Last month, the MTR Corporation began the tender process for the HK$15 billion Tai Wai station commercial and residential development. The project, according to the master layout plan from the Town Planning Board, will be a gigantic development with eight 40- to 50-storey buildings on top of a gorgeous, multi-level shopping mall.
Although the residents have a persistent aversion to the development, especially since the 12 buildings of Festival City went up, the government and MTR Corp are going ahead regardless of dissenting voices.
I am uncomfortable with their way of operating, and I would like to raise the public's concern over the flawed planning by the board.
First, the proposed high-rises will dwarf the nearby buildings. The central area of Tai Wai consists mostly of tenement buildings about seven storeys high and residential complexes less than 30 storeys high.
Sunshine, breezes and the wide-open views - including that of the ridge of Lion Rock - will probably be blocked, even though the MTR has said air flows will be satisfactory according to its studies.
The so called Comprehensive Development Area includes few social and public facilities.
Less than 0.5 per cent of total ground area will be allocated for a post-secondary educational institution and there will be little open space.
Obviously, the plan doesn't respond to the urgent needs of Tai Wai. It needs a library, tennis and basketball courts and other kinds of recreational facilities.
In Sha Tin, residents have grave concerns about study space for students at the public library, as there is always a long queue out the door.
The deadline for tenders is June 22.
Like most Tai Wai residents, I feel it is futile to try to halt the procedures. I'm only one person. There is little chance of overthrowing the plan. However, I would still like to urge the MTR Corp to revise it with high-rises that are more considerate towards the current residents.
The Town Planning Board urgently needs to rethink the consultation process and give consideration to the ever-increasing number of gigantic developments that create a wall effect cutting the skyline in Hong Kong.
Ma Chun-ming, Sha Tin