People want greener harbour: poll

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 February, 2006, 12:00am

Two-thirds of Hong Kong people think reclamation of Victoria Harbour has been excessive and almost 90 per cent want a greener harbourfront, a survey carried out for a business coalition shows.

Four-fifths of respondents to the Harbour Business Forum's poll agree the harbour symbolises the success and prosperity of Hong Kong and is valuable to the city's people.

But only 46 per cent rate the harbour's present state as 'good' or 'very good'.

The telephone poll conducted by AC Nielsen interviewed 1,039 people, making it the most comprehensive and statistically significant of its kind, the forum said.

Those with negative views of the harbour cited several reasons: reclamation had narrowed its reach (48 per cent); poor air quality (38 per cent); poor water quality (57 per cent); and the level of greening (31 per cent).

'The survey provides impressive depth into the feelings of Hongkongers toward our harbour and is a sign of our increasingly confident and articulate society,' Harbour Business Forum chairman and HSBC chief operations officer Andrew Long said.

'It serves as a benchmark and we have no doubt that this will be of great value to all in the community and will affect any future public undertakings and decisions made related to Victoria Harbour.'

Despite mounting opposition, the government has insisted on going ahead with reclamation off Central, Wan Chai and Southeast Kowloon.

Last night, a government spokesman said it would not consider further reclamation.

'The government is committed to transforming the Victoria Harbour into a harbour for the people - a harbour full of life and activity that is easily accessible for the enjoyment of all,' the spokesman said.

The Harbour Business Forum, formed in June, is a coalition of 120 of the city's businesses, professional organisations and chambers of commerce, on a mission to make the harbour a sustainable world-class asset.

Among its members are HSBC, Jardine Matheson, Wharf (Holdings) and the Swire Group.