Letters to the Editor, November 4, 2016
Bizarre twist in tale of planned incinerator
The struggles of the Environmental Protection Department to try and make sense out of its ridiculous and costly proposal to build an incinerator on Shek Kwu Chau become ever more absurd.
In order to meet its own environmental guidelines, the reclamation should be “non-dredged” in order to minimise damage to the seabed, and an environmental permit was issued on this basis.
However, this same construction method has created enormous problems for the border crossing facility, and so the department now wishes to use deep cement mixing, which independent consultants have said is just as damaging as dredging.
This is where the situation becomes absurd, and “Monty-Python-like”. I have a copy of a letter from the Environmental Protection Department to itself, asking itself if it may vary its own environmental permit.
Even more absurd, the department has given the same department 30 days to appeal against itself.
Not only is this laughable, but it shows a total conflict of interest. This is a cynical attempt to sneak this variation through within the department, and hoping no one notices (and it will involve the taxpayer putting up even more cash).
Is this any way to run a government? When will the Legislative Council’s Finance Committee have the sense to say “enough” and force the department to look at better and cheaper alternatives?
R. E. J. Bunker, Lantau
Infrastructure lacking to support fishing
The Water Supplies Department sells fishing licences for an open season each year.
I recently visited Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir and Tai Tam Reservoir. Both locations have no infrastructure to support fishing. There is no provision of pontoons, no access to water banks, in fact, fishing at these locations is near impossible.
Could the department please reply, through these columns, and inform all the sports fishing enthusiasts in Hong Kong what its long-term strategy is to support the sport?
What infrastructure is it planning to build at the reservoirs I have mentioned and what key performance indicators has it in place to measure the success of fishing in these locations?
Without a plan, it would seem fishing in Hong Kong is dead in the water.
Glyn Treasure, Tsim Sha Tsui
Congestion is worse with illegal parking
There is growing pressure to increase fines for illegal parking in Hong Kong as complaints have risen about the problems it is causing.
There have been crackdowns, but they are short-term and the problem persists.
The problem is that it affects all road users, especially in the black spots where so many drivers flout the regulations.
Cars double-parked on busy roads exacerbate the congestion, which can have a knock-on effect on nearby roads.
This can make it more difficult for emergency services vehicles such as fire engines to reach their destinations.
I believe it is a problem that has to be addressed as soon as possible.
The government should be ensuring there are more roadside parking spaces and build more car parks where they are needed. I appreciate there are land shortages in Hong Kong, but some locations must be earmarked for new car parks.
I realise that many shopping malls have car parks, but they may not always be in convenient locations for drivers, so the government must take the initiative.
We also need higher fines to act as a deterrent.
Repeat offenders should face even tougher punishment, including, if necessary, custodial sentences.
Karen Chan, Kowloon City
Permanent car-free zone not feasible
On September 25, part of Des Voeux Road Central was closed to all traffic except trams and became a pedestrian zone for six hours.
I think this was a good trial and it attracted a lot of people, including families who got involved in different activities.
It prompted some groups to call for a permanent pedestrian zone. However, I do not think it would be feasible.
It would mean that traffic that normally uses it would be diverted to other nearby roads, such as Queen’s Road Central and Connaught Road, and this would make congestion on these roads worse.
Kyle Wong, Tseung Kwan O
Fewer flights may put off some tourists
The number of overnight flights arriving and departing from Hong Kong International Airport could be cut from next summer. As you recently reported (“Airport plans to reduce the number of overnight flights”, October 31), this could affect travel to and from popular Asian cities such as Bangkok, Tokyo and Singapore.
I am concerned it could mean fewer options for tourists and a longer wait at the airport.
This might put some of them off coming to Hong Kong.
However, one positive aspect is that it will be good for the environment with less noise and air pollution. I think there has to be closer consideration by the Civil Aviation Department before a final decision is made.
Louis Fung Lam-lap, Sau Mau Ping
Riots are an important part of HK’s history
The report, “Should history lessons in schools include details about Hong Kong’s 1967 riots?” (October 30), reminded me of the importance of looking at all aspect of history.
I feel ashamed to say that I am a student and had not heard of the 1967 riots in Hong Kong, which resulted in 51 deaths.
Surely all local students should learn about this important part of the city’s past.
I would disagree with any teachers who would argue there were negative aspects to including the riots in the revised junior secondary Chinese history curriculum. Students need to learn all aspects of the city’s history. Only in this way can we have a real understanding and arrive at our own conclusions of what happened.
However, students must also learn to analyse the material they study.
Some historians will include their own opinions rather than just giving an objective description of events. This may compromise the accuracy of their work, so we have to learn to take a critical look at the material we are reading.
You need to acquire as much information as possible, and look at both sides of the argument, before you can come to your own conclusions.
Caroline Wong Tin-ching, Tsing Yi
Not able to use HSBC card at its Malta banks
I have a cautionary tale for those who are HSBC account holders and are travelling overseas.
My wife and I were in Malta and were seeking some euros. No problem, there are HSBC branches in Malta and most with ATMs. However, our Hong Kong HSBC Premier ATM card was rejected on each try.
On checking inside the bank, we were informed by a nice staff member that you cannot use your HSBC Hong Kong ATM cards in Malta to gain access to your savings account.
I’m not sure if HSBC Malta is not linked to UnionPay but we were advised the only way to get cash was as an advance on our Visa card.
In the end, we were forced to do this as we needed the cash there and then. This was bad enough but the bank had the temerity to charge a Visa cash advance fee (HK268.56).
I find it ironic that other banks in Sicily we used (PNB Paribas) would allow cash withdrawals on our HSBC ATM card. I have complained and am seeking a fee refund.
Ian W. Johnston, Discovery Bay