More open space at North Point estate, but opera centre ruled out
The redeveloped North Point Estate will have more open space on the harbourfront, creating a new stop for tourists, according to revised proposals for the site unveiled yesterday.
However, requests by local residents for a football pitch and Cantonese opera centre have gone unheeded.
According to a new proposal submitted to the Town Planning Board yesterday by the Planning Department, 41 per cent of the site area - or 15,000 square metres - will be designated as public open space. The move helps remedy what the department says is an acute shortfall of open space in North Point.
The open space will include a piazza next to the ferry pier, a 20-metre-wide promenade, and green areas serving local residents.
They will be designed and built by the developer, while management and maintenance will be left to the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.
The developer is required to provide green areas of trees and shrubs covering at least 30 per cent of the mixed commercial and residential development site.
Residential buildings would be set back from the Island Eastern Corridor and all open space would be open to the public 24 hours a day.
To make the place more accessible, the department said the central piazza would be located close to the ferry pier to provide a focal point for leisure activities.
Two 10-metre-wide landscaped walkways along Shu Kuk Street and Kam Hong Street are planned, to bring people from the inland area to the waterfront and the ferry pier.
A subway is also proposed to connect the existing North Point MTR station on Java Road. Parking spaces would be provided for coaches carrying visitors for harbour cruises departing from the pier.
Civic Party vice-chairman Albert Lai Kwong-tak welcomed the proposal yesterday, saying the government was making progress.
'We hope the government will impose the same restrictions on waterfront sites on both sides of the harbour,' he said.
However, Eastern district councillor Frankie Lo Wing-kwan said he was disappointed that the revised plan had failed to address the problem of a shortage of recreational space in the district.
Mr Lo, who was re-elected in November's poll, said a group of fellow members from constituencies in North Point had formed a concern group and would fight for a venue for Chinese opera on the North Point Estate site.
Hong Kong's only permanent Chinese opera venue, the Sunbeam Theatre in North Point, is likely to close in August next year, when its current tenancy expires.
The Home Affairs Bureau said it was considering converting the Yau Ma Tei Theatre into a venue for Cantonese opera.
Hotel plot ratio 4.12*
Hotel site's land value estimate
41% of the whole site will be open space (15,000 sq m)
80m (20-30 storeys)
Commercial and residential
plot ratio 3.05*
Site's land value estimate
Public transport interchange
15,000 sq m
* Plot ratio equals gross floor area divided by site area
SOURCE: PLANNING DEPARTMENT AND SURVEYOR CHARLES CHAN CHIU-KWOK