Letters to the Editor, September 22, 2015

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 September, 2015, 4:59pm
UPDATED : Monday, 21 September, 2015, 4:59pm

Delays to finish bypass unacceptable

It is a disappointment that the long-awaited Wan Chai to Central bypass is delayed and not able to be in operation by the expected completion date in 2017.

What is more disappointing is that the government is not even able to give a new schedule for its completion.

Many other infrastructure projects are currently under way in Wan Chai, at the same time as the bypass, including the rebuilding of the sport and recreation centre, the harbour promenade, the refurbishing of the Causeway Bay typhoon shelter, and the Sha Tin to Central MTR.

Each project has its own merits and is implemented on its own schedule with little master planning and coordination.

Had these been better coordinated and planned, we could have saved money, effort and time in completing the projects, reducing possibilities of delays and cost.

It is most urgent to alleviate the east-west traffic on Hong Kong Island as the current corridor, namely Gloucester Road, is jammed most of the time and has been over its capacity for years. All these projects are known factors from the beginning, and contingency factors should have been built in to the original schedule of completion.

For the Wan Chai-Central bypass, the "sunken ship" has been moved and cannot be the excuse for further delays.

I urge the government to better supervise the contractors and tighten its control of the project's schedule and cost, and tell the citizens and taxpayers directly what is causing the delay.

Also, the administration has to provide a new schedule of completion.

David Lai, Wan Chai district councillor

Reclamation is not the best option

I refer to the article by Peter Kammerer ("Reclaimed land the best solution for Hong Kong's housing problem", September 17).

Hong Kong has a high population density, and the supply of housing is not enough to satisfy the demand. Reclaimed land could help to deal with the city's housing shortage. People's living standards would improve if they had a decent home to live in. However, you have to consider the environmental impact.

Reclamation projects may destroy habits for some animals. Also, some land will be used for housing instead of being used to grow trees, which are good for the environment and can help to ease pollution.

Therefore, because of the negative impact it can have, I do not think land reclamation is a good idea.

In order to solve Hong Kong's housing problem, the government should ensure it has a better urban planning strategy.

There is scope to create some new towns and have rebuilding programmes in older areas of the city.

Only better urban planning is an effective way to deal with the housing shortage problem.

Unless this is done, it does not matter how much land is reclaimed, the housing shortage will persist. Good urban planning is the key to solving this problem.

Sammi Lo Wing-sum, Sai Kung 

Taxis and Uber can coexist in city

I refer to the letter from Kelvin Lam ("Taxi drivers really need the competition", September 16).

Your correspondent said the existence in the city of car-hailing app Uber could increase the quality of taxis. The competition between Uber and taxis can also improve the service attitude of taxi drivers.

Obviously, taxis are not as attractive as Uber's vehicles. And Uber drivers tend to be better behaved. That is why so many citizens choose to go with Uber.

However I actually prefer to use taxis more frequently than Uber. Certain questions have been raised about insurance and licensing with regard to Uber.

Also, I find taxis more convenient. You have to order Uber, but most of the time you can hail a taxi on the street. You don't have to book it in advance, but you do have to book Uber and then wait until the car arrives. Also, taxis are cheaper and this is important for many people.

I don't believe that Uber can eventually replace taxis as they have been with us for so many years. However, the two transport services can coexist. Uber in a way can support taxis and give people an option.

Myron Eng Man-him, Sau Mau Ping

Obesity is now a worldwide problem

Obesity is becoming a serious problem in Hong Kong and around the world.

It affects people of all ages, including children. It is even a problem with some students who are still in primary school.

It is not something we can ignore, because it has long-term implications. If we ignore it, it will cause more problems, such as health issues, which the government will have to deal with.

I think one of the causes of obesity is lack of sleep. After a hard day at work or at school, it is often difficult for someone to get to sleep and to have a full night's sleep.

People who are tired because of this will also be unlikely to have a healthy diet. They will tend to eat more sweet, salty food and food with a lot of starch and so they will start putting on weight.

Because lack of sleep can lead to people having negative feelings, they are more likely to eat comfort food, which makes them feel a bit better while they are eating it, but of course they then put on weight.

Also, some parents see studies as the priority for their children and may not encourage them to exercise.

We should all try to exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet.

Isaac Wong, Fanling

It is good that the trams travel slowly

Some correspondents have called for the city's tram system to be modernised.

However, that could mean doing away with traditional features that make the tram so distinctive. I am not saying there should be no improvements, but it must be done carefully.

I would also be opposed to them travelling at faster speeds. Most people here lead hectic lives. Sometimes it is good to slow down a bit.

The trams are cheap, but if air conditioning was put in all of them, the cost of doing this might lead to a hike in the fare.

Chan Ka-wing, Sha Tin

Tree felling done to protect the public

I am writing about the decision taken by the government to cut down four large banyan trees in Mid-Levels.

Some people have criticised this decision and accused the Tree Management Office of not consulting with people before felling them.

I think the decision to cut them down was a good one and was done in the interests of public safety.

A heavy rainstorm had weakened the trees and it was feared they might collapse and injure passers-by.

I do not think all parties need to be consulted over cutting down trees that pose a risk.

The trees were not registered as being old and of value in heritage terms, so there was really no need for public consultation on this matter.

If a tree poses a potential risk to the public, then swift action is recommended to prevent anyone being injured. That is what happened in this case.

The trees showed signs of being unstable and it was felt the condition of them could only get worse.

There simply was not time for a long and deep discussion with different interested parties. Action had to be taken to make that street safe for everyone.

It appears from reading reports that maintenance work on the site was not going to be sufficient, as the trees were beyond saving.

I understand the point about heritage sites and their importance with regard to collective memory.

The trees may have been part of that collective memory for some people. But public safety must always take priority and that was why officials made this decision and had the trees cut down.

Wong Siu-yuk, Sham Shui Po 

Large military parade was inappropriate

I refer to the letter from Benny Wong ("Backing Xi's call for peace at parade", September 16).

I agree with your correspondent that the parade in Beijing on September 3 gave people the chance to think back to Japan's surrender at the end of the second world war.

However, I do not think this was the right way to mark that 70th anniversary.

The parade showcased the country's military power and in a sense China was showing off.

Many countries view China as a potential threat and that show of strength will only confirm their concerns.

China is a great power. But because of that, it should be one of the first countries to make an important contribution to maintaining world peace. There would have been many other ways to commemorate this important anniversary, but I do not think a military parade was the right one to choose.

Kiki Tsoi, Tseung Kwan O