Shopping mall should not be built on Government Hill
I was disappointed to learn that the administration planned to sell half of Government Hill to a developer to build an office tower and a shopping mall.
The site is a unique part of the history of Hong Kong. It has been associated with the government from the foundation of the city to the present day.
It is therefore very important that the integrity of the site is protected. To sell what I estimate to be half of the site to a developer is a mistake and it cannot be rectified later. A commercial use with a shopping mall will permanently demean the historic value of the site.
If one looks closely at the Development Bureau's proposed plan, about half of Government Hill will be excavated to a great depth to form a five-storey shopping mall, which is 13,500 square metres in size, together with a car park. The green space, which the government claims will be public open space. will merely be a 'green roof' on top of the shopping mall. Again the 11 old and valuable trees on site, which the government claims will be protected, may become big potted bonsai on top of this mall, and we have no idea how many trees will be felled in the redevelopment process.
In fact, the removal of Government Hill for this development proves that Hong Kong is now ruled by developers. Hongkongers will forever be reminded of this when they see the complex.
A much better arrangement would be for the whole site to remain in public ownership. It would be a beautiful gesture if the government could return this site to Hong Kong people by finding new public uses for the buildings. By removing the fences and opening the entire area to the public, people could enjoy the green space freely and at the same time utilise the west wing office space, which could be converted to a variety of uses.
Hong Kong people deserve a better-protected Government Hill. It will be very sad if this valuable site is to become a 'Developer's Hill'.
Katty Law, Central