PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 April, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 April, 2004, 12:00am

Q Should roads take precedence over pedestrian access to the harbour?

Your article 'New roads will choke the harbour' pointed out that there was public concern that the road system proposed for the reclaimed land along Victoria Harbour would choke the shore and further hinder public access to the waterfront.

We would like to point out that in formulating the land use proposals for the Central and Wan Chai Reclamation, due regard has been given to the Town Planning Board's vision statement for Victoria Harbour - 'to create a harbour for the people and a harbour of life'. The aim is to restructure the existing inaccessible harbour front into a new world-class harbour front district.

A key consideration is how to enhance connectivity between the urban area and the harbour front so as to bring people to the harbour and the harbour to the people. The graphic with your article illustrates only part of the story - the planned road network. It did not show how this network will be complemented by a comprehensive pedestrian network. A series of pedestrian corridors have been planned to provide easy access to the new waterfront through new development sites and across primary roads. Three major corridors - the Statue Square corridor, the Civic corridor and the Arts and Entertainment corridor - will provide direct and convenient pedestrian movement to the new harbour front in Central and will form excellent viewing corridors.

The Statue Square corridor will start from Statue Square via a low-rise pedestrian landscape deck to the new Star Ferry piers. The Civic Corridor will go from Admiralty Centre to the new harbour front via a 70-metre-wide open space deck. The Arts and Entertainment corridor will also provide convenient pedestrian access from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts to the new waterfront promenade.

In addition to these connections, two elevated walkways are proposed to connect the City Hall complex and a new government site to the new Central harbour front. Apart from the north-south pedestrian corridors, the new harbour front promenade will provide the much-needed continuous east-west pedestrian connection along the harbour front from the Central piers to the Convention and Exhibition Centre. The easily accessible harbour front promenade will allow people to come close to the harbour front to enjoy Victoria Harbour.

A similar network to enhance public accessibility to the harbour front has also been proposed in the draft Wan Chai North outline zoning plan. While this plan is now under a comprehensive review, the government will ensure that there will be adequate, attractive and convenient pedestrian links to bring people to our harbour front.

K.K.Ling, for Director of Planning

Q Should the Yuen Long crocodile be left to live in the wild?

It's turned warm recently, so the crocodile has reappeared and some workers from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department have gone to try to catch it. But this time they are not as worried as before, and some people who live near the river say they are not worried about the crocodile. But the fact is that we really do not know whether the croc will attack people. We should stay alert.

Name and address supplied

Q Do you think that the portrayal of the Crucifixion of Jesus in the movie The Passion of the Christ is accurate?

Easter is here. But do people really understand why we have this holiday? Most only think of Easter as a few days of holiday so we can have a rest. They do not really want to know the history.

For Christians, Easter is a time to remember that Jesus was crucified to save them and let their sins be forgiven. They commemorate the love of Jesus in those few days of holiday. When Christians think of what Jesus went through on the cross, they are moved to tears - because he died for them.

Jeff Tong Chung-yan, Kwun Tong

On other matters ...

Your article 'High price for half a facelift' (April 5) has touched on a complicated subject with socio-political aspects.

In Hong Kong in the run-up to the 1997 handover, many people willingly turned a blind eye to the destruction of their architectural heritage for the sake of rapid development. The colonial administration compliantly fuelled an unprecedented property boom to finance the city's infrastructure and meet its obligation of leaving behind a huge fiscal surplus.

The scale of destruction has been unprecedented, brought about not by an external enemy but by a government that was supposedly acting in the best interests of the whole community. That the same community had no direct political franchise made it convenient for the administration to take the most expedient course - demolishing entire neighbourhoods with immense haste, with only marginal regard for the quality of the environment.

The Urban Renewal Authority is in a delicate position, in that its very purpose is to go to work where developers find it unattractive to engage in drawn-out urban renewal efforts. As such, it is not entirely operating within market constraints. In your article, you rightly point out that wholesale clearance is unaffordable and not a reasonable option, where communities have been thriving on their own efforts, without government assistance.

The problem is that our government has not been able to shake off its past, and still believes that 'renewal' is synonymous with starting from a clean slate. We know that this is not necessarily so, particularly if we count the costs, not only of reconstruction but also of the loss of social cohesiveness and the value of a unique historical past.

John Wong, Pokfulam

The spell-casters under the Canal Road flyover have been there for quite a while, yet the Wan Chai District Council has made a plan to move these people away, turning the place into a tourist area.

I think that moving these people away would be a good idea - they are using public land.

Hygiene also poses a problem because of all the incense and other rubbish these people produce. Gangs also see an opportunity and demand protection money from the spell- casters.

The government should move them to an area where they are more protected and the environment is better.

Patrick Wong, Tsuen Wan

The world's largest jet fuel storage area, with a capacity of 390,000 cubic meters, has been approved by the government to be built in Tuen Mun - right next to where Chinese white dolphins live.

Large tankers laden with jet fuel will be berthing at the jetty in one of the most heavily trafficked areas in Hong Kong waters. The Marine Department has recorded that the rate of collisions of ships in the area is on the rise.

Whatever efforts we make to protect the dolphins could be futile - because the catastrophe caused by one single collision involving an oil tanker would be enough to wipe out the entire population of dolphins.

K.P.Wong, Happy Valley

So many white dolphins die each year. I think that fishers aren't being careful enough during fishing, and have accidently injured some dolphins.

I hope that the government does something more to help them - It's very painful to see so many dolphins suffer like this.

The Chinese white dolphin is a very rare species, and we should treasure them and the fact they live here. It would be very depressing if they were wiped out.

Genevieve Yam, Shouson Hill

The East Rail extensions to Ma On Shan will open at the end of the year or next year. The government is planning to cancel some of the Ma On Shan bus routes, including 81C, 87D, 85K, 86K and 681. Yet these bus routes are very important for the people who live in Sha Tin and Ma On Shan.

Many students go to school every day by these buses. The new rail line wouldn't be able to carry them directly to their schools.

Secondly, people should have a choice other than the KCR rail line. I hope the government can think about this seriously because it is very important to Ma On Shan residents.

Dennis Ma Hin Chung, Sha Tin