The public consultation on the Wan Chai waterfront enhancement project was launched yesterday, with a prediction there would be little opposition to the project. And the chairman of the Harbourfront Enhancement Committee's subcommittee on the Wan Chai development, Leung Kong-yui, said he could not declare that phase two of the Wan Chai Development Project and the Central-Wan Chai bypass would be the last reclamation of Victoria Harbour. He said independent experts had confirmed a 'no-reclamation' option to solve the traffic problem in the area was impossible. 'A bypass would have to be built as a pre-requisite to solving the congestion problem,' he said, adding that other measures, such as electronic road pricing, should also be introduced. Mr Leung believed the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance would protect the harbour from reclamation that had no 'overriding public need'. Paul Zimmerman, convenor of the Designing Hong Kong Harbour District group, said the government should prove that other measures were insufficient before going ahead with the bypass. He also said the government had to control the density of urban development, which could soon overtake the capacity, even of a new bypass, to cope with the volume of traffic. Mr Leung dismissed the alternatives, saying there was no substitute for the bypass - which takes the form of an underwater tunnel - if the traffic problems of north Hong Kong Island were to be solved. The bypass tunnel would have six lanes, with exits near the Convention and Exhibition Centre and at the North Point waterfront, which would connect with the Island Eastern Corridor. The project, which would cost HK$20 billion and require reclamation of 15 hectares of the harbour, consists of five 'character precincts' along the 4km waterfront promenade. It would include a cultural centre near the Convention and Exhibition Centre, a green leisure zone adjacent to it, a water sports zone at the Wan Chai cargo area, a heritage zone at the Causeway Bay typhoon shelter and another green zone at the North Point waterfront. Nine pedestrian passageways would be built for the public to give better access to the harbourfront. Only one would take the form of a footbridge, which Mr Leung said would meet public demand for minimal use of bridges. An exhibition of the plan opened yesterday at various locations in Eastern District and will be on display until the beginning of December. The consultation ends on December 5. Mr Leung said if the procedure ran smoothly - and he did not believe there would be strong opposition to the project - the finalised plan would be gazetted in 2008 and construction would be completed by 2015.