The public will have a say on the design of the waterfront at the outlying island ferry piers in Central, under a programme to be launched by the government's Harbourfront Enhancement Committee (HEC). The committee also decided yesterday that meetings of its three new sub-groups would be opened to the public. The Housing, Planning and Lands Bureau had proposed that all meetings of the sub-groups should be closed to the public. The HEC also urged the Transport Department to study electronic road pricing as a way of solving traffic congestion in the central business district, as part of its work on the Central-Wan Chai bypass. The proposal to involve the public in planning the pier waterfront area was put forward by Alvin Kwok Ngai-kuen, of the Citizen Envisioning@Harbour group. He said the programme would be the first step in changing the traditional top-down design approach led by officials and experts. HEC chairman Lee Chack-fan said the programme would create genuine public participation. The plan calls for participating members of the public to take a brief training course on planning principles, provided by the HEC. General participants and experts - architects, engineers and planners - will be divided into teams, to produce their own designs. The completed designs will be exhibited in public, and viewers will vote for their favourite. The winning entry will be chosen by a selection committee, incorporating experts' ideas and public preference. Even after the pier area is built, the public will have a chance to vote on changes. Meanwhile, the Society for the Protection of the Harbour wrote to the government, asking it to clarify whether it had decided to reclaim an extra 1,700 square metres, as reported. The government had denied earlier that it was going to reclaim extra land to give the People's Liberation Army more berths.