Donald Tsang

Development chief backtracks over walk

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 November, 2009, 12:00am

With the harbour reclamation work all but finished, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor thought it might be a good time to show good faith by joining activists on their annual waterfront walk.

But she changed her mind after protesters renewed their calls for the government to stop reclamation and cease using harbourfront areas for commercial activities.

'I thought this year was a good occasion for me to join the harbour day, to walk with them,' she said, referring to the fourth annual walk organised by the Society for Protection of the Harbour. 'I thought we had common ground.

'[But] I don't want to argue any more on reclamation. There's no more reclamation. The biggest challenge is to find ways to deliver a vibrant and beautiful harbourfront,' she said. The protesters' stance 'gave me no room to extend my goodwill, which is sad'.

Lam insisted that old reclamation plans, such as the one proposed for the former airport site at Kai Tak, were no longer relevant as the areas were covered by new outline zoning plans endorsed by the chief executive and the Executive Council.

But she said the tradition of harbour day should continue. 'It need not be a protest or finger-pointing occasion. It can be an occasion to remind ourselves that there's still a lot of work to do on the harbourfront.'

Plans for the harbourfront have only become part of the chief executive's policy addresses in the past two years. This year, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen also endorsed what the Harbour Business Forum advocated while giving details of the actions proposed for conserving the Central area.

'If I'm not making a difference to Hong Kong, I will quit,' the secretary said. 'Why bother staying?'