Harbour body will not be a new bureaucratic ‘empire’
The waterfront watchdog has pledged that the statutory body being set up to manage the harbour will not be an "empire".
"We have to convince people it will not be another Urban Renewal Authority or West Kowloon Cultural District Authority," Harbourfront Commission chairman Nicholas Brooke said. "We are not building another empire." Brooke was speaking to business leaders as part of the consultation on plans for a harbour authority, for which a law is expected to be drafted by 2015.
He said such concerns were raised in meetings with six of the nine district councils whose districts adjoin the harbour's 73 kilometre shoreline. The public is being asked whether the authority should keep or replace the advisory commission.
Brooke said the future authority would start by managing only part of the 50 kilometres of shoreline owned by the government, including Central, Wan Chai and the boardwalk under the East Island Corridor, extended from Causeway Bay to North Point.
He added that the authority should balance commercial interests and social needs.
"Some councillors were worried that the authority would do little, with an overpaid management team. They fear it would end up as a bureaucracy," commission member Vincent Ng Wing-shun said. "But we have been working for the past nine years, and have conducted planning studies and completed some quick-win projects."
Brooke and Ng also cited people's selfishness as a barrier to an attractive waterfront. Brooke said the reluctance of boat owners to open up typhoon shelters for recreation was one case. Ng said the failure to open up a harbourfont cycle path was another.
The four-month consultation will end next month.