Kai Tak roads may be moved to give public access to harbourfront

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 May, 2010, 12:00am

Roads around the former airport runway at Kai Tak could be set back from the waterfront and made narrower to open the area for the public to enjoy, the government suggests.

The change in the layout was in response to last year's criticism by an NGO that the original road plans for the development of Kai Tak into a cruise terminal was a disaster, dominating 80 per cent of the waterfront.

The Development Bureau, reporting on the progress of the Kai Tak project in a Legislative Council paper released yesterday, said it was fine-tuning the layout.

'We are looking into possible improvement measures such as increasing the width of promenades, reducing the [width] of roads along the waterfront, and introducing greater vibrancy to those areas,' it said.

An option was to move the roads along the former runway away from the waterfront, paving the way for the construction of promenades.

A government spokesman also said in a press briefing yesterday that landscaped decks on footbridges above the roads would be added, and the bureau would consult the public before firming up proposals.

The original road plans for the Kai Tak project, which were released last year, would cost about HK$1 billion, together with works to convert a taxiway bridge into other uses. The design barred public access to 80 per cent of the waterfront area, Designing Hong Kong, an NGO concerned with urban development, then said.

It urged the government to set back the roads, following the harbour design examples of Singapore, Sydney, Vancouver and Capetown, to provide more space for activities.

The remnants of Lun Tsun stone bridge, built in the 1870s to welcome Qing dynasty (1644-1911) officials when they arrived, would be preserved for their historical value.

A public consultation has begun and land use zonings around the bridge need to be refined to accommodate preservation requirements.

The Kai Tak development into a cruise terminal, and residential, commercial and community facilities covers more than 320 hectares will be completed in three phases in 2013, 2016 and 2021.

The Kai Tak Office, which opened in March, will draw up a framework on urban design specifics such as the green ratio, the gaps between buildings and themed areas.