Waterfront Park needs legal protection

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 July, 2011, 12:00am


One of the largest parks on Hong Kong Island has no statutory protection. The Waterfront Park at Cyberport is zoned as a road. The government could pour concrete over it and turn it into a six-lane highway tomorrow if it wanted to. To be sure, there is no plan for that, or at least none that we know of. But that is hardly reassuring.

A depot right next door is already collecting debris from an island-wide underground drainage project. Next year, it will serve as a transit point for huge amounts of construction waste from the MTR's planned South Island Line. More than 100 waste-carrying heavy trucks are expected to move in and out of the area every day. Will there not be a temptation to widen existing roads or even build a new one?

Pok Fu Lam, with university campuses, schools and low-rise housing blocks, is a low-density neighbourhood with few public facilities. The public park plus dog park, therefore, has become a focal point for many community activities, family outings, dog walking and daily exercise for people young and old.

The park's forlorn status stems from an old plan to build Route 4 linking Aberdeen and Kennedy Town. The plan was scrapped but the park's status was never corrected. Cyberport took over its management, but is not doing a good job. Grass goes uncut, fences are breaking down. Understandably, Cyberport management, wanting to focus on information technology, wants to give up the park.

Either a new, possibly commercial body should take over the park and nearby shopping arcade, or the Leisure and Cultural Services Department should manage it, as it does for most public parks. But first let's grant the park the legal protection it needs and rezone it as a recreational area.