I REFER to the letter from an anonymous Group of Hong Kong Architects expounding some thoughts on the question of harbour reclamations (Sunday Morning Post, August 27).
They raise four substantive issues: It is inappropriate to draw a comparison between Hong Kong Harbour (after reclamation) and 'natural rivers'.
Such a comparison was, in the first instance, not made by me. Therefore, to refute such a comparison and to put matters into perspective, the essential point to consider is, indeed, how the future widths of Hong Kong Harbour after reclamation measure up against the widths of a number of well known rivers. In a nutshell, the width of our harbour between Central and Tsim Sha Tsui will be 860m, expanding to over 1,340m at North Point. Against that are widths of 300m of the River Thames at Waterloo Bridge, in central London, 200m for the River Main in central Frankfurt and 200m for the River Seine in central Paris. It is thus obvious that our harbour will not become a narrow river by any stretch of the imagination.
It would be more appropriate to make comparisons with other harbour cities. This is a point well made. I'm sure the 'Group of Architects' would accept Sydney Harbour as a worthy example. As against the proposed distance of 860m between Central and Tsim Sha Tsui, the width of Sydney Harbour from the promontory on which the Sydney Opera House is located to the opposite shore is around 450m. And, to take a broader geographic view of things, the distance between the well known Point Piper and Bradley's Head in Sydney Harbour is 1,200m against 1,340m between North Point and the tip of the runway at Kai Tak, which will be the southern limit of reclamation in Kowloon Bay.
Metroplan does not appear to have taken into account development in the Pearl River Delta. The simple answer is 'it does'. This matter is covered on page 11 of the Executive Summary for the Metroplan Recommended Strategy.
What grounds are there for the harbour reclamations? There are many good reasons for harbour reclamations, the principal ones being: 1) To make provision for Airport Core Programme projects, for example, the West Kowloon and Central reclamations required for road and rail connections to the airport and for downtown terminals; 2) To make provision for the incremental development of new port facilities to serve the needs of both Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta; 3) To provide 'solution spaces' for the rehousing of people affected by urban renewal schemes, for example, Aldrich Bay and Green Island reclamations; 4) To enable new transport infrastructure to be provided, for example, the much-needed by-pass route on the Central-Wan Chai reclamation; 5) To eliminate highly polluted embayments, for example, the Kai Tak nullah and Kowloon Bay; 6) To bring the city to the harbour and the harbour to the city through the incremental provision of up to 33km of landscaped promenades and associated civic spaces; and, 7) To create a more conveniently organised city and to provide land for a wide range of land uses and activities to sustain and enhance the hub functions of Hong Kong on which our economy depends.
Finally, I would like to make the point that Metroplan is the outcome of a sustained and wide-ranging corporate effort involving extensive public consultation.
Substantive reports on many aspects have been produced and are available for reference by interested parties. I am also prepared to meet with such bodies as the 'Group of Architects' to listen objectively to their points of view and to explain in more detail the corporate thinking behind the Metroplan concepts.
E.G. PRYOR Principal Government Town Planner/Territorial