SE Kowloon Development Area (Oct 1998)

The Hong Kong Institute of Planners has examined Government's planning intention for the South East Kowloon Development Area, as reflected in the Draft Kai Tak (North) OZP No. S/K19/1 and Kai Tak (South) OZP No. S/K21/1 gazetted on 4.9.1998. While the Committee generally supports the planning intention and proposals of the Kai Tak (North) OZP, there are concerns on the Kai Tak (South) OZP. The position of the Institute on the OZP is summarised as below.

HKIP has a firm position on public consultation in the plan making process. Formal publication of the planning studies for public inspection and comment is a major recommendation built in the Town Planning Amendment White Bill that should be implemented as soon as possible. If the statutory procedures allow a wider consultation during the process, strategic issues including the extent of the reclamation, the need for the scale of the secondary commercial node, the regional park concept and the impact of reclamation on urban renewal in the adjacent areas should largely be settled and would not need to be discussed at this stage.

HKIP, however recognised the multiple objectives to be fulfilled by the Kai Tak (South) OZP. These include, inter alia, the designation of residential land to meet the anticipated acute demand in the short to medium term; the required land reserves for essential transport infrastructure; and the provision of solution space for open space, G/IC and other specified uses that have been lacking in the surrounding urban areas. We appreciate that the proposed reclamation as shown on the OZP is one way to achieve these objectives. However, we consider that the following possibilities should also be explored so as to ensure a more effective disposition of the land and to keep the proposed extent of the reclamation to the optimal extent:

(a)    the layout and residential development intensity of the OZP are heavily constrained by factors such as road alignment and the need for compliance with environmental objectives. The Institute noted that some of the road proposals on the OZP has already been submerged. Nevertheless, HKIP opines that more extensive application of environmental friendly design of the road networks should be explored. In doing so, it will alleviate the environmental constraints and thus, allowing a relaxation of residential development restrictions and possible reduction in the limit of reclamation.

(b)      from a balance land use point of view, the Institute recognises that some provision of commercial land is desirable; however, the large extent of commercial designation which amounts to some 2.3 million square metres of commercial GFA need to be justified, in particular those sites near the waterfront area which will provide over half of commercial floor space under the Plan. The Institute is yet to be convinced to reclaim the harbour to make way for these commercial spaces that at least part of which could possibly be provided elsewhere. More information should be provided to justify the proposal.

While supporting the Metropolitan Park concept, there is a need to enhance accessibility and the function of the Park as an attraction of regional and territorial significance. HKIP advocates 'the Bringing of the Park to the Waterfront'. By so doing, a greater number of the public can share the open view of the waterfront and the view corridors provided by the Park and associated open space system is deemed to be more effective. In connection, the proposed park should be well designed and linked with the hinterland. Open space corridors should be created to penetrate well into the adjoining existing urban areas to maintain the continuity of the linkages.

The Institute considers that both the Kai Tak (North) and Kai Tak (South) OZPs have not indicated a strong physical linkage and integration between the new and old urban areas. The Committee also opines that the OZPs have limited bearing on facilitating the regeneration of the older urban area. In particular, the mechanism by which the OZPs can encourage the thinning out of the existing urban areas have to be explored.

HKIP have previously asked the Government to critically review all non-committed reclamation including the South East Kowloon Reclamation. Since the final phase of the project will only be completed by 2016, the Government should review whether a land based option is available elsewhere, say North West New Territories and North East New Territories, to accommodate the planned 60,000 population in the long run. The Government should not commit itself on any infrastructure development serving the phase until the planning review has been completed.

To conclude, the Committee generally uploads the planning intention for the South East Kowloon Development Areas and supports the proposed Metropolitan Park. However, the Committee urges the Town Planning Board to critically re-examine the road pattern, the scale and layout of the commercial sites with a view to minimising the adverse environmental constraints of the roads and the extent of reclamation. The Board is also urged to `ring the park to the waterfront' and indicate major physical linkages, between the existing urban areas and the new reclamation areas on the OZP. Last but not the least, the Committee is of the view that the two Kai Tak OZPs should further strengthen its integration with the adjoining areas to facilitate urban regeneration.

 

Public Affairs Committee
Hong Kong Institute of Planners
22 October 1998

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