• Mon
  • Sep 15, 2014
  • Updated: 1:39pm
NewsHong Kong
URBAN PLANNING

Waterfront authority ‘with teeth’ could cut red tape

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 October, 2013, 4:05pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 October, 2013, 3:35am
 

The city needs to set up a harbourfront authority with executive power as a solution to improving the design of the waterfront and adding vibrancy to it, a watchdog says.

Such a body would relieve waterfront projects of the red tape and bureaucratic mindset that now fragmented the execution of any proposal, depending on the government agencies involved, the Harbourfront Commission said.

It also said that such an authority could reduce the time needed for waterfront projects to about three years, from the current five.

"You need an agency to deliver - in terms of planning, design, management and operation - in order to deliver the waterfront that Hong Kong deserves," commission chairman Nicholas Brooke said.

The commission launched a public consultation yesterday to gauge opinion on the need to form a one-stop dedicated body overseeing the harbourfront.

The three-month exercise will seek views on the composition of the new authority - whether it should recruit civil servants from government agencies or form an independent staffing team.

Residents can also discuss if the commission should be retained to serve as a watchdog of the authority's performance.

The commission was formed in 2010 to replace the harbourfront-enhancement committee, which monitored harbour areas after the government pledged to stop reclamation in 2004.

But with no executive power, it has been an advisory body of professionals and community representatives. Harbourfront management is the shared responsibility of more than 10 departments, depending on the land use.

Brooke said the authority could start with a "very modest approach", with the ultimate goal of managing all areas along the 73-kilometre waterfront. "It should start slowly, for example, with the newly reclaimed areas in Central and Wan Chai."

Asked if the authority could resolve land-use conflicts, such as public opposition to the rezoning of open space into a pier for the PLA, he said Hong Kong was not alone in facing such an issue.

He cited Singapore, Sydney and Auckland as examples, which shared their waterfront experiences in a forum held by the commission yesterday.

"Three of the four cities have military facilities in the harbour. We are not unusual by any means," Brooke said.

"Like us, they say they live with it. They live with the facilities and extend the possibility of public enjoyment when [the facilities] are not being used for military purposes."

Vincent Ng Wing-shun, a commission member, said: "The authority should be able to strike a balance. It wouldn't allow a mall at the waterfront selling only milk formula and gold."

 

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This article is now closed to comments

pauluszimmerman
To decide on the framework for the Harbourfront Authority we need answers:
1. How will the Authority coordinate plan making for Victoria harbour as a whole?
2. How will decisions be made which sites and facilities to vest in the Authority?
3. How will the Harbourfront Authority be accountable to the public?
4. How can its independence be ensured?
wwong888
lets have a consultation about putting together a committee to decide who will make up the members of said consultation panel, with the goal of setting up a consultation to then decide the key issues for this debate, and afterwards we can then set up the authority, which can then hold its first consultation to determine its priorities... this is how our moronic government operates... f-ck the SAR government!
johnyuan
The Harborfront Commission was set not by CY Leung but he should review the Commission of its mission and its membership. At this point, I am not at ease that the Financial Secretary spoke at the symposium about “unleash the full potential”. The fact of all these seems have our harborfront all figured out for economic development under the leadership of the Financial Secretary. It is a strange choice of leader especially his citing of those great cities to emulate.
……
I pray for an appropriate leader. Immediate damage control must be exercised by CY Leung to save our harborfront.
XYZ
In the interests of community harmony, I humbly suggest that we fill the harbor with concrete, build luxury housing above ground and put free accommodation for the masses in the Cross Harbour Tunnel. Then we will have achieved the perfect Eloi - Morlock situation. Even the Heung Yee **** would approve. Pity about the Star Ferry, but we can buy them off with a land swap. Problem solved before sundown and I'm still in time for the opera! Pip! Pip!
 
 
 
 
 

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