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Policy Statement & Submission

2018/07/04

Development of Site 3 at Central Harbourfront

Development of Site 3 at Central Harbourfront

Our Ref: SN/6

4 July 2018
Mr Matthew Cheung, GBM, GBS, JP
Chief Secretary for Administration
Hong Kong SAR Government
25/F., Central Government Offices
2 Tim Mei Avenue
Tamar
Hong Kong

Dear CS,

Development of Site 3 at Central Harbourfront

The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce would like to add its views to those of others on the proposed development of this site, a development which is critical to the future of Hong Kong in many different ways, especially given that it is essentially the last piece of prime harbourfront site in Hong Kong that is available for development.

In essence, we strongly believe that the highest price which is offered should not be the determining, or even the main, criterion in determining the resultant design or to whom the project is awarded. A holistic sustainable design approach should be the governing criterion.[1] That design should in turn be determined according to three main criteria (of equal importance):

  • Visual impact. The Central Harbourfront is iconic and emblematic of Hong Kong, and the design will have a lasting imprint on how Hong Kong is perceived internationally. The tourism industry is vital to Hong Kong, and the development of this site will have the potential to maximise the city’s appeal to tourists, and its reputation internationally for being a progressive and forward-looking city.
     
  • The site can, and should offer a place which Hong Kong citizens and visitors can enjoy and relax in attractive and extensive green spaces, with a mix of business and community facilities away from traffic and noise. Hong Kong can be a noisy and crowded city, and taking advantage of this opportunity in the right way, by creating the right design environment, will have a positive impact on our citizens’ quality of life.
     
  • Functionality, such as ease of access to the Central ferry piers needs to be a vital consideration.

We note that creating a city which is more liveable and walkable were expressed as priorities in the Chief Executive’s Policy Address.[2] The development of Site 3 in the way described above would be a major, indeed vital, step in this direction and a lasting legacy for this Administration.

We also note that the views expressed above are also shared by other business associations, including the international chambers: in other words by a large proportion of Hong Kong’s business community. We believe that the general community also shares the same views and would strongly suggest updating the 2011 government-commissioned study on creating a world-class waterfront by directly consulting the public again on its aspirations and expectations for this iconic site.

It is crucial that the successful tenderer should be held to the most rigorous standards in designing and then delivering the project, given its critical importance to the future of Hong Kong. In that regard, consideration could be given to the practice elsewhere that is premised on a “two-envelope” approach for the tendering process whereby bids submitted would first need to meet the required standard of conceptual design. Only then would the envelopes containing financial proposals of the qualifying bidders be considered. There could be other options that also serve a similar outcome. Regardless what these are, it is of paramount importance that emphasis be given to the design aspects of the development that satisfy the three key criteria as set out in the bullet-points made earlier in this letter.

We hope that you will include our views in deciding the way forward on this critical project.

Yours sincerely

Shirley Yuen

CEO


[1] By sustainable, we mean a design which caters for the long-term needs of Hong Kong (including the need to attract tourists), and of its citizens (including the need to live in a comfortable and pleasant environment- in other words, in a liveable city).

[2] In particular, at paras 210, 220 and 229.

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