• New dangerous medical waste found at HK’s beaches puts residents at risk 新危險醫料廢料襲港,對市民構成嚴重威脅
  • Joint statement regarding dumping and land filling by concern groups and environmental NGOs 關注團體及環保組織就傾倒泥頭和填土問題的聯署信
  • 【鄉議局破壞郊野公園 土地已售予發展商】上週末,鄉議局破壞了西貢郊野公園的不包括土地內的濕地,藉此抗議政府將該該處和鄰近土地劃為保育用地……我們的調查發現,慘遭破壞和斬樹的土地大部份已在2012年賣予數個發展商。原居民早已放棄了他們土地的業權,何談復耕? 【Country Parks under attack from the Heung Yee Kuk】Last Sunday, the Heung Yee Kuk felled trees and removed vegetation on wetland deep inside the Sai Kung Country Park....Our investigation has now revealed that the land in question was sold to developers in 2012. The indigenous villagers long gave up their interest in farming.
  • Queen’s Pier to City Hall?? or Pier 9 and 10?? 大會堂重置皇后碼頭?還是選址在9號10號碼頭?
  • Online Survey: Electronic Road Pricing 意見調查:電子道路收費
  • 'Missing Seats' is lobbying government for more and better seats along streets, at bus stops, and in public space.Together we can make Hong Kong a better place for all. 「邊度無凳坐」希望令大家明白安全又舒適既座位對香港人既重要性,俾自己一個參與設計香港既機會,話俾我地知邊到應該有凳坐!
  • and bad pedestrian links in Hong Kong. We will ask the Transport and Housing Bureau to fix these over time. 「邊度冇路行」的目標是希望各位能提供缺乏或有問題行人路的位置,我們會要求運輸及房屋局改善清單中的行人路。
  • The Small House Policy has a complex history, officially beginning in 1972. But the complexities began when the New Territories were added in 1898. 自1898年英國租借新界,土地問題就從未停止。直到1972年「小型屋宇政策」(俗稱丁屋)令問題更加複雜。
18 April
8 April

「先發展無保育」 大嶼山勢變醜小鴨 環團促先有保育方案及交通限制 (新聞稿)Develop first, No conservation Lantau will be an Ugly Duckling Green groups urge for implementation of conservation plan and traffic restriction first (Press Release)

P4080033 (3) (002)

(新聞稿)

「先發展無保育」 大嶼山勢變醜小鴨
環團促先有保育方案及交通限制

多個環保團體強烈反對在大嶼山進行任何大型發展,如東大嶼都會和策略性道路系統,並要求政府發展大嶼山時,要以保育作為最優先的原則,促請政府實施環團建議的一系列保育措施(包括交通管制),以捍衞大嶼山豐富的生物多樣性和人與自然的緊密關係。

2016年1月,大嶼山發展諮詢委員會的第一期工作報告已呈交給政府部門。這份報告提出大量天馬行空和未經評估的發展項目,如東大嶼都會、超大規模的策略性道路系統和大量旅遊設施,包括在大東山上建立觀星和觀景的設施。以上提議的發展項目將會對生態和當地社區帶來災難性的影響,並會破壞大嶼山寧靜的環境和壯麗的景觀。

大嶼山因着其獨特位置,有着豐富及多元的自然生境,包括低窪濕地、山地草原、淡水河流和海洋軟珊瑚等,當中孕育着許多稀有和瀕危的物種,如中華白海豚、馬蹄蟹、喜鹽草、盧文氏樹蛙、素雅灰蝶、香魚、褐魚鴞。最難能可貴的是人和大自然能夠緊密共存,其中大嶼山的牛科動物便因其和居民的和諧關係,被聯合國教科文組織接納為「人文價值景觀遺產」,可見大嶼山絕對是大家的自然寶庫。

可是,這份報告表面上支持可持續發展,卻沒有提出積極的保育措施。大嶼山發展諮詢委員會甚至提議放寬限制道路的交通管制,建立一個策略性的道路系統,以連接港島西、南大嶼、北大嶼和新界西北。這些措施將為地主帶來錯誤的期望,增加當地的發展壓力,阻礙在大嶼山推行任何保育計劃和行動,尤其是那些沒有發展審批地區圖覆蓋,而政府又不能執法的鄉郊地帶,如南大嶼和部分北大嶼地區。結果,在這些沒有納入發展審批地區圖,而沒法檢控入罪的私人土地,生態破壞已不斷蔓延,甚至連貝澳這個具重要生態價值的濕地亦無法倖免。­­­­­

自然資源並不只是屬於我們,也屬於我們的下一代。胡亂開發、缺乏管制及有效的保育措施,將會迅速破壞大嶼山這個自然寶庫,並令政府所承諾的可持續發展成為空談。

因此,多個環保團體敦請政府部門推行一系列的保育措施:

1. 在任何擬議發展前,制定全面的運輸和交通策略,透過交通管制減低違例發展的經濟誘因,避免擬議的發展超出環境承載量;

2. 修改《城市規劃條例》,讓發展審批地區圖能夠覆蓋南大嶼和黃龍坑,賦予規劃署能執法能力,並繼續加快將北大嶼餘下沒有法定管制的地區,如䃟頭、沙螺灣和深屈等納入發展審批地區圖,以提供法定保護;

3. 所有在大嶼山的發展計劃均應納入現時進行中的「香港2030+:跨越2030年的規劃遠景與策略」,並為所有擬議和計劃中的發展項目進行全面的策略性環境評估;

4. 在生態敏感地區設立不可發展地區,並實施有效的保育管理計劃。

針對東大嶼都會和其相關的交通和運輸策略,環團想特別指出:
1. 任何新的道路建設需要有充分理據,並須就其環境影響、成本效益和公眾利益的作出評估,以及進行公眾諮詢;

2. 環團反對現時建議的東大嶼都會和連接港島西、南大嶼、北大嶼和新界西北的策略性道路系統。因為東大嶼都會需要進行大規模填海工程,對海洋生態和水質造成極大影響,而策略性道路系統則會入侵郊野公園和許多生態敏感地區,為南大嶼,尤其是梅窩,帶來龐大的發展壓力,並會增加在附近水域航運的船隻流量,危害漁業資源和鯨科動物;

3. 東大嶼都會和策略性道路系統的建設沒有得到充分的理據支持,需要動用龐大資金,很可能成為新一個大白象工程。

多個環團亦發起網上聯署平台,鼓勵公眾就大嶼山發展向政府部門發表意見:
(英文網址: https://www.designinghongkong.com/forms/view.php?id=64298)
(中文網址:https://www.designinghongkong.com/forms/view.php?id=64884)

環團所列在大嶼山不同地區具重要保育價值的物種/生境(以英文版為準)
英文網址:Lantau green groups joint letter – appendix
中文網址:Lantau joint letter – appendix_final_ chinese

聯署團體(依筆劃序):
大嶼山愛護水牛協會
世界自然基金會香港分會
長春社
香港觀鳥會
香港海豚保育學會
島嶼活動行動
創建香港
綠色力量

(Press Release)

Develop first, No conservation
Lantau will be an Ugly Duckling
Green groups urge for implementation of conservation plan and traffic restriction first

Green groups strongly object to any large-scale development such as East Lantau Metropolis and the strategic road systems and request the government to make conservation the top priority for Lantau development, to safeguard the rich biodiversity and the close relationship between humans and nature on Lantau. The groups have presented a list of conservation measures (including traffic restriction) it urges the government to implement.

The First-term Work Report made by Lantau Development Advisory Committee (LanDAC) has been submitted to the Administration on January 2016.

This report proposed massive, “creative” and unassessed developments such as East Lantau Metropolis, super large-scale strategic road systems and numerous tourism facilities including viewing and stargazing facilities for the Sunset Peak. The proposed developments will have disastrous impacts on the ecosystem and the local community, and destroy the tranquil environment and magnificent landscape of Lantau.

Because of its unique location, Lantau has rich and diversified natural habitats such as low-lying wetlands, montane grasslands, freshwater streams and soft coral marine habitats. These habitats breed many rare and endangered species such as Chinese White Dolphin, Horseshoe Crab, Oval Halophila, Romer’s Tree Frog, Common Cerulean, Ayu Sweetfish and Brown Fish Owl. The most valuable thing is that human can live with nature closely. Bovine on Lantau was accepted as “heritage and landscape as human values” by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization for harmonic human-bovid relationship. This can show Lantau is definitely a nature treasure for us.

However, this First-term Work Report claims to support sustainable development but no positive conservation measure is proposed. LanDAC even proposes to relax the traffic restriction on closed roads, and establish a strategic road network connecting west of Hong Kong Island, South Lantau, North Lantau and North West of New Territories.

These measures would increase the development pressure by giving false hope to land owners, hindering any conservation plans and actions on Lantau, especially in ecologically sensitive rural areas where there is no Development Permission Area (DPA) plan and no statutory protection could be done by government, such as South Lantau and part of North Lantau. As a result, eco-vandalism has long been proliferating with impunity on private land without DPA plans, even in ecologically important wetlands like Pui O.

Our natural environment does not belong to us alone, but the next generations. Reckless development without appropriate controls and active conservation measures will quickly destroy the natural treasure of Lantau and lead to a failure of promised “sustainable development.”

Hence, green groups urge the Administration to implement a list of conservation measures:

1. Before any proposed development, develop a comprehensive transport and traffic strategy and restrict traffic to reduce the economic incentive for unauthorized developments and prevent proposed development from exceeding environmental carrying capacity;

2. Amend the Town Planning Ordinance to allow itself to cover South Lantau and Wong Lung Hang WITH DEVELOPMENT PERMISSION AREA PLANS, offering enforcement powers for the Planning Department and continue to speed up the process of DPA plan covering on the remaining lands of Lantau such as San Tau, Sha Lo Wan and Sham Wat, which have no statutory control, to provide statutory protection

3. Include any development plans on Lantau in the on-going “Hong Kong 2030+ Towards a Planning Vision and Strategy Transcending 2030” study and carry out a comprehensive Strategic Environmental Assessment for endorsement of all the proposed and planned developments on Lantau.

4. Set up NO-GO areas for ecologically sensitive areas and implement active conservation management plan

Regarding to East Lantau Metropolis and associated traffic and transport strategy, green groups highlight:

1. New roads should be well justified, assessed (in the context of environmental impacts, cost effectiveness and public interest), and the public should be consulted before.

2. Green groups object to the proposed East Lantau Metropolis which will create significant impact on marine ecosystem and water quality and strategic road system connecting west of Hong Kong Island, South Lantau, North Lantau and northern-west of New Territories, which will cut through the country parks and ecologically sensitive areas, and create significant development pressure in South Lantau especially Mui Wo and drastically increase vessel traffic in the surrounding waters and threaten fisheries resources and cetaceans

3. The construction of East Lantau Metropolis and the associated strategic road system is not well-justified and will cost a huge amount of money, having a very high potential to become new white elephant project.

Green groups have also launched an online petition platform to motivate the public to express their opinion on Lantau development to the Administration:
(Website: https://www.designinghongkong.com/forms/view.php?id=64298)

Key species/habitats of conservation concern in different areas of Lantau
Website:Lantau green groups joint letter – appendix

Co-signatories (in alphabetical order):
Designing Hong Kong
Green Power
Hong Kong Bird Watching Society
Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society
Lantau Buffalo Association
Living Islands Movememt
The Conservancy Association
WWF Hong Kong

 

5 April

Protect HK’s nature. BSAP Consultation deadline 7 April 2016 保護香港自然生態 《生物多樣性策略及行動計劃》諮詢4月7日截止

bsap enews

(中文往下)

Government is preparing a Biodiversity Action and Strategy Plan.

The objective is to better safeguard Hong Kong’s biodiversity, and to contribute to safeguarding the world’s biodiversity.

Our concern is the absence of a comprehensive debate.

Hong Kong’s land supply strategy and conserving biodiversity need to be looked at as one and not two discussions in separate rooms.

There is also an urgent need to reform legislation to protect habitats on private land, as proven by the ongoing land filling and tree felling throughout rural areas and country parks.

The BSAP consultation will conclude mid-nite 7 Apr 2016.

Below are links to the Government website as well as suggestions and form letters to aid your timely response.

 

Designing Hong Kong form letter for your use. 

Click here: 

An effective Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (by Paul Zimmerman, CEO of Designing Hong Kong)

 

Other Petitions

1. WWF – Hong Kong – Petition for an effective BASP (English)

2. Conservancy Association – Express your opinion about BASP (Chinese only)

3. Kadoorie Farm& Botanic Garden – A Better World: Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (English)

4. Land Justice petition to United Nations Environment Programme/The Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat- Protect Hong Kong’ Biodiversity NOW(English and Chinese)

 

References

1. Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department – Public Consultation – Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP) for Hong Kong (English)

2. Presentations Public forum – BSAP: Charting a sustainable future for Hong Kong – held on 19 March.

Introduction 

Why HK needs BSAP? 

Convention on Biodiversity

Sustainable use

Land

Water

 

政府正在制訂《生物多樣性策略及行動計劃》。

計劃的目標是保護香港的生物多樣性,由此為保護全球的生物多樣性作出貢獻。

但我們擔心有關的計劃缺乏共同的辯論。

香港的土地供應策略和生物多樣性的保育需要作為一個整體看待,不可能分開討論。

同時,我們急須修改法例去保障私人土地上的生境,以阻止現時在鄉郊和郊野公園發生傾倒和斬樹的破壞情況。

《生物多樣性策略及行動計劃》將於4月7日晚上11:59分前截止。

附註的網址是政府相關網頁和各個環團和關注團體的建議和聯署信,希望各位能及時回應。

 

創建香港就《生物多樣性策略及行動計劃》發起的聯署

按此:

An effective Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (by Paul Zimmerman, CEO of Designing Hong Kong)

 

其他聯署

1. 世界自然基金會-香港分會-把握關鍵時機!為環境保育加把勁!(中文)

2. 長春社-向漁護署表達你對《香港生物多樣性策略及行動計劃》的意見(中文)

3. 嘉道理農場暨植物園-《生物多樣性策略及行動計劃》公眾諮詢(中文)

4. 土地正義聯盟向聯合國環境規劃署/生物多樣性公約秘書處發出的聯署信-保護生物多樣性(英文及中文)

 

參考資

1. 漁農自然護理署-公眾諮詢-香港《生物多樣性策略及行動計劃》(中文)

2. 公眾論壇的演講「《生物多樣性策略及行動計劃》—計劃香港的永續藍圖」(3月19日)

簡介

為何香港需要《生物多樣性策略及行動計劃》?

生物多樣性的保育

可持續運用自然資源

土地

水體

2 March

Online Survey: Electronic Road Pricing
意見調查:電子道路收費

 

dhk-ERP-Pic-v3

Online Survey Findings 網上意見調查報告

調查日期 Survey period
2/3/2016 – 15/3/2016

We have received 375 responses to our survey. 期間共收到375份回覆。

dhk erp survey 1

 

 

dhk erp survey 2

Detailed report, please click the link below. 請按以下連結瀏覽全份意見調查報告。

DHK ERP survey report 16 March 2016

 

 

 

 

17/3/2016

 

 

 

————————————-
The government is consulting the public on its proposed pilot scheme for electronic road pricing in Central. (Click here for the public engagement document).

The deadline for comments is 18 March 2016.

Do you support the proposal? Object? Any views on the details? You can write to Government directly, or take part in our online survey (link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VZ5DQ9S). Our office will consolidate and report the responses to the government.

In the meantime, please find below our CEO Paul Zimmerman’s personal view as published in Southside magazine – in short Paul proposes there is no charging for the use of Connaught/Gloucester Road Corridor, but for the use of the inner areas only.

Let us know your views.

政府正就中環電子道路收費先導計劃進行公眾諮詢。公眾諮詢截止日期為2016年3月18日。
諮詢文件:連結

你支持或反對道路收費計劃?你可直接向政府發表意見,或參與我們的網上意見調查(連結:https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VZ5DQ9S)。我們會整合意見並向政府反映大家的睇法。

我們的行政總裁司馬文早前於Southside雜誌的專欄發表了他的個人意見。簡單而言,他建議干諾道及告士打道不設收費,收費區應設於中環的內街。

歡迎大家發表意見。

 

Southside Magazine – March 2016

2016-03-SS issuu

28 February

Zoning Pak Sha O for illegal development

(Photo credit: Conservancy Association) 

Protect Pak Sha O – Click and object to zoning:http://protectskpso.weebly.com/

Deadline for comments is 4 February.

We urge you to help the Conservancy Association protect the cultural and architectural landscape and ecology of Pak Sha O, a historic hakka village located in the Sai Kung West Country Park. 

In December 2015, a draft Outline Zoning Plan (S/NE-PSO/1) was published for public consultation. It shows where small house developments will be permitted. Surprisingly, it is exactly the land already sold to Xinhua Bookstore Xiang Jiang Group Limited. The Planning Department says that they are responding to villagers’ claims that a large area is needed for small house developments. 

But their demand is highly suspect. Records show that villagers sold their agricultural land to Xinhua some 5 years ago. Records also show that recently Xinhua “sold back” the land to villagers who have “ding rights”. Are these villagers acting as frontmen for the developer? Is the demand for small houses genuine or simply a scheme for development profits?

It is a mystery as to why the Planning Department is aiding and abetting this obvious frontmen scheme recently found to be illegal by the District Court. The boundaries of the area the Planning Department is proposing for small houses is near exact the land bought by Xinhua!

We call on the community to object to this blatant development scheme. Help the Conservancy Association by completing the on-line form http://protectskpso.weebly.com/

Just a coincidence? The visual above shows the land bought by Xinhua (pink areas), the land subsequently sold back to villagers in whose names recently applications were submitted for small houses (red dots), and the boundary (brown line) of the proposed v-zone, the area where construction of small houses would be permitted in the future if the Town Planning Board approves the proposal form the Planning Department. 

For more information, please see on-line reports (in Chinese) from the Conservancy Association:

立場新聞丁屋地倍增 白沙澳談什麼「可以居」?

Protect Pak Sha O– Click and object to zoning: 

http://protectskpso.weebly.com/

25 February

Play in the Tak 玩德節

玩德節

打開桌面遊戲的版圖,骰子一聲擲下,五顏六色的棋子東奔西走、躍然紙上。現實中,我們腳踏的街道,能否化成一場充滿空間玩味、繽紛有趣的遊樂場?

由2月27日開始,一場有趣的遊樂空間實驗將在德輔道中發生,街角的巨型層層疊競技場、邊聽故事邊鬥智的街上圖版遊戲,還有隱藏街頭巷尾的藏寶關卡,誠邀你與陌生人接觸、對話,一齊「玩」轉「德」輔道中,讓街道變回人與人溝通、互動的空間。你亦可以參加一系列的工作坊、展覽、講座和其他活動。

「玩德節」由德輔道中聯盟舉辦,希望公眾關注和支持改善德輔道中的行人友善環境。

詳情按此:

德輔道中聯盟網站

德輔道中聯盟Facebook 活動專頁

 

Play in the Tak 

Join and connect with friends – come and play along Tak 玩德節- the original name for “Des Voeux Road Central”.

The Tak festival starts 27th February and runs till end of March. 

Sections of the street will be transformed into experimental playgrounds. You are invited to play Jenga on the street corner, join a sidewalk gaming tour, and discover hidden gems in alleys and lanes to start an interesting conversation with strangers. You can join workshops, exhibitions, talks and events.

The festival is presented by the Des Voeux Road Central Initiative. The aim is to raise awareness and support for improving the pedestrian environment along Des Voeux Road Central.

For more information: 

DVRC Initiative Website 

DVRC Initiative Facebook Event Page

24 February

反對破壞二澳及北大嶼郊野公園 Stop the destruction of Yi O and the Lantau North Country Park

請在2月26日或之前反對二澳發展計劃。 二澳是位於北大嶼山郊野公園的不包括土地。部份村民在很久以前已將實質的發展權益售予發展商,當中涉及利益的名人包括劉皇發和謝賢。 當政府在2010年公佈將會透過城規條例或郊野公園條例保護餘下的不包括土地,發展商和村民急忙夥拍林筱魯發展二澳。林筱魯與政府關係密切,同時是大嶼山發展諮詢委員會委員。 整套發展計劃先於2012年以復耕的名義,清除當地的植被和改變河道,破壞了當地的生態。

「以復耕為名,發展為實」的把戲,成功逼使規劃處無法在提交城規會前,將分區計劃大綱圖所覆蓋的荒廢農地劃為保育用地。

 

大量土地將會用作包括丁屋的屋宇發展,相關發展可無需經過申請或及後透過城規條例得到批准。土地業權人和發展商正要求連接大澳的道路、碼頭和興建包括70間房間的生態旅舍。一旦城規會批准,上述的發展將會長遠地影響北大嶼郊野公園。

我們需要你的支持!立即按此,向城規會提交意見。

更多資訊:

二澳分區計劃大綱圖發展摘要

澳發展計劃新聞

二澳遭受破壞新聞

 

Click here to object to the development of Yi O(Deadline mid-nite 26 February 2016)

Yi O is an enclave deep inside the Lantau North Country Park. Some villagers sold their beneficial interest in the land to developers a decade ago. Well-known names are involved including Lau Wong Fat and Patrick Tse Yin.

In 2010, after Government announced that they would protect the last remaining enclaves under the Town Planning or the Country Park Ordinance, the developers and villagers hurried to bring in Andrew Lam Siu Lo. Andrew is well connected with Government and is on the Lantau Development Advisory Committee.

A vicious plan was put together. The first step was to clear all the vegetation and divert streams. Under the excuse of farming, the ecology was destroyed in 2012. 

The ‘fake farming’ trick worked. The Planning Department now finds it difficult to zone the barren land for conservation uses in the Outline Zoning Plan put in front of the Town Planning Board. House developments including small houses will permitted off right or by application for large areas of land. The owners and developers are now also asking for a road to Tai O, a ferry pier, and rights to build a 70-room ‘eco-lodge’. Once permitted, these developments will forever impact the Lantau North Country Park. We need your support – click here to submit your comments and views to the Town Planning Board. More information: Gist of Town Planning Board Representations on Yi O Outline Zoning Plan  News clip Yi O development plan News clip Yi O destruction

6 January

Official barriers to improving life for pedestrians in crowded Mong Kok

The upcoming sale of a government building in Mong Kok is a valuable chance to improve walkability in the area, but officials are shirking their responsibility. An edited version of the article below appeared in the South China Morning Post on 2 January 2016.

Paul Zimmerman, Pok Fu Lam district councillor and CEO of Designing Hong Kong.

I like the Ombudsman’s recent public announcements that tai chi is healthy, but not in public administration. Tai chi, in local slang, means to shirk responsibility. The Ombudsman, Connie Lau Yin-hing, is already so busy clearing obvious cases of maladministration that I wonder whether she will have time for the well-practised, evasive language bureaucrats dish out when they reply to proposals and questions.

In our campaign to improve walkability, our latest encounter with tai chi is over the sale of the Trade and Industry Department (TID) Tower, formerly known as Argyle Centre Tower II, on Nathan Road in Mong Kok. It is a 1980s building owned by the government. The tender for its sale closes on January 8. We have asked for it to include terms which oblige the buyer to internalise the links to Mong Kok MTR station and the Mong Kok Road footbridge. These stairs and escalators currently obstruct pavements and roads surrounding the building. Mongkok MTR station exits B1, B2 and B3 occupy the south and east pavements. Staircases of the Mongkok Road footbridge built by Sun Hung Kei occupy the pavement and two lanes of Mong Kok Road north of the building.

Removing these structures from the adjacent pavements and roads would improve pedestrian and vehicular circulation at street level. Moreover, linking the footbridge with a new Argyle Street footbridge via the Argyle Centre Towers is a critical piece of the puzzle the government has been struggling with: the creation of a comprehensive elevated pedestrian network desperately needed to alleviate the overcrowding of Mong Kok’s streets.

The sale of the building is a one-off opportunity to improve walkability. If we fail to spell out these requirements in the tender, it will be hard to convince the buyer to give up gross floor area and to invest in the works later.

The Government Property Agency’s first move to shirk responsibility was outrageous. It said: “Having consulted the Transport Department, we note that it would cause inconvenience to the pedestrians. It would require pedestrians to pass through the internal area of the building before reaching the footbridge and Nathan Road. The route, which will not be open at all times, will be indirect and is not desirable from the perspectives of property management and cost-effectiveness.”

We pointed out that there are many buildings in Hong Kong where this happens all the time, including 100 Queen’s Road Central and the Central-Mid-Levels escalator.

The second tai chi move was claiming that our proposal for amending the tender would cause undue delay to the disposal of the building. The government decided to proceed as scheduled so that “the office space in the TID Tower can be released to the market in a timely manner in accordance with our announced plan to increase the supply of commercial space in prime locations to meet keen market demand”.

This is not the first time we have encountered a misplaced focus on expediency over walkability.

When it became clear in 2009 that the Tamar footbridge would stop 10cm short of Admiralty Centre, we wrote to the government and pointed out the importance of a direct link into the elevated system of Queensway Plaza, Pacific Place and the connected buildings. Officials replied that it would require too much time to negotiate with the owners of Admiralty Centre. So instead, we now all have to go down to street level and back up again to continue on our way.

The government’s third tai chi move talked of how they would “encourage the successful bidder to consider ways of enhancing the connection between the TID Tower and the existing footbridge system and adjoining commercial buildings to improve the surrounding environment”.

From the failures to link Kowloon Bay Station and MegaBox, the Sheraton Hotel and the Middle Road Tunnel, and the Nexxus Building and the Central footbridge, we know that encouragement means little in the Government’s dictionary.

Which department will be responsible for such “encouraging” once the building has been sold? Would this include links to the MTR? Who would pay for the removal of the structures on the pavements and road? Will a bonus plot ratio be offered to compensate for the public passages through the property? Will the land premium be waived for the links over and under government land? These questions go on. 

All this would be so much easier to resolve before selling the building. Instead, we will have to wait and see whether this encouragement is real or simply a wimpy tai chi move, another one for the Ombudsman’s tray.

4 December

香港環保團體合力發動行山打卡熱潮 香港巿民透過史無前例的網上動員行動對抗郊野公園發展威脅 Green Groups Create Selfies Fire Storm #SaveOurCountryParks Hongkongers express support for country parks during unprecedented event in response to development threats

香港環保團體合力發動行山打卡熱潮
香港巿民透過史無前例的網上動員行動
對抗郊野公園發展威脅 

保衛郊野公園聯盟在今日舉行一個史無前例、覆蓋全港的網上動員行動,以保護香港的郊野公園。首屆的欣賞郊野公園日,主題為 #保衛郊野公園,已於12月第二個星期日舉行。

第一股的行山打卡熱潮已經席捲Facebook,行山人士在全港多個郊野公園分享了過千張標籤了#保衛郊野公園的相片。

近200名來自16個聯盟成員和關注團體的義工在全港設置超過30個義工站,覆蓋全港共24個郊野公園當中的20個。義工將會統計行山人數,並鼓勵行山人士自拍打卡以支持保衛郊野公園。這個網上動員行動為香港巿民提供機會,站出來反對發展郊野公園。

由早上8時至中午12時,總共超過34,106訪客曾進入郊野公園,並透過義工獲得保衛郊野公園的資訊。社交媒體(包括Facebook 活動專頁和Instagram)有著過千相片或影片標籤了 #保衛郊野公園。

前天文台台長及現任香港中文大學地理與資源管理學系客座教授林超英表示:「這個活動非常厲害,令眾多團體能團結起來保護郊野公園,亦給予巿民發聲的機會。」

他補充:「中國政府將『青山綠水』劃入城市規劃方針,香港應該做得更好,不應讓郊野公園受發展威脅。香港獨特和豐富的郊野公園環境,沒有其他世界城市能媲美,發展商和政府絕不應破壞這份瑰寶。今日的活動是呼籲香港巿民站出來,為了我們的下一代展示保衛郊野公園的決心。」

根據郊野公園及海岸公園管理局進度報告,比較上年夏季同期行山人數上升了24.8%,突顯了郊野公園為本港巿民和遊客作為消閒和娛樂場所的重要性。

香港中文大學地理與資源管理學系客座教授王褔義講述了郊野公園的成立歷史和目的,並強調郊野公園應該受到保留和保護。

香港遠足覓合會的發起人沈士基表示:「我們有過萬的會員,熱愛行山的人數不斷上升。郊野公園是一個重要場所,用以認識新朋友、聚會、消閒運動、改善健康等。」

地球之友行政總裁張潔儀稱:「我熱愛郊野公園,亦關注對環境的好處。如提供野生動物棲息地,豐富生物多樣性、樹木吸收二氧化碳(溫室氣體)以緩減氣候變化、綠化環境有助我們的身心健康,郊野公園亦覆蓋著我們的食用水源。」

關注團體促請行政長官梁振英履行競選時的承諾,他曾聲稱「我們會保護郊野公園及具生態及其他價值的土地和水體,以及長遠規劃其他可供開發的土地。」

有關記者發佈會的影片和相將上載至保衛郊野公園Facebook 專頁

更多行山人士的相片可以到 保衛郊野公園:行山打卡Facebook 專頁。

Green Groups Create Selfies Fire Storm #SaveOurCountryParks
Hongkongers express support for country parks
during unprecedented event in response to development threats

Today, the Save Our Country Parks alliance held an unprecedented, territory-wide event leading to a “Facebook Fire Storm” in support of Hong Kong country parks. With the theme #SaveOurCountryParks, this was the first Country Parks Appreciation Day to be held annually on the 2nd Sunday in December.The firestorm of selfies #SaveOurCountryParks is happening on Facebook with thousands of images and messages uploaded by hikers today throughout Hong kong’s country parks

Over 200 volunteers from 16 organisations and individuals set up more than 30 stations at key entrances to 20 of Hong Kong’s 24 country parks. The volunteers counted visitors and asked them to take selfies in support of safeguarding country parks. The mega event gave Hong Kong people an opportunity to stand up and oppose those wanting to use country parks for development.

From 8am to 12noon, 34,106 visitors were counted entering the country parks and get the message of Save Our Country Parks from our volunteers. Over thousands of messages were tagged with #SaveOurCountryParks across social media, including Instagram and Facebook event page.“This event is truly amazing,” said Prof. Lam Chiu-ying, former director of the Hong Kong Observatory and currently adjunct professor of the Geography and Resource Management Department of CUHK. “It’s great that so many groups have rallied in support of our country parks, giving Hong Kong people a chance to air their views.”

Prof. Lam added: “The national government has decided to incorporate special ecological areas within its urban planning strategy. We should do likewise, yet there are increasing threats from developments. Hong Kong has a unique treasure with our extensive country parks system – which no other World City can rival. Developers and government should not encroach on this unique asset. Today’s event shows that people care and are willing to stand up to protect the country parks for our next generations.”

According to the Country and Marine Parks Authority’s Progress Report, the number of visitors has increased 24.8% compared with last summer – clearly showing that country parks are ever more important for leisure and relaxation for Hong Kong residents and visitors.

Prof. Wong Fook-yee, adjunct professor of the Geography and Resource Management Department of CUHK, related the history and objectives of establishing Hong Kong country parks, and said they should be conserved and protected.

“We have more than ten thousands members – all of whom love the country parks –and this continues to grow,” said SK Shum, organiser of Hong Kong Hiking Meetup. “The country parks are for gathering and meeting new people, for sports and recreation, for our health.”
Suzanne Cheung, CEO of Friends of the Earth (Hong Kong), said, “I love country parks, and am keenly aware of the environmental benefits – such as providing habitats for wildlife to enhance biodiversity, trees absorb carbon dioxide (GHG) to mitigate climate change, greenery that benefits our mental and physical health, and as a source of clean drinking water.”

The groups also called on the Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to stay true to his Election Manifesto, in which he promised that “We will protect our country parks and bodies of land and water with ecological value, and formulate long-term plans for other areas of land available for development.

More photos and pictures on the press meeting will be uploaded on Save Our Country Parks Facebook Page.

For more hikers’ supportive pictures, please visit #SaveOur CountryParks event page.

「保衛郊野公園聯盟」成員和合作團體,包括環保、行山及其他希望保護香港郊野公園的關注組織有:

聯盟成員
Ark Eden、香港地貌岩石保育協會、爭氣行動、創建香港、Eco-Sys Action、香港大學學生會理學會環境生命科學學會、海下之友、西貢之友、大浪灣之友、香港地球之友、綠色社區、綠色大嶼山協會、綠色力量、環保觸覺、綠領行動、綠色和平、香港自然生態論壇、香港單車同盟、香港海豚保育學會、Hong Kong Outdoors、大嶼山愛護水牛協會、島嶼活動行動、活在南丫、勃勃海洋、西貢大浪灣關注組、香港自然探索學會、長春社、香港觀鳥會、世界自然基金會香港分會

合作團體
香港遠足覓合團、Sai Kung Buffalo Watch、守護大嶼聯盟、徑‧香港

 “Save Our Country Parks Alliance” Members and Partners include green, hiking and other concern groups who seek to safeguard Hong Kong’s Country Parks: 

Members:
Ark Eden, Association for Geoconservation, Hong Kong, Clear the Air, Designing Hong Kong, Eco-Sys Action, Environmental Life Science Society, SS, HKUSU, Friends of Hoi Ha, Friends of Sai Kung, Friends of Tai Long Wan, Friends of the Earth (Hong Kong), Green Community, Green Lantau Association, Green Power, Green Sense, Greeners Action, Greenpeace, HKWildlife.net, Hong Kong Bird Watching Society, Hong Kong Cycling Alliance, Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society, Hong Kong Outdoors, Lantau Buffalo Association, Living Islands Movement, Living Lamma, Living Seas Hong Kong, Sai Kung Tai Long Wan Concern Group, Society of Hong Kong Nature Explorers, The Conservancy Association, WWF-Hong Kong.

Partners:
Hong Kong Hiking Meet Up, Sai Kung Buffalo Watch、Save Lantau Alliance, TrailWatch.

13 November

一次難能可貴的機會:讓旺角變得更好 One-off opportunity to make Mongkok a better place

難能可貴的機會:讓旺角變得更好 

政府公佈將出售工業貿易大樓旺角舊址。

這正是個難得的機會重新安置連接大樓、旺角行人天橋和港鐵站的電梯和樓梯。

旺角港鐵站B1、B2和B3出口佔據附近的行人路。為設置連接天橋樓梯和電梯旺角道減至兩條行車道。

環繞工業貿易大樓的車道和行人路非常狹窄。重新安置樓梯和電梯便能擴闊現有的道路和行人路。

要求發展商提供連接港鐵站的公共通道和天橋在香港十分常見。本地的建築師和發展商很熟悉怎樣在私人物業內提供讓公眾使用的通道、電梯和樓梯,並了解有關的設計、工程和管理方法。

發展商義務將電梯和樓梯納人大廈不會影響銷售。政府可以在標書內列明建築物需設24小時開放的公共通道,以及通道的闊度下限和容量等。買家會在投標時考慮有關條款。

無論買家計劃重建或翻新大廈,他們會自行考量條款所需的成本和空間,才決定落標。

出售工業貿易大樓是個難得的機會去改善當地環境。當有關地段已出售,便難以改善該區的環境,想回購土地亦不可行。

政府改動標書雖然會延後工業貿易大樓的銷售期,但有關改善能顯著提升該區的行人路環境和交通流量,使旺角成為更好的地方。

One-off opportunity to improve Mongkok

The Government has announced the sale of the vacant Trade and Industry Department Tower (TID Tower) in Mongkok to the private sector.

This provides an one-off opportunity to relocate the lifts and staircases connecting the Mongkok Road Footbridge System and the Mongkok MTR station into the TID Tower. 

Exits B1, B2 and B3 of the Mongkok MTR station occupy adjacent pavements, and the adjacent section of Mongkok Road was reduced by two lanes for staircases and lifts to the footbridge.

Roads and pavements around the TID Tower are narrow. Relocating the staircases and lifts would allow widening of the footway, the carriageway, or both.

It is common in Hong Kong to ask property owners to create public access to footbridges and MTR stations. Architects and developers understand the design, engineering and management challenges of internalizing public lifts and staircases, and allowing pedestrians to pass through private buildings.

The obligation to incorporate the staircases and lifts would not be detrimental to a sale. By specifying 24 hour access, minimum width and capacity in the tender, potential buyers can consider the implications prior to making their bid for this government property.

Whether buyers plan to redevelop the site or re-use the building as is, they will simply consider the cost and the space needed, and adjust the amount they bid accordingly.

The sale of the TID Tower provides a ‘once and for all’ opportunity. Once the site is sold it will be difficult to improve the area as future resumption is unpractical.

Making changes to the tender will cause a slight delay in the sale of the TID Tower. It is worth the effort as it would improve the pedestrian environment and traffic flow, and make Mongkok a better place for all.