PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 July, 2008, 12:00am

What do you think of the Tsim Sha Tsui piazza?

I refer to the letter from Mary Melville of Tsim Sha Tsui (Talkback, July 7).

Apparently, there has been some misunderstanding by Ms Melville about the proposed development of a piazza in Tsim Sha Tsui. I am writing to clarify the situation so that your readers are not misled.

This piazza project was initiated by the Tourism Commission with the objective of providing a public open space at the site of the existing public transport interchange outside the Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry pier, for leisure use by both local residents and visitors.

According to the existing land use restrictions and the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines respectively, commercial use is not permitted at this district open space. Building site coverage is limited to no more than 10 per cent of the site area.

Based on the results of public consultation over the past year, we put forward some proposed development parameters for the piazza project to the panel on economic development of the Legislative Council on June 23. Concerning the functions and uses of the future piazza, we have proposed the following:

Landscaping with trees, greenery, lawn areas and seating for passive enjoyment;

Open space to cater for a multitude of public activities such as cultural and art performances, mini concerts and art exhibitions, outdoor carnivals and the New Year countdown;

Provision of outside seating accommodation which operates on a makeshift basis for alfresco dining, and facilities which are ancillary and incidental to the piazza including souvenir and food kiosks - a visitor information centre may be considered; and

Provision of shelters and covered walkways, which shall not obstruct the 'openness' of the piazza, could be considered to help locals and visitors travel to and from the Star Ferry pier.

Clearly, we have no intention of constructing any shopping mall at the site. If your correspondent is interested in knowing more about the proposed piazza project, detailed information including planning intentions and proposed development parameters are available at the Tourism Commission's website at:

Winifred Chung, for Commissioner for Tourism

On other matters ...

The A-level exam results were announced at the end of last month.

Students looking to the future should realise that studying in a local university is not the only choice available. Another popular option is an associate degree programme. However, when I think about this form of study, I am reminded of students studying an associate nursing degree course that the Nursing Council refused to recognise.

Before choosing a suitable associate degree programme, students should first consider three factors - the quality of the course, whether or not it is recognised, and how easy it will be for that associate degree graduate to get a place on a full degree course. The first factor is the one that concerns me most.

I am concerned that some colleges look at the financial viability of a course, rather than the needs of students. They might lower admission standards to generate more revenue. The standard and quality of many courses could then drop dramatically.

If colleges fail to upgrade their programmes to a reasonable level, the associate degree programmes become pointless. Students cannot benefit without a proper learning programme.

Before deciding on what course to go for, students should check whether the degree is accredited by the relevant local or overseas professional agencies.

This is particularly important for disciplines such as accountancy, nursing and pharmacy. If students make these checks, they can avoid having the experience of the students on the nursing course to which I referred.

They will have to ensure there are sufficient places if they want to go on and do a full degree course. They have to appreciate they will face stiff competition to get a place on a degree course.

Although the associate degree is another option for Form Seven graduates, it still has a lot of shortcomings. The government has to address the problems.

Candy Ho Sin-hang, Tsing Yi

I wish to comment on the general outpatient clinics' phone appointment service provided by the Hospital Authority.

The idea of the phone appointment service is to better serve the needs of the general public, especially the elderly. However, it is not achieving its aims.

A lot of elderly people find it difficult to use. People input their Hong Kong identity card number and date of birth by phone in order to make a reservation. Many old people find this difficult because they have poor eyesight. Others cannot remember their ID card number. Clearly, the system is not user-friendly for the elderly.

Also, patients must register at a specific clinic before using the system. Then a patient gets a number for that clinic. Patients can make an appointment at the clinic only where they are registered. Surely it would be better for the clinics to share their data via the internet. Why can there not be one phone number to make all reservations?

It may be a state-of-the-art system, but I do not believe it is providing a better health-care service. It cannot show the remaining quota in each clinic and patients cannot choose their appointment time. The system 'automatically' generates a time slot and the patient is not given a choice.

The government is proposing health-care reforms to provide a high-quality health care service. The new appointment system is not helping to achieve that aim.

K. L. Siu, Tsing Yi

I refer to the report ('HK households slow to switch to HD television', July 7).

Recently the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, TVB and ATV sent documents to the chairmen of incorporated owners of buildings in a bid to promote high-definition television.

Given that the bureau is dealing with overseas companies, and TVB and ATV both have English programme channels, it is negligent that these letters are solely in Chinese.

With these letters in Chinese only, this promotion effort is not as effective as it should be. May I suggest that our government change its slogan from ' Asia's world city' to 'World's Asian city'.

Roger Emmerton, Wan Chai