Another improvement to the Central Wanchai Bypass ignored?
A new cofferdam technology is available which minimizes the need for temporary reclamation, dredging and disturbance to the marine users in the Causeway Bay typhoon shelter.
The question is whether government is flexible enough to make continuous improvements.
As with the move of airventilation shafts in Central to a better location, there are many reasons why government should consider improving the construction process of the bypass in Causeway Bay.
The existing plan is to construct the Central Wanchai Bypass by first reclaiming the Causeway Bay typhoon shelter. Moorings in the area marked with yellow dotted lines will have to be removed. This disruption to marine users can be reduced to the area marked by the red lines by using a new cofferdam technology.
By building a cofferdam using the latest piling technology, as is done in Singapore (see visual above) and as is planned for construction of the new border crossing facilities associated with the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, barge traffic, dredging and reclamation can be reduced significantly.
Not only is that required under the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance, Hong Kong can’t afford to lose any moorings for small vessels.
An analyses of dry and wet berthing spaces available for leisure craft shows that all appropriate areas are full troughout the territory.
All mooring areas for pleasure vessels are full, without policy or plans in place for new facilities. We have not been able to identify a bureau or department responsible for leisure boating facilities.
For the 2,500 open sampans with outboard engines – the largest category of vessels used for leisure and recreation, especially line fishing - there are simply no facilities available at all.
No affordable spaces are available for owners to keep their sampans safe, dry and clean – nor are there facilities to safely get on/off sampans and improvised ladders and mooring points can be found throughout Hong Kong. Examples above are typical throughout the territory. Tsing Yi (left), Stanley (right).
Failure to make changes is unacceptable and in breach of the law
From super yachts for the rich to open sampans for an ever larger group of retirees, more and more people seek to enjoy a day on the water. With 900km of coastlines, 218 islands, and a wealth of water bodies including Victoria Harbour, Junk Bay, Port Shelter, Tolo Harbour, and the many bays of Hong Kong, Lantau and Lamma, the demand for pleasure vessels is increasing at a quick pace.
Apart from the fact that a failure to minimize reclamation is in breach of the law, Hong Kong simply can’t afford to lose the moorings in the Causeway Bay typhoon shelter and engineers working on the Bypass must consider the latest technology available.