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停止將中環海濱用地永久移交解放軍

2019/2/11 — 12:31

中環海濱活動空間

中環海濱活動空間

為進行中環填海工程,香港政府曾公開承諾會於維多利亞港提供一個連貫中環碼頭至灣仔會展中心的「中環海濱長廊」,並會開放給公眾使用。2013年,規劃署公然違反這承諾,要求城市規劃委員會將中環海濱長廊核心地段之150米長、3000平方米面積的土地劃作「軍事用途」,公眾的使用權被剝奪。

城規會無視19,029份市民的反對申述及意見,於2014年2月14日決定維持圖則S/H24/8上的修改,即將這中環海濱地段由原來的休憩用地 (Open Space)用途改劃為軍事用途 (OU(MU)1)。

為保障公眾利益,創建香港挑戰城規會的決定。高等法院認同案件是從公眾利益角度出發(非為個人利益),並於2014年7月批准司法覆核的許可申請 (HCAL No 49 of 2014)。

廣告

(按此查看相關文件 - Form 86 with the legal arguments)

由於創建香港依賴大眾的捐款運作,必須得到義務律師協助處理司法覆核個案,並須向法庭申請「訟費保護令」。然而,高院最終拒絕批出「訟費保護令」,原因是政府一方認為創建香港需要透露其董事及創辦人的財務狀況。其後,何來女士申請加入司法覆核及為此申請法律援助亦不獲批准。最終,此司法覆核個案至今並未經法院審理。

廣告

現時政府無視大眾意見,沒有兌現開放這海濱用地給公眾使用的承諾,反倒採納城規會不合理的決定,將香港海濱的核心地段劃作軍事專用。分區計劃大綱圖(S/H24/8 )和一份詳列申述和意見的附件,均於今年1月22日在議會遞交給行政長官。行政長官同意了計劃草案,並於2月1日刊憲了關於批准計劃草案的通知。

目前此地段屬於地政總署管理,並打算移交解放軍的駐軍部隊。中環海濱關注組提出以下訴求,促請政府捍衛這塊香港人土地:

1. 按過去多次要求,立即開放此地段給公眾使用
2. 要清晰地顯示此地段的界線
3. 由政府產業署保留土地的擁有權,毋須將業權移交解放軍
4. 此地段需要轉成公共開放空間,由康樂及文化事務署管理
5. 按照承諾,只有船隻需要停泊時才作軍事使用
6. 要完全公開解放軍的所有相關協議或承諾的文字記錄

我們感謝法律團隊由2014年至今無私地提供無償代理。

中環海濱關注組成員為:給港島區海旁規劃及興建環保單車徑'運動組群'、動物生命糾察隊、中西區關注組、爭氣行動、創建香港、環保觸覺、香港單車同盟、土地正義聯盟、前立法會議員陳家洛、公共專業聯盟。

查詢:
司馬文 (電郵: [email protected])
黃嘉雯 (電郵: [email protected])

 

Press Release
10 February, 2019

Stop the transfer of permanent jurisdiction over the Central Waterfront to the PLA

The Hong Kong Government promised to provide and manage a continuous waterfront promenade along Victoria Harbour open to the public:

Hansard 2 June 2004 at pp6390, 6391 Secretary for Development: “.. our intention is .. to leave [the PLA berth] as an open space .. [to] form part of the promenade”;
Hansard 6 June 2007 at pp7776, 7777-7782 q.v. Secretary for Development: Planning for “co-existence” of the CMD and the public; use of the promenade “the general public will not be affected by the existence of the military dock … when the dock is not in use ... most of the time…on normal days” “The question of discussing with the PLA Hong Kong Garrison afresh does not arise.”
Harbourfront Enhancement Committee 28th meeting, 17 Aug 2009: Secretary for Development (then Ms. Carrie Lam) with the Director of Planning and the Chief Town Planner for this area at minute §4.4(e): “The Administration would open up the berth for public use (when not in use by the PLA) as part of the waterfront promenade”; minute §4.3: “a 2-kilometre continuous promenade and a 11-hectare (ha) public open space”
On 21 April 2013, the Secretary for Development published on his “My Blog” on the Development Bureau’s website inter alia that it is “our planning intention … to open the area of the military dock to the public when it is not in military use”, describing this as a “commitment … reiterated …in 2007” and that “the military dock is a marine-related facility co-ordinated and implemented by the Government”.

In 2013, the Planning Department reneged on these promises and asked the Town Planning Board to rezone a 150-metre long, 3000-square-metre strip of land in the middle of the Central Harbourfront Promenade solely for military use without any protection for the public’s rights of access.

The Town Planning Board ignored the 19,029 representations and comments from the public opposing this plan and decided on 14 February 2014 not to amend its draft plan S/H24/8 which re-zoned the Site from ‘Open Space’ to exclusively ‘Military Use’ (“OU(MU)1”). These are the results:

The amendments changed the nature of the site from “berthing of military vessels” required by the Defence Land Agreement to a “permanent military use”.
There are no specific uses in Column 1 and Column 2 of the Notes to the Plan. Therefore, there will be no control over future development of any kind within the site.

The new zoning allows (in theory) for the construction of closing fences or walls, and for a large structure on the harbourfront without the need for further planning applications to the Board.

The site is in the middle of a public open space and this has serious implications for the enforcement of the law.
The management of the entire site becomes permanently a Military right and responsibility, and any agreement on the use of the site for public passage and recreation when not in use is likely to be unenforceable under the Basic Law.

The Board also decided to revise paragraph 8.5(a) of the Explanatory Statement of the Outline Zoning Plan S/H24/8 to include “The Garrison has, on the request of the HKSAR Government, agreed in 2000 that it would open the area of the military dock site to the public as a part of the promenade when it is not in military use, having regard to its operation and need for protecting the military dock.”

However:

This agreement was and is unknown. All zoning and urban design plans showed the area as Public Open Space until the publication of Outline Zoning Plan S/H24/8 in 2013.
The text of any agreement or ‘undertaking’ by the PLA has never been disclosed.
‘When not in use’ is qualified by two matters: It would be the Garrison that would open the area to the public [not the Government, as promised to the HEC on 17 August 2009 and the HC on 2 March 2012]; and ‘Not in use’ would itself be decided “having regard to its operation and [the] need for protecting the military dock”.
There are no terms in the Outline Zoning Plan stating explicitly that the site would be opened to the public when it is not in military use. There is no guarantee of public entry and usage in future.
The promises are too vague to be enforceable. Any promise by the PLA to allow the public use of the site for leisure purposes despite the rezoning has no legal force or effect. Once the Site is handed over to the PLA, neither the SAR Government nor the Town Planning Board will have any further control over it.

Designing Hong Kong stepped forward to represent the public’s interest and challenge the decision of the Town Planning Board. The High Court granted leave for the judicial review (HCAL No 49 of 2014) in July 2014.

(Click here for the Form 86 with the legal arguments)

The High Court recognized that the case was to protect the public interest, and not for private or personal gain. Because Designing Hong Kong relies on public donations it could not afford to bring this case hence it found pro bono lawyers willing to help and applied for a ‘protective costs order’. However, the Courts decided not to grant protection because Designing Hong Kong was of the view that the Government does not have the right to seek costs against its supporters or to make them disclose private and personal finances. A late attempt by Ms Loy Ho to join was denied and legal aid for her appeal was refused. As a result the case has never been ruled on by the Courts.

Now Government has ignored the public and all its own previous promises that this site would be open to the public and managed by Government. Instead Government has taken on the Town Planning Board’s unlawful decision and has made an unlawful decision of its own: Zoning the heart of Hong Kong’s waterfront for exclusive use by the military. The Outline Zoning Plan S/H24/8 together with a schedule of the representations and comments were submitted to the Chief Executive in Council (CE in C) and on 22 January 2019. The CE in C approved the draft plan and on 1 February 2019, notification of the approval of the draft plan was gazetted.

The site is currently under the Lands Department which intends to hand it over to the Garrison of the PLA. The Central Harbourfront Concern Group calls on the Government to safeguard this piece of land for Hong Kong:

To immediately open the site for public use as requested many times before;
To clearly mark the boundary of the site;
To retain ownership of the land (Government Property Agency);
To manage the site as public open space (Leisure and Cultural Services Department);
To allow the military use of the site only when a vessel is berthing alongside (as promised); and
To fully disclose the text of any and all related agreements or ‘undertakings’ by the PLA

We thank the legal teams who have selflessly provided pro bono representation since 2014.

Members of the Central Harbourfront Concern Group: A Green Harbourfront Cyclepath for Pollution Free Hong Kong' campaign group, Animal Life Guard Action Group, Central and Western Concern Group, Clear the Air, Designing Hong Kong, Green Sense, Hong Kong Cycling Alliance, Land Justice League, Former Legislative Councillor Dr Kenneth Chan Ka Lok, The Professional Commons.

Inquiry:
Mr Paul Zimmerman ([email protected])
Ms Carmen Wong ([email protected])

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