Change of heart needed from officials over Mega Tower

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 August, 2008, 12:00am

It seems to me that with the proposed Mega Tower in Wan Chai, the government is trying to bend the rules and failing to adhere to its own standards to meet the needs of a specific developer at the expense of other property owners in the area.

The long-established policy has been that commercial activities of the district are bordered on Queen's Road East. Any commercial development north of there must have access on to Queen's Road East. I know of no commercial building that does not have such access. Most people and cars access Hopewell Holdings' Hopewell Centre via this road, even if there is car-park access via Kennedy Road. A commercial development without access on to Queen's Road East is in violation of the government's own policy.

Hopewell Holdings' proposed Mega Tower has no access on to Queen's Road East. Any development north of the road and with no such access, is deemed non-commercial and mostly residential. Without that necessary access, Kennedy Road will have to bear the brunt of the traffic the new building generates. Given that it will be a hotel, there will be a particular kind of traffic specifically large buses. But Kennedy Road is not designed to handle this kind of traffic on a regular basis. It already has too many buses serving schools and Hong Kong Park. I am concerned that with so many oversized vehicles the problem that already exists will be exacerbated and I fear that if a bus crosses over into the oncoming traffic lane, we could see a head-on collision. There is at least one point on Kennedy Road where a large bus could not negotiate the bend without having to cross over and face oncoming traffic.

As the Mega Tower is such a massive building the government is trying to restrict other property owners' development plans in the Kennedy Road area, by limiting their development ratio and height, even though such projects would have far less impact than the Mega Tower when it comes to traffic, height and views.

Officials sometimes make incorrect rulings. However, there is still time to reverse the decisions that have been made over the Mega Tower.

A. Chow, Central