REZONING REQUEST TO STOP THE BUILDING OF YET ANOTHER WALL
ALONG THE HARBOUR FRONT AT OIL STREET SITE
( 1 August, 2005 , Monday) ---- A rezoning request had been submitted to the Town Planning Board to initiate a review of the planning parameters for the former Government Supplies Department Depot site at Oil Street, North Point.
The request calls for a significant reduction in the developable site area so as to provide a public open space of 8,400 sm from the waterfront back along Oil Street to the heritage buildings. A 20 meter wide promenade is proposed within the development site for public use. The proposal also reduces the maximum building height from a continuous 165 meters to a 'stepped' profile of 100 meters near the harbour rising to 140 meters inland.
The new zoning proposes to allow greater public access to this harbour front location in an effort to alleviate the crowded North Point urban environment.
The request was initiated by Mr. Paul Zimmerman, the Convenor of Designing Hong Kong Harbour District. "The planning parameters for the site were developed in 1997 and fail to take into account the Urban Design Guidelines and the Harbour Planning Principles. We had hoped that the Secretary of Housing, Planning and Lands would initiate a review. However, despite urging him to do so, he has to date refused to withdraw the site from the Application List for Land Sales. By making this request we now force a public debate over the future of Hong Kong 's harbour-front," said Mr. Zimmerman.
Mr. Zimmerman points out that the existing zoning for the entire harbour-front is outdated, resulting in an increasing number of ultra high density developments that create walls of tall buildings around the harbour. He calls for lower density developments, stepped building heights, ample public access and high quality land - water interfaces for Hong Kong 's harbour-front. "The focus on Oil Street is merely because it is the first major site up for sale. We urgently need to take a comprehensive look at the existing zoning of the entire harbour-front," he said.
The rezoning request follows months of lobbying for a review by Citizen Envisioning @ Harbour "There is no more reclamation, so we need to take great care of the last remaining land around the harbour. This is the last window of opportunity for the government to rectify the Oil Street site before it commits itself to any developer. In a recent meeting by the Eastern District Council there was a near unanimous call to lower development density and increase the provision of public open space at this site. It is clear that the existing zoning does not serve the public interest," explained Albert Lai, Convenor of Citizen Envisioning @ Harbour.
The rezoning request was submitted on Saturday, 30 July 2005 , to the Town Planning Board. The application will therefore be published in the press this week and will be open for public comments for 3 weeks, until sometime around 22 August. The request will likely be considered by the Board during one of its meetings in October 2005. The executive summary of the application, layout/section of the project and proposed rezoning can be downloaded from http://www.harbourdistrict.com.hk/release/050801/Release050801.zip .
Designing Hong Kong Harbour District started in November 2003 as a series of ongoing initiatives to build consensus on sustainable planning for Victoria Harbour and the harbour-front.
|Contact us .....| .....Harbour Views .....| ....|