PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 September, 2007, 12:00am

Why HK needs a harbour authority

The proposal by the Harbour Enhancement Committee to the government, that the committee be given statutory powers to transform it into a harbour authority to take over management of the waterfront, should be widely supported.

The establishment of such an authority will follow the example of other cities with a good harbour. For example, Sydney Harbour is managed by the Sydney Harbour Development Authority.

It would be particularly important for Hong Kong, because our government has conflicting roles. On the one hand, it is our largest producer of land through harbour reclamation and derives almost one-third of its total revenue from land sales and other sources of income directly and indirectly related to land, such as government rent, property tax, rates, stamp duty and profits tax from developers.

On the other hand, it is the administration of Hong Kong with a duty to protect the harbour and the environment. Hong Kong almost lost its harbour because of these conflicting roles as the government was more concerned with its role as landowner rather than its role as protector of the harbour.

The Protection of the Harbour Ordinance, enacted in 1997, constituted the harbour a 'special public asset' and a 'natural heritage of Hong Kong people'.

It is therefore right and proper for a harbour authority to be formed with proper public representation so that the community could decide on the future of the harbour and the harbourfront.

Winston K. S. Chu, adviser, Society for Protection of the Harbour

Floods would be devastating

I was concerned by the report, 'Warming may drown Guangzhou by 2050' (August 30).

I am no environmental expert, but wish to express my fears as a citizen.

It made me think of the disaster film The Day After Tomorrow.

Neither governments nor individuals have done enough to stop global warming and so the problem has got worse. It is affecting us in Hong Kong, where we are experiencing small temperature rises.

We can cope with this problem by drinking more water or turning on a fan.

But what if the situation deteriorated, so that people actually lost their homes?

Industrial development in the past few decades has helped boost China's economy, which is a good thing. The main benefactors of this boom have been the millions of people living in China's prosperous coastal cities.

But what if we allow a situation to unfold where 1,150 sq km of land in Guangdong lies under water by 2050?

The economic losses incurred by the nation would be astronomical.

We should see environmental protection as a necessary form of investment, which can prevent economic loss and save lives. I praise the work of those environmentalists who are working to protect our world.

However, governments around the world have to act now.

If they do not then disaster films like The Day After Tomorrow will no longer just be works of fiction.

Leon Tam, Tsuen Wan

Shoe shiners cannot lose

I agree with most of the points made by Glen Norris in his article, 'British style democracy? You can keep it' (September 3).

Lord Malloch-Brown represents a country that has an unelected head of state and an unelected second chamber.

He has a title 'Lord', which represents the continuing legacy of a feudal system, so he is hardly in a position to lecture other countries on how they should manage their own affairs ( I am, by the way, English). That aside, the continuing discussion on universal suffrage centres around the 'consultation of the public's views' process.

I would have thought that the simplest way to consult the public would be to let them vote on it.

Ask a simple question 'Do you want universal suffrage in 2012?' Tick the box Yes or No.

The shoe shiners who state that Hongkongers are now taking a 'rational view' should feel confident that the No vote would prevail and therefore they have nothing to fear in having a universal vote on the question.

If, on the other hand, Hong Kong were to vote Yes, it would prove what they have been saying all along, that Hong Kong people are obviously too immature to acquire universal suffrage at this time, so it can be put on the back burner.

No - they win, Yes - they win. Perfect.

Michael Jenkins, Central

Sad end for young shark

We were saddened to learn of the death of the young shark at Hoi Ha Wan. In a sense the youngster was a guest at our Marine Life Centre, arriving promptly at 4.15pm every day. What a fascinating and beautiful creature he or she was.

The shark was caught in a net by a fisherman who was seeking to catch fish not sharks. It was caught by mistake.

This does raise a question for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. Why do they tolerate fishing with nets in marine parks? The purpose of these parks is to help conserve the marine ecosystem, which includes fish and habitat. Allowing fishing defeats their stated purpose.

Eric Bohm, chief executive officer, WWF Hong Kong

New resort was a let-down

Where does glamour meet romance? Certainly not at the Venetian resort in Macau.

I understood there would be more than 100 hotel transfer shuttle buses waiting for people at the pier at Macau.

However, when I arrived I could not even see the front of the queue and I stood waiting for 30 minutes in sweltering heat.

Checking in took me a total of 45 minutes, which I would expect in what is supposed to be a five-star hotel. I found it such an insulting experience.

It is called a resort and yet I could not find anywhere quiet enough to relax and read a book. Wherever I went it was crowded. There were thousands of people, not just in the casino.

The view outside my room was of a construction site.

It must seem idiotic, but I have booked more nights at the Venetian resort.

However, although I will go back, I was disappointed by my first experience of the resort and how they could make such a mess of things.

Andy Cheung, Central

Malls can lead by example

Despite urgings from environmental groups, I have noted that not all public places switching their air-conditioning systems to the recommended temperature of around 25 degrees Celsius.

I am aware that temperatures are rising and sometimes I have difficulty breathing in busy areas of the city.

Surely, these public places, like shopping malls, should be leading by example.

They should be adopting all kinds of energy-saving measures and adjusting the temperatures of air-conditioners is an important first step.

Only if we all co-operate can we hope to see clear skies again in Hong Kong.

Borromeo Li Ka-kit, Kwun Tong