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October, 2003:

Harbour Choice

Sunday October 26 2003

It was almost moving to read David Akers-Jones’ candid letter headlined ‘Harbour pride’ (October 22), encouraging more harbour reclamation to beautify the present setting and improve transport by dropping a new road link.

It was, to a certain extent, contradictory in nature. How is it possible to keep filling up the harbour and still enjoy it? The reality is, you can’t have your cake and eat it – you have to choose. This said, the argument for bettering people’s enjoyment of the harbour on Hong Kong island side is valid. More importantly, if the Central traffic issue is to be solved, it has to be done by reviewing all existing infrastructure, from the underused Western tunnel to the overused Cross Harbour tunnel. There are far more solutions to solving the Central district traffic congestion issue than by just adding a new ineffective road link and aggravating pollution. Electronic road-pricing and better public transport have been successfully implemented in London and Singapore, so why not in Hong Kong? What is legitimately expected from a world-class city is more imagination and public consultation about the existing land, instead of dropping more concrete in a harbour.

Planners, get back to the drawing board, perhaps start an internal competition, and please, save what is left of the harbour. It is Hong Kong’s identity and, judging by public sentiment, a good majority love it as it is.