Central Government Offices can be a 'one-stop public complaints' site

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 November, 2011, 12:00am


I completely agree with Katty Law, convenor of the Government Hill Concern Group ('Plans to sell off Government Hill display ignorance and irresponsibility', November 19).

The authorities should be more aware of the long-established public symbolism associated with Government Hill, and pay less heed to short-term money-making schemes involving favoured developers. The west wing of the Central Government Offices nestles unobtrusively into the hillside between Ice House Street and Lower Albert Road and was so designed not to interfere with the environs of Government House, the chief executive's official residence, situated immediately behind at Upper Albert Road.

The revamped plans released by Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor show that twin glass-walled 32-storey commercial towers will dominate Government House. This symbolically will help confirm the widely held view that the property tycoons wield too much influence over our chief executive. The government will also directly influence the relocation of the stock exchange to this privately developed commercial building. This move indicates poor strategic thinking as the present Central location of the exchange is better. Also placing it within Government Hill is again emblematic of the overblown status that the stock exchange has been given by senior officials in Hong Kong affairs.

There is no good reason why the existing office building cannot continue to be used for public purpose by government. The structure is sound and the architecture is strongly representative of 1950s functional design, and one of the best examples still standing in Hong Kong. It should not be demolished and senior officials must do much more than pay lip service to the concepts of sustainability.

The access at Queen's Road Central is convenient for the public. I therefore suggest bodies that monitor government performance and require a direct interface with members of the community establish offices there, organisations such as the Ombudsman, the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Consumer Council and the Legal Aid Department.

Having a 'one-stop public complaints building' at Government Hill would be a way of showing that our government is transparent, values good governance, and respects the interests and opinions of the individual. This would be more meaningful than Mrs Lam's tactical pro-developer profit plans.

Charlie Chan, Mid-Levels