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TST Waterfront 1: Hold the Harbourfront Commission accountable

2015/8/24 — 10:10

There are two problems with the plans for the Avenue of Stars. First the public has not been consulted, as the soup was cooked between New World and Government (LCSD). Secondly, why continue the management by New World and LCSD?

The Harbourfront Commission, which is responsible for organising public engagement activities regarding the planning and urban design of harbourfront development projects – has yet to do so. This despite the harbour planning principles on its website which clear state that “All sectors of the community must be engaged at an early stage and on an on-going basis in the planning, development and management of Victoria Harbour and its harbour-front areas through transparent and inclusive consensus building processes.”

Secondly, why should New World manage this waterfront? Or worse, why should the waterfront here remain captive to the tug of war between New World and the LCSD. After all, that was exactly the reason why the area was dilapidated, stuffed with weird plastic carts, and lacked shading and seating for so long.

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I have no problems with New World offering to invest in the waterfront. The LCSD has made no effort to apply for funding itself to upgrade the waterfront in TST. So here is New World, soon ready to open its new 60-story development, deciding it wants to invest money to fix the environment. This is nothing different from Hong Kong Land fixing the pavements and railings in Central, or Cheung Kong upgrading the footpaths and public space around Cheung Kong Centre, or Swire investing in upgrading public space around Star Street, Tai Koo Shing and Tai Koo Place.

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But should we be handing over the management?

Over the next days I will highlight some of the problems with New World’s plans. I urge the public to make sure these are discussed at the Kowloon Taskforce meeting of the Harbourfront Commission on 1 September 2015. The public should send their views to the Chairman and Members via [email protected].

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