Resolutions government must keep to make HK a better place

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 January, 2011, 12:00am

Hong Kong needs to make some New Year's resolutions to mend its dirty, selfish ways. Our government has a responsibility to make these resolutions and, importantly, to keep them. So, for the benefit of us all, I have a wish list for 2011.

As was proved during the World Trade Organisation meeting in 2005, a smoother flow of traffic along the waterfront will occur when the three harbour tunnels charge the same amount. Make it happen through subsidies, if that is the only way. In a domino effect, this single act will make a positive impact upon air pollution and related traffic.

For example, the Aberdeen tunnel has become the longer, dearer way to Central from the south. The congestion would improve radically were the Central end of the tunnel not permanently jammed.

Also, could we please install yellow box cameras at congested junctions all over Hong Kong? For example, there is a yellow box at the end of Queen's Road East, opposite the racecourse, that is likely to trigger Hong Kong's first chopper-wielding road-rage incident. If we had these cameras, a dramatic improvement in air quality would result from improved traffic conditions. The government's failure to alleviate poor air quality is a slap in the face to us all.

The MTR Corporation should have the transport needs of Hong Kong as its core mandate, shareholders or no. The decision not to build an MTR station to service the racecourse is disgraceful. The Jockey Club, which profits from racegoers, should also take some responsibility for traffic havoc on race days. A compromise on costs should have been reached between the government, the Jockey Club and the MTR Corp.

A great deal of residential building is also taking place at this end of Queen's Road East and in Happy Valley, which will add to the congestion. This trend should be reversed.

We do not need another mall in Central. Lower Albert Road is one of the last, historic, low-rise areas in the centre of our city. The existing buildings need only be refurbished to provide excellent office space. We must learn to renovate, preserving our collective heritage, instead of bulldozing. Every time a building is slated for destruction, we add to the pollution and to the strain placed on our landfills. The government and the Urban Renewal Authority need a new attitude.

Extending a landfill into Clear Water Bay Country Park was an idea that deserved the outrage it generated. Hong Kong clearly needs incinerators and a comprehensive recycling plan.

Furthermore, recycling cannot be expected to work effectively until all households have one bin for glass, one for refuse and one for paper.

Lastly, we would like to live in a home of our own. Please curb foreign speculators but allow tax-paying citizens to buy property without having to rob a bank to get the deposit together.

As Benjamin Franklin said, 'Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.'

Karen Prochazka, Shouson Hill