PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 March, 2008, 12:00am

What do you think of Times Square's public space?

Times Square management is being criticised for letting out its ground floor piazza space for profit.

It has been suggested that the piazza is public space and the public has a right to use the space, and that the management has no right to stop public use of the piazza. It has even been suggested temporary exhibitions held at the piazza infringe the rights of the public. I think the government should clarify matters as soon as possible.

There are many of these open spaces in Hong Kong, designed for public use.

Often when developers create these public spaces, they get something in return. However, sometimes it is difficult for people to recognise a clear line of demarcation - to know where the public space ends and the private area begins.

That makes it difficult for people to know if they are infringing the rights of the developer. Quite often, a developer will restrict access to what may turn out to be a public area and this is clearly not in the public interest.

There must be a balance struck between the development gains and what is in the public interest. Officials have a duty to issue clarifications where grey areas are identified.

No developers should be allowed to violate any written agreements. These open spaces belong to the people.

H. C. Bee, Ho Man Tin

Should repeat animal abusers be barred from owning pets?

The problem of abuse of animals is getting worse in our society. Therefore, I am in strong agreement with those who argue that repeat animal abusers should be barred from owning pets.

Although the government has reviewed the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance and is likely to impose a heavier penalty on animal cruelty offences to act as a stronger deterrent, I don't think this goes far enough in dealing with the current problem.

People are supposed to keep pets for companionship and to make their lives more enjoyable. It is totally unacceptable for people who adopt pets to mistreat them for their own amusement.

Pets should be respected and treated as a member of the family. I think it is heartless of people, including some breeders, to abandon animals so that they become strays.

It is wrong for someone to abuse those lovely creatures.

Mandy Wong, Lam Tin

I am concerned about cases in Hong Kong of cruelty against animals.

When such acts take place, I am often taken aback by the lack of concern that some people show, even though such cruelty is fairly common.

I think it is important to get the message across in schools, so that young people realise they have to respect animals. Schools should organise lessons on moral behaviour and teach students that they must develop the correct attitude towards animals and realise that they are not toys.

People should think carefully before they buy a pet. They have to be clear that they are responsible enough to take care of the animal.

Young people have to understand the difference between right and wrong when it comes to the treatment of animals.

Vicky Choi, Tseung Kwan O

It is important for young people to realise that we should respect all animals and not hurt them, even if they are strays.

All the lives in our world should be treasured, including the lives of animals.

I think many young people do not understand the seriousness of animal abuse.

Hong Kong has many organisations that exist to protect the rights of animals. They should get more involved with educating young people about the need to respect animals.

Often when young people are involved in animal cruelty, there is an underlying reason. Maybe they are depressed because they are experiencing problems at school or in their family life.

Groups like the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals should set up special courses for these teenagers.

Such young people could be taught how to train dogs. This would help the animals and improve the self-confidence of the teenagers.

Cynthia Chang, Sau Mau Ping

On other matters ...

The Tung Hing Building, which was opposite my building on Hong Lai Road, Hung Hom, has been demolished.

It housed various doctors' clinics, private stores and a Wellcome supermarket.

Everyone benefited from the services the building provided. Now it is destined to be replaced by yet another shopping mall, just like other malls in the area.

The torturous process of demolishing and rebuilding has been going on for the past couple of months. I have noticed some very peculiar things. The hammering and pounding from the construction site starts at 7am.

I complained about this to police. An investigation revealed that the developer has a permit and is allowed to disturb residents who are trying to sleep. I have alternate Saturdays off. I think I am entitled to get a decent night's sleep at least during the weekend.

How can the government allow such things to go on in Hong Kong?

All this drilling and noise pollution has rendered this place inhospitable.

Every time I walk down my street, the air is filled with smog and dust. I cannot tolerate these living conditions and will soon move out of the neighbourhood.

As the Tung Hing Building was being demolished, I watched countless trucks filled with construction waste being taken to landfills.

I could not believe how much waste was being produced from tearing down a building that did not even need to be demolished. As I understand it, more than 80 per cent of construction waste in Hong Kong ends up in landfills. Government waste disposal facilities' charges are as low as HK$27 per tonne for construction waste and this constitutes about 27 per cent to 37 per cent of our total solid waste. The shocking news is that our landfills will be exhausted in five to seven years. After that we will be dependent on the mainland. Given this problem, the government should be very cautious about using landfills.

Tearing down a dilapidated building is feasible but a building that is not in that bad a state should not be demolished.

By allowing such buildings to be knocked down, the government is encouraging noise, air and construction pollution.

Trupti Patel, Hung Hom