Harbour activists urge greater clarity on Tamar tender
Harbour activists have urged the government to be more transparent in the tender process for the new government headquarters on the Tamar site, as a special selection board will have absolute discretion to choose the winning bid.
They say the role of public opinion in the selection process has not been made sufficiently clear.
Sixty per cent of the score awarded to each bid will be based on its quality - functional and technical factors, its design and aesthetics, and planning, sustainability and environmental factors. The other 40 per cent will be determined by the plan's cost.
Within the score of 60 for a bid's qualities, design and aesthetics has a weighting of 45. This means a bid's design and aesthetic aspects will determine 27 per cent of its final score.
Scores will be decided by a technical committee chaired by Permanent Secretary for Environment, Transport and Works, Mak Chai-kwong.
Separately, a survey is being carried out by a consultant from Polytechnic University to gauge public opinion of the design and aesthetic aspect of the four proposals. The consultant is asking visitors to a touring exhibition of models and plans of the four bids to fill in a comment card saying what they feel about each of the proposals.
The exhibition is in the Heritage Discovery Centre in Kowloon Park until May 27.
The special selection board is headed by Chief Secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan; its other members are Legislative Council president Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai and Liberal Party legislator Miriam Lau Kin-yee, top civil servants Rita Lau Ng Wai-lan and Alan Lai Nin, and University of Hong Kong architecture professor David Lung Ping-yee. They will take into account the views of the technical committee and the public before making their decision.
An industry source said: 'Public opinion will be worth up to 27 marks to each bidder. So looking nice is a very, very important part of this game.'
Albert Lai Kwong-tak, a veteran engineer, said: 'What is special in this instance is that the board gets two inputs - one from the technical committee and one from the consultant.
'The board therefore has more room to manipulate, they have more grounds for changing the technical committee's marks by using the consultant's report on public opinions if they so wish.'
He said since public opinion would have a formal role in the marking, the government should make the marks awarded each bid public.
Surveyor Nicholas Brooke said: 'One could cynically take the view that this is yet another instance of government going through the motions yet ensuring that it does not have to recognise the public's preference if this does not reflect the direction in which it wishes to head.
'Heads I win, tails you lose and they have covered all bases!'
A spokesman for the Administration Wing said: 'Given the overriding need to safeguard the integrity and fairness of the tender process, the special selection board for the Tamar Development Project is the sole and final authority for assessing and marking tenders and deciding on the award of contract.'
Building on borrowed land?
Under the existing zoning plan, the half of the government HQ site nearest the harbour should all be open space, but two of the four competing designs break this condition and will need further Town Planning Board approval if they win the design tender. In these artists' drawings, the area for open space is marked by a red dotted line
Gammon - Hip Hing
Paul Y - Shui On
China State, Leighton - Yau Cee