The 'transparent' enhancement committee is considering a proposal to hold some discussions behind closed doors Just months after setting up a new agency to discuss harbour reclamation works in an atmosphere of 'transparency and early public participation', the government has proposed that its discussions be held in secret. The Housing, Planning and Lands Bureau has suggested that meetings of three subcommittees of the Harbour-front Enhancement Committee should be held behind closed doors, which it said would make operations easier and smoother. Harbour activists accused the government of backtracking on the 'transparency' pledge it made earlier this year, amid strong public sentiment against reclamation. The committee, which held its first meeting on May 6, will discuss the closed-doors proposal at its second meeting tomorrow. The three subcommittees are responsible for reviewing the Wan Chai North and Kai Tak reclamation projects, and waterfront enhancement works in Hunghom and Sheung Wan. A spokeswoman for the bureau, which acts as the committee's secretariat, stressed it was only a suggestion and that the final decision rested with the harbour-front committee. The government announced the formation of the committee in early March, hours after a court threw out a judicial review that would have blocked the Central reclamation that is now going ahead. The committee, chaired by Professor Lee Chack-fan, an expert in geotechnical engineering and pro-vice-chancellor of the University of Hong Kong, will give advice on the two remaining reclamation projects. They are under review after a court ruling last year that the Wan Chai North reclamation violates the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance. The committee will also give advice on how to enhance the waterfront and involve the public in those projects. When the agency was formed, the then permanent secretary for housing, planning and lands Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said: 'The committee will create a platform for the public to voice their views over the harbour. We know the people want to have their voices heard.' Kwok Ka-ki, convenor of the Action Group on Protection of the Harbour, said yesterday the latest proposal was 'exactly the opposite of what it had promised. It shows how insincere our government is on open and transparent [bodies]'. He said: 'Perhaps they want to continue their reclamation, so they don't want to let the public have a chance to sit in the sub-committee meetings.'