PLA camp on Hong Kong’s Central harbourfront will destroy the character of iconic open space

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 April, 2017, 5:31pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 April, 2017, 9:35pm

The excellent letter from Peter A. Tanner (“Harbourfront could so easily be vibrant spot”, April 24) voiced the thinking and feelings of every member of the Hong Kong community – to whom the harbour and harbourfront belong.

It was a great disappointment that the last policy address announced the decision not to proceed with the proposed Harbourfront Authority, which would have given Hong Kong a better waterfront at Victoria Harbour.

Over the years, the government had repeatedly committed to provide the Hong Kong community with a “world-class harbourfront”. It had even brought such commitment to the attention of the law courts to justify the Central Reclamation.

Accordingly, in 10 years the Town Planning Board had approved seven outline zoning plans for the Central Reclamation – all of which had provided a continuous promenade at the Central harbourfront for public enjoyment.

A military establishment at such a prominent location would also destroy Hong Kong’s image as an open, people- friendly, commercial and touristic community

Yet, three years ago, the government and the board went back on their word and instead rezoned this most vital and sensitive section of the Central harbourfront from “public open space” to “military use” for the People’s Liberation Army.

Thus the long proposed promenade will become a military camp instead.

Such a change cannot be justified, as this will completely destroy the character, ambience and atmosphere of the Central harbourfront as a park and open space for public enjoyment. Such a military establishment at such a prominent location would also destroy Hong Kong’s image as an open, people- friendly, commercial and touristic community.

Urban planners want harbourfront markets and cafes, not cookie-cutter development

The decision contradicts all town planning principles because a military camp is totally incompatible with the leisure use of the harbourfront. Such a breach of promise is serious, as the adverse impact of a military camp on the Central Harbourfront will be permanent.

The government and the board are reminded that their primary duty and concern should be for the people of Hong Kong who deserve an attractive harbourfront environment. They should review their decision before it creates more controversy between the Hong Kong community and the PLA.

Winston Ka Sun-chu, Admiralty