Three hotels for Ocean Park will help community
Referring to the letter by the chairman of the Southern District Sustainable Development Group ('Don't develop Ocean Park at the expense of Wong Chuk Hang', June 16), there are some points we would like to clarify.
Ocean Park received the support, in principal, of the financial secretary's Task Force on Redevelopment of Ocean Park and Tourist Attractions in Aberdeen, in January, to build three hotels within the park. Our planned hotel development will be an important supporting infrastructure to enhance the park's tourism appeal, diversify guests' experience and lengthen their stay both in Ocean Park and Hong Kong. It will also provide quantifiable benefits to the surrounding community in terms of spillover spending and business generation.
Our three hotels will be located in different areas within the existing park property. Full land premiums will be paid to the government for all three sites. As with the previous 31 years of operation, there will be no burden on taxpayers for any of the proposed new developments at Ocean Park.
The park will publicly tender the design, construction and operation of these hotels and will award the work to the most qualified and competitive candidates. The definitive planning, development and tendering parameters are being drawn up at present.
Members of the Economic Development Panel of the Legislative Council and the Southern District Council reviewed our plans earlier in the year and have given their support, in principal.
As a Hong Kong homegrown landmark, a good corporate citizen and a neighbour within the Southern District, we take painstaking care to ensure we remain respectful of the environment and sympathetic to the concerns of our neighbours, while being faithful to sound business objectives.
Christine Lau, Public Affairs Manager, Ocean Park
Just to clarify on the Mega Tower
I would like to clarify some points in the article by Nicholas Brooke ('Mega Tower case raises basic issues', June 11).
The site of the proposed Mega Tower Hotel development is a comprehensive development area, rather than zoned as green belt or open space in the Wan Chai Outline Zoning Plan. Subsequent to the approval of the planning application by the Town Planning Board in January 1994, a set of building plans for the scheme was approved by the Building Authority in May 1994. According to the board's practice, the building plan approval meant that the development could start. Planning permission for the development has been valid since 1994.
Given that the 1994 approval is still valid, Mr Brooke saying that the Planning Department or Buildings Department allowed minor amendments so as to reactivate earlier approvals is incorrect.
The planning application for some minor technical amendments to the approved scheme was approved in June 2004 by the Planning Department. The building plans were then revised and were approved by the Building Authority in July 2004.
As for the concerns about lost open space, we wish to clarify that, as part of the 1994 approved scheme, a total of 5,880 square metres of open space will be provided, including a public park of 2,030 square metres at Ship Street and another park of 3,850 square metres at Kennedy Road, all of which will be open for public use.
Regarding the open sites referred to by Mr Brooke, no planning condition was imposed by the board as they were outside the application site.
Brenda Au, for Director of Planning
Go slower for cleaner air
It makes me shudder to think what life on this planet will be like in the next couple of centuries unless we work to reduce air pollution.
A possible solution would be to reduce the speed of all vehicles to a maximum of 50km/h, and 40km/h for all heavy-duty vehicles, both in cities and on all highways.
I would like to invite the relevant scientists and experts in a variety of fields to calculate how effective such a speed limit would be in reducing carbon dioxide, engine heat, obnoxious fumes, sound, fuel consumption, accidents, unnecessary deaths and endless suffering to others.
Engine manufacturers will eventually come to grips with reality and design engines that demand no more power than needed to meet such a new maximum speed limit.
People would become accustomed to a lifestyle that requires going at a slower speed.
This would also mean a breath of fresh air for the children born in the years to come.
Tajwar Shadikhan, Tai Po
Condolences to quake victims
On behalf of Staffordshire University's students, staff and national and international partners, I would like to send our sincere condolences to the families and friends of all those killed, injured and still presumed missing in the devastation of China's earthquake.
Staffordshire University is a global community with partners in many Chinese regions, including Beijing, Shanghai and the provinces of Sichuan , Liaoning , Jiangxi and Guangdong. The University has over 250 students from China on campus. Therefore we have an extensive, warm and accommodating Chinese Society at the university, as well as a large local community around the region, who also feels deeply for all those affected by the earthquake and wish to join in solidarity with the people of China at this difficult time.
As an institution, Staffordshire University shares this sentiment fully and wishes to offer any higher educational assistance to our extended family that may be of help in the future, and our sincerest sympathy to all of the people of China.
Christine King, vice-chancellor, Staffordshire University
Bus safety plea
Yesterday morning, I witnessed an unfortunate event. While riding a KMB bus, I witnessed a woman almost have a very bad fall. She was the last to board and, while she was moving away from the driver's area, the bus shot off, almost making her fall down.
This scenario occurs far too regularly, and something needs to be done before someone is seriously injured. Drivers appear far too impatient and just seem to want to get from point A to point B with little or no regard for passenger safety.
May I make a suggestion to the KMB company? Why not have a loud bell or buzzer for the driver to operate which would warn passengers that the bus was about to depart?
I think this is an inexpensive solution which may save KMB from potential legal action in the event of a serious injury.
Terry Pankhurst, Tai Po
Last week, I accompanied my husband to Beijing for some sightseeing. Before embarking on a tour of the Forbidden City, I needed to go to the toilet. But when I went to wash my hands, I was told there were no such facilities. Scrubbing my hands with mineral water, I passed the long queue for the toilet and turned the corner to the astounding sight of hundreds, if not thousands, of domestic and international visitors in the Forbidden City. I shuddered to think of the great 'unwashed'. In addition to tackling the serious air pollution, Beijing needs to improve basic public hygiene.
Lee Shuling, Chung Hom Kok