Engaging the public in Harbour-front Enhancement Review

In response to media enquiries on comments made by the Society for Protection of the Harbour Limited on the Wan Chai Development Phase II (WDII) project, a Government spokesman said today (February 4):

"There is a compelling and present need to alleviate the traffic congestion problem along the northern shore of the Hong Kong Island. The WDII project is required for implementing the Trunk Road that is essential to meeting that need.

The Government has examined various traffic management measures to relieve traffic congestion and maximise the capacity of existing roads and junctions along the Connaught Road Central/Harcourt Road/Gloucester Road Corridor, and concluded that, in addition to those measures, the Trunk Road will also be required for addressing the problem.

It is not the Government's intention to reclaim land under the WDII project for land sale purpose. Any reclamation that may be incurred will depend on the alignment of the Trunk Road and will be kept to the minimum.

We will ensure that any reclamation to be carried out will fully comply with the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance and the 'overriding public need test' stipulated by the Court of Final Appeal.

On the 'Harbour-front Enhancement Review - Wan Chai and Adjoining Areas' project recently launched by the Sub-committee on WDII Review of the Harbour-front Enhancement Committee, it is made up of three stages : Envisioning stage, Realisation stage and Detailed Planning stage. The purpose of the Envisioning stage is to engage the community at an early stage to solicit their 'visions' on the types of harbour-front developments they aspire for at Wan Chai and the adjoining areas, while acknowledging the opportunities available and the constraints for development.

The three Trunk Road possibilities presented in the public engagement digest are merely concepts, not proposals. They are devised to facilitate and stimulate further discussion by the public.

Relevant ideas collected during the public forums and charrettes of the public engagement exercise will be consolidated as input to the planning and engineering review on the WDII project. Public views will help us develop and prioritise sustainable development principles and indicators which will be adopted to guide and evaluate the WDII Conceptual Plan and Master Plan.

We are confident that through the public engagement exercise, the development opportunities and constraints can be well-debated and that the public could put forward their views on the types of harbour-front developments they aspire for at Wan Chai and the adjoining areas."

Ends/Friday, February 4, 2005