Following is a question by the Hon Kam Nai-wai and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (June 8):
As the harbourfront areas on both sides of the Victoria Harbour are important public assets, members of the community are very concerned about the planning, development, design and management of such areas. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) regarding the development of a complete and connected promenade running along the northern shore of Hong Kong Island from Sai Wan in Central and Western District directly to the vicinity of Siu Sai Wan in Eastern District, whether the Government has set the timetables for the development of such project as well as the various phases under this project;
(b) of the respective detailed numbers of private properties or land sites and government properties or land sites which may affect the completeness and connectivity of the promenade on the northern shore of Hong Kong Island; the respective solutions the Government has in this regard; and whether it has set the timetable for relocating such government properties to other districts; and
(c) whether the Government will adopt the public-private-partnership approach to design, build and operate the New Central Harbourfront and even the harbourfront development project on the northern shore of Hong Kong Island as a whole; if it will, of the details concerned?
My reply to the three-part question is as follows:
(a) Victoria Harbour is the most precious public asset of Hong Kong and a symbol of the city. In recent years, the Government has strived to promote the enhancement of the harbourfront and to improve its accessibility. Subject to the actual circumstances of the harbourfront sites and through effective allocation of resources, the Government gradually constructs various harbourfront promenades for public enjoyment. In mapping out and taking forward various harbourfront enhancement measures, the Government has made reference to the former Harbour-front Enhancement Committee (HEC)'s recommendations for the 22 Action Areas along Victoria Harbour and implemented them in a gradual manner having regard to the actual circumstances of each individual project. The Harbourfront Commission (HC) established in 2010 will continue to monitor the progress and propose new enhancement measures. On the northern shore of Hong Kong Island, apart from taking forward the development of the new Central harbourfront, the Government has also actively carried out various enhancement works in the other Action Areas. Projects completed in the past two years include the Central and Western District Promenade - Sheung Wan Section at the former Sheung Wan Gala Point, the park area of Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park, the pedestrian link between these two sites, the open space fronting Central Piers No. 9 and 10, the temporary waterfront promenade along the eastern part of the ex-North Point Estate site, and Aldrich Bay Park etc. Meanwhile, the development of the temporary waterfront promenade at Hoi Yu Street, Quarry Bay and the Hong Kong Island East Harbour-front Study (HKIEHS), which aims to formulate a comprehensive plan for the enhancement of the Hong Kong Island East harbourfront areas, are underway. The existing uses or the major development plans of the harbourfront sites in the Action Areas along the northern shore of Hong Kong Island are set out at Annex.
(b) At present, some of the harbourfront areas along the northern shore of Hong Kong Island are being used by public facilities or fall within privately-owned land (see Annex for details). Such issues have to be resolved on a case-by-case basis. In assessing whether it is necessary to set up government facilities in harbourfront areas, the Government will first consider whether the facilities have to be set up at the harbourfront due to operational needs, and make reference to the Harbour Planning Principles promulgated by the former HEC and adopted by the HC, as well as the guidelines on waterfront planning and urban design set out in the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines prepared by the Planning Department. The Government will also consider the planning intention of the site as stipulated in the relevant statutory plan, and the views of the government departments, HC and District Councils etc. If it is found that there is no need to set up the facilities at the harbourfront, we will explore the possibility of reprovisioning them to a non-harbourfront site (for example, the bus terminus at Shing Sai Road). For government structures which have to be located at the harbourfront because of a practical need, the Government will, where possible, consider setting them back, or reserving the part facing the harbourfront for use as a promenade (for example, the Central and Western District Promenade - Sheung Wan Section). If, for operational and practical reasons, the facilities could not be relocated or set back at the moment, we will explore the feasibility of improving the appearance of their exteriors and undertaking landscape works with a view to enhancing the harbourfront (for example, the proposed beautification works for the Marine Police Regional Headquarters and Marine Police Harbour Division Base at Sai Wan Ho).
As regards sites and buildings held by private owners, we are glad to see that some of the owners and developers have assisted us in undertaking harbourfront enhancement works. For example, regarding the temporary promenade at Hoi Yu Street, Quarry Bay, with the collaboration of the New Hong Kong Tunnel Company Limited, a waterfront land strip measuring 90 metres long and six metres wide has been released to achieve connectivity of the promenade. This was the result of the joint efforts of various parties and lengthy negotiations. Regarding other privately-owned sites, we will seriously examine all feasible measures to see if favourable conditions could be created for the development of a continuous promenade.
(c) There are a total of eight key sites at the new Central harbourfront. We plan to develop some of the key sites by way of public-private collaboration (PPC). Through this approach, we aim to capture the creativity and expertise of the private sector for more innovative design options with management that is flexible and allows more sustainable development. As such, a vibrant, green and accessible new Central harbourfront can be created for public enjoyment.
As reported at earlier meetings of the Panel on Development, the Government has planned to develop Sites 1 and 2 of the new Central harbourfront by PPC under a land lease. The sites and the facilities thereon will be returned to the Government upon the expiry of the proposed lease. As works associated with the construction of the Central-Wan Chai Bypass will be carried out at part of Sites 1 and 2 up till July 2015, the development of these two sites will take some time to materialise.
Currently, we are also exploring the possibility of developing Sites 4 and 7 (in whole or in part) by PPC. With the support of HC, we have commissioned an independent consultant to conduct a study on the feasibility of developing these two sites by PPC. We are now conducting a market sounding exercise to invite the private sector to express their views by June 30, 2011 on the potential of developing Sites 4 and 7 by PPC.
We are also actively exploring whether there are other harbourfront sites on the northern shore of Hong Kong Island which can be developed by PPC. Taking into account of the result of the Stage 2 Public Engagement Programme for the HKIEHS, we are planning to develop the proposed temporary waterfront promenade site at Hoi Yu Street, Quarry Bay, the two adjoining sites that have been zoned "Other Specified Uses" annotated "Cultural and/or Commercial, Leisure and Tourism Related Uses", and the nearby site above the Eastern Harbour Crossing exit by way of PPC. The Planning Department has collected more views in the recently completed Stage 3 Public Engagement Programme for the Study. We will consider the options recommended in the Study when this project is taken forward in future. The entire Study is anticipated to be completed in 2011.
Ends/Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Issued at HKT 17:30