Harcourt Road water pumping station relocation complies with heritage impact assessment
I refer to the article by Ken Borthwick ("Shaky grounds", June 17) concerning the heritage issues associated with the project for relocating Harcourt Road water pumping station.
Since the announcement of the new heritage conservation policy in the chief executive's policy address in 2007, the government has introduced a series of initiatives to implement this policy, having regard to rising public aspirations for the protection of the valuable built heritage in Hong Kong.
Under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance, a historic building together with its setting can be declared a monument if it is considered by the Antiquities Authority to be of public interest by reason of its historical, archaeological or palaeontological significance.
A site with heritage significance can be adequately protected under the current law.
In addition, a heritage impact assessment mechanism has been introduced for all new capital works projects involving historic and built heritage. For these new projects, the project proponents and relevant works departments will be required to consider whether their operations will affect any heritage sites.
The project for relocating the Harcourt Road water pumping station has followed strictly in accordance with this mechanism and the assessment has identified all the possible heritage impact and required mitigation measures.
Even though the old stone wall is not considered as part of the monument, the heritage impact assessment concluded that this wall, comprising granite stone pieces, has only a moderate level of significance in respect of historical value.
The report was accepted by the Antiquities and Monuments Office of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and supported by the Antiquities Advisory Board. We will implement all the mitigation measures as part of the project to the satisfaction of Antiquities and Monuments Office.
In addition, we would like to point out that the project will involve 120 affected trees (not 135 as stated in the letter) and 31 trees to be transplanted (not 26 as stated in the letter) and that the minimum distance between the proposed pumping station and Flagstaff House is 10 metres (not a few metres as stated in the letter).
David Wong, senior engineer/public relations, Water Supplies Department