Underground South Island MTR line is the only sensible solution

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 October, 2009, 12:00am

Will common sense prevail? Will the MTR Corporation build the South Island Line underground?

Apparently now the proposed viaduct for the line outside the rehabilitation centre for the mentally disabled in Wong Chuk Hang will be lower than originally planned ('MTR moves rail viaduct to appease hostel, but temple left out in the cold', October 9).

It is, in effect, admitting that this line will be a noise and visual polluter to the residents there.

Let's take it one major stage lower and put it underground where it should be.

That way it will not disturb the residents of the rehabilitation centre, nor the Holy Spirit Seminary occupants, nor the egrets nesting in trees nearby. In fact, it will not disturb anyone.

There will be, of course, a lot of disturbance during the construction period but by building the line above ground the nuisance will be permanent. And what is more, it will lead to any connection to Aberdeen and the West Island Line being built in the same way.

I have yet to see what the MTR Corp has planned for the areas that it will receive as part of the South Island Line scheme.

Are we to expect yet another high-rise, high-density residential development, above yet another shopping centre?

Or will there even be two such developments, as there are two sites involved here - Wong Chuk Hang and the bus depot, between the Aberdeen Sports Hall and the ever-growing buildings currently being built at Ocean Park?

That will be two major shopping centres and high-density living within a matter of 500 metres or so of each other.

Given the history of this company, I can say with assuredness that the MTR Corp will not be building low-density, three-storey buildings that match the current height of buildings in nearby Shouson Hill.

It will undoubtedly be as big and as dense as they can make it, because this is where their profit margin comes from.

Once again, I wish to add my voice to the many thousands of Southern District residents who signed a petition opposing the above-ground South Island Line.

Yes, Hong Kong wants and needs solutions to its traffic problems, but not above ground - not any more. And certainly not by using the cheapest means of building a railway to service the area, while maximising its own profits.

M. Jones, Shouson Hill