Original plans should be released so more studies can be conducted: activists Harbour conservationists yesterday urged the government to release more information on the Central reclamation project to allow further studies into dramatically scaling back the project. The call comes before the government launches its Court of Final Appeal challenge of the July ruling that the proposed Wan Chai reclamation, stretching from the Convention Centre to Causeway Bay, breached the Harbour Protection Ordinance. The original proposal includes land for a Central-Wan Chai bypass and for commercial development such as hotels. But the Court of Appeal in July laid down three principles for reclamation under the ordinance, namely that there must be a compelling, overriding and present need, no viable alternative and minimum impairment of the harbour. The outcome of the appeal will determine the future of the battle to protect Victoria Harbour. The former chairman of the Society for Protection of the Harbour, Winston Chu Ka-sun, said at the weekend that the group would withdraw its judicial review of the Central project scheduled for February if it lost the final appeal. Speaking at a public hearing on harbour reclamation at Legco yesterday, Mr Chu said it would be impossible for the group to continue fighting unless the government released the results of a feasibility study into the project. The society's plan reduces the size of the Central and Wan Chai reclamation from 52 to 25 hectares, while keeping the Central and Wan Chai bypass to ease traffic congestion. 'Without the report, which was funded by taxpayers' money, it is not possible for us to go on with the study. As a non-governmental organisation, we don't have the same manpower and resources as the government,' he said. The report was completed by international consultant firm Atkins, which was paid $35 million last year. The society spent less than $100,000 formulating its plan, with free assistance from professionals. But Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Michael Suen Ming-yeung said it was 'surprising' the society produced a plan half as large as the government's without providing further details. 'I thought we were expecting a comprehensive plan, with its feasibility considered as well,' he said. Permanent Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor also snubbed the society's conceptual study, saying it was nowhere near the level of the government's plan. Both officials did not directly comment on whether the society would be given a copy of the results of the feasibility study. During the hearing, legislators and concern groups also focused on the possibility of reducing the size of the Central reclamation, which will accommodate the bypass, a harbour promenade, small-scale commercial development and a military and public piers. Legislator Choy So-yuk questioned the size of pumping and cooling facilities to be relocated to the new harbour front, saying it was crucial for a smaller reclamation. But a government reclamation review said there was no room for downsizing, adding it might be 100 times more expensive to alter the design of facilities.