Put a stop to monstrous changes in harbour

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 August, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 August, 1995, 12:00am

I WAS appalled and amazed recently when reading a report which said that future reclamation plans for the harbour include joining Green Island onto Hong Kong Island and filling in Sulphur Channel which separates them, with the resulting land being used as a dump. To me it is quite unbelievable that such a decision could be taken.

It is plain to see for anyone with the slightest bit of aesthetic sense that harbour reclamation has already gone way too far, and a complete ban should be instituted on any and all further such projects along Hong Kong island's north side and to the Kowloon Peninsula.

Hong Kong is widely accepted as having one of the most spectacular natural harbours in the world, yet it is rapidly being turned into nothing more than a man-made, concrete-lined trough through which shipping, and pollution, is being squeezed ever tighter.

One of the practical side effects of this is the increasing regularity with which near accidents occur in the narrowest section opposite the Western reclamation, and it seems only a matter of time before a serious accident occurs (as a daily ferry traveller I can attest to this).

From an aesthetic point of view, when the inevitable skyscrapers are put up along the waterfront of the Western reclamation, from the water level it will be all but impossible to see the hills which give Kowloon its name.

As for Green Island, while it is arguable that it will serve no 'purpose' once the boat people's reception centre is closed, it has an aesthetic value which cannot be calculated, as does the section of Hong Kong island opposite, where lush vegetation below and above Victoria Road are a feast for the concrete-weary eyes of ferry travellers. If Green Island is swallowed up I believe it will truly be the beginning of the end for the harbour and just a matter of time before it will be possible to walk from Central to Tsim Sha Tsui. It is time the people of Hong Kong woke up to the fact that monstrous and irreversible changes are being made to the beauty of the harbour. How can decisions which alter the way nature itself made the territory be left in the hands of a few short-sighted (both metaphorically and literally, apparently) bureaucrats? I will leave Hong Kong in a few years, but those who will spend the rest of their lives here must ask themselves if they value the harbour enough to preserve it for their children - not to mention the tourists who come to see it - before it is gone forever.