Hotel developers object to bypass tunnel proposal

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 December, 2007, 12:00am

A company in partnership with Li Ka-shing's flagship Cheung Kong (Holdings) in a proposed North Point hotel has complained that the project would be adversely affected by the tunnel proposed for the Central-Wan Chai bypass.

Fook Lee Holdings said the tunnel would end outside the site in King Wah Road in North Point, where Fook Lee and Cheung Kong have proposed since 2005 to build a hotel.

In a submission to the Town Planning Board, the company said a flyover, which would require less reclamation and have less impact on its site, would be a better option.

The tunnel option, favoured by the government, would require 15 hectares of reclamation while the flyover would need only 11.5 hectares, the company pointed out.

From this week, the board is hearing objections to the outline zoning plans for North Point and Wan Chai North. Both plans were amended because of the construction of the Central-Wan Chai bypass, which runs from Central to the Island Eastern Corridor at North Point.

Fook Lee Holdings is among 10 objectors to the North Point plan while there have been 700 objections to the Wan Chai North plan.

In its submission, Fook Lee said the flyover option would require only 11.5 hectares of reclamation if the 'flyover structure over water' was not treated as reclamation.

It said that under the tunnel plan the bypass could encroach on its site, which faces the Island Eastern Corridor next to Harbour Heights.

Government consultants and harbour activists have said the flyover would have more visual impact, despite causing less reclamation.

Leung Kong-yui, who chaired the bypass project for the Harbourfront Enhancement Committee, said the public apparently preferred the tunnel to the flyover during public consultation, stressing that legal advice said a 'flyover structure over water' did not fulfil the objective of protecting the harbour.

'But it is true that the bypass portal might encroach on the hotel site, which would require compensation from the government,' he added.

A spokesman for the Transport and Housing Bureau said an environment impact assessment was conducted on the bypass and the report was submitted to the Environmental Protection Department in October. He said the tunnel option was examined by the Harbourfront Enhancement Committee and was considered to involve the minimum extent of reclamation.

Objectors to the Wan Chai North plan include Wharf Estate Development, which is trying to stop the government from moving a Tin Hau temple affected by the works to its dockyard in Causeway Bay.

MTR Corporation also objected to the requirement of sports facilities at its station for the Sha Tin-Central Link on Convention Avenue in Wan Chai.

It said the site should be reserved for commercial development with the station.