Rail link affected by harbour ruling

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 March, 2008, 12:00am

Construction of the cross-harbour section of the Sha Tin-Central rail line may be further delayed as a result of last week's ruling against temporary reclamation in the harbour for construction of a waterfront road, the transport chief warned yesterday.

The government is still considering whether to appeal against a High Court judge's decision that temporary reclamation in the harbour is subject to the same rules as permanent reclamation.

The judgment concerned reclamation for the proposed Central-Wan Chai bypass, which the government says will ease traffic congestion in Causeway Bay, Wan Chai and Central.

But the rail link would be affected since building the city's fourth cross- harbour tunnel required land on the harbourfront, Secretary for Transport and Housing Eva Cheng told the Legislative Council's railways subcommittee.

Mr Justice Michael Hartmann granted an application by the Society for the Protection of the Harbour for a declaration that 10.7 hectares of temporary reclamation in and around Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter was subject to the 1997 ordinance, which established a strong presumption against reclamation of the harbour.

Ms Cheng said the High Court's stance was very unfortunate.

'We believe the projects do have an overriding interest [over the constraints on reclamation].'