 8).

Commenting on a report published by the Citizen Envisioning@Harbour on harbour protection today, the spokesman said the Government shares the views on the need to return the Harbour to the people.

Noting that the report identified the constraints associated with the Central Reclamation Phase III (CRIII), the spokesman said the Government appreciated that it recognized that the CRIII was no longer a reclamation proposal but works in progress involving significant costs, and that the reclamation extent was constrained by various factors including the alignment of the Central-Wan Chai Bypass and the need to re-provision the essential facilities such as the water pumping stations.

"The CRIII is already the minimal reclamation. In the Review Report on CRIII published by the Government in November 2003, we have given a detailed analysis of the various engineering constraints," the spokesman said.

The spokesman said the Government also shares the report's conclusion that there are now opportunities for the Government and the community to work together to provide more accessibility and more public amenities on the harbourfront for the enjoyment of the public.

"The Government would continue to exchange views with interested organizations on how the partnership between the Government and the non-government organizations could be fostered to implement an accessible and beautiful waterfront," the spokesman added.

In the Policy Initiatives of the 2004 Policy Address, the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands has pledged that our planning and land use objectives are geared towards our mission to protect the Victoria Harbour and enhance it for the enjoyment of our residents and visitors alike. Apart from CRIII and proposals for Wan Chai North and South East Kowloon under review, the Government will not undertake any further reclamation in the Harbour.

End/Sunday, February 8, 2004