• Wed
  • Aug 27, 2014
  • Updated: 4:56pm
NewsHong Kong
HARBOURFRONT

Controversial plan to rezone Central harbourfront land for PLA dock gets green light

Town Planning Board unanimously approves proposal which means People's Liberation Army will decide when public can access prime 0.3 hectare site

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 February, 2014, 1:37pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 February, 2014, 2:28am

The government is studying the need to amend a law to ensure the public can freely enjoy the military pier on the Central waterfront when it is not in use by the People's Liberation Army, sources close to the government said.

Yesterday the government secured approval from the Town Planning Board to rezone the dock area of 0.3 hectares from open space to military use, ending a year-long process.

Legal experts said the green light, given despite huge public opposition, would create management and enforcement problems. Amendments to the law were necessary to ensure a clear right of use, including protest, they said.

The sources said the Security Bureau was studying the need to amend the Public Order Ordinance, under which a person entering any place occupied by the PLA must obtain a permit from the garrison's commander. The Security Bureau did not reply when asked if it was considering a legislative amendment.

Eric Cheung Tat-ming, a principal law lecturer at the University of Hong Kong, said the ordinance did not deal with sometimes-military, sometimes- public land. It was also unclear if protests on the site would require the PLA's approval, he said.

"It must be clarified under what circumstances the land will be classified as a closed area and when it is an open space," said Cheung, who is also a member of the Independent Police Complaints Council.

Senior counsel Gladys Li said it was "procedurally flawed" that the government did not make necessary legislative changes prior to tabling the issue with the Town Planning Board. "It is very unclear who would be administering the site when it's for public access," she said.

The unanimous decision by the board yesterday morning was criticised for ignoring a majority of public views. "It is a political decision ... it means the land would be ceded to the PLA," said lawmaker Kenneth Chan Ka-lok of the Civic Party.

The board was flooded with more than 19,000 public comments after the government's rezoning application last February. Only 20 supported the rezoning., which will become officially effective when it secures approval from the Executive Council.

 

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18

This article is now closed to comments

TDHK
this was the new park for HK citizens to enjoy - in front of the new prime land government offices... Kai Tak would be a better option.
John Adams
We had HMS Tamar for over one hundred years and never complained .
The PLA took over all Tamar bases under the handover agreement.
So what's the big fuss after we extended the shoreline ?
The PLA will even give us access to most of the land area most of the time
This whole thing is a storm in a teacup
nicolas
why this RUBBISH government body don't ever think what is for the best and would benefit the HKSAR citizen...they always look upon to the communist party...shame on you....
rpasea
Here's a suggestion: a barracks in the middle of the harbour is not in a great location strategically. There is a military base at a much better location in Stanley so build a berth there and move the PLA garrison leaving the harbor for civilians.
vsa1
Or, even the old naval base at Stone Cutter's Island?
amunro
I bet they'll close it off now and again as a punishment when Hong Kongers are naughty!
vsa1
There must be a editing mistake here. The definition of unanimous has to do with everyone approving not bending over and receiving pressure.
ianson
PLA oblivious to 99.9% popular opposition. What hope for any sort of democracy here?
artdig18
Seriously what's the fuss? The British had HMS Tamar and that was on the waterfront. So it is merely an access replacement.
mercedes2233
The HMS Tamar had a waterfront site too, and we got used to it.

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