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《政府山關注組》 譴責財政司司長違背程序、誤導市民 偷步割售政府山

February 23, 2011

財政司司長曾俊華在今天宣讀的財政預算案第35段中表示:「 添馬艦新政府總部啟用後,原中區政府合署中座及東座會轉作律政司的辦公室,而西座則拆卸重建為甲級寫字樓。我們會參考公眾諮詢收集得來的意見,稍後公布用地的設計、規劃和出售細則。此外,我們會繼續籌備將灣仔海傍三座政府辦公大樓的部門陸續搬離現址,騰出土地以增加甲級寫字樓供應。」

《政府山關注組》對此提出以下質疑:

一、發展局自去年十月公佈政府對政府山用途的建議方案,開始收集公眾意見,至今尚未完成諮詢程序,發表報告,並向公眾交待諮詢的結果。但財政司長卻把「拆缷重建西座」視作政府決定公佈,豈非自打咀巴,違背程序,表明公眾諮詢只是愚弄市民的把戲,政府從未有真正尊重民意的誠意?

二、財政司司長在三年前公佈預算案時,已經表示要搬遷灣仔海傍三座政府辦公大樓,以增加甲級寫字樓供應。但在今天,此項目仍在「籌備」階段,實在令人懷疑政府根本從不著緊「增加甲級寫字樓供應」。財政司理應清楚,政府在中環海濱、灣仔海傍及西九龍三區,早已預留960萬平方呎的寫字樓用地。所謂「供應不足」只是政府執意割售政府山給地產商、利益輸送的說詞。

三、20個民間團體已於上週向城規會正式申請,將政府山劃定為特別保護區,城規會亦已展開法定三星期的公眾諮詢程序。財政司的宣佈等同剝奪城規會公正審議民間規劃申請的角色,以行政權力干預法定機構的職能。政府帶頭違反程序公義,令人遺憾。

事實上,倘若政府真正急於纾缓甲級寫字樓供應,最快方法莫如財政司司長指示金融管理局遷入政府總部西翼,把國際金融中心2期的昂貴物業出租或出售。有關安排更可為金管局增加收入及降低行政費用,為納稅人節省大量金錢。此外,特區政府還可以押後拆卸美利大廈,改為商廈用途,為期十年。

因此,《政府山關注組》譴責財政司司長曾俊華違背程序、誤導市民的做法,並要求他撤回預算案中第35段,重申政府尊重公眾諮詢的誠意及城規會獨立審議的職能。

政府山關注組

23/2/2011

In paragraph 35 of the Budget Speech today, Financial Secretary John Tsang stated that “When the new Central Government Complex at Tamar comes into operation, the Main and East Wings of the Central Government Offices will be used by the Department of Justice and the West Wing will be demolished for redevelopment into Grade A offices. We will consider the views collected from the public consultation exercise, and announce the site’s design, planning and particulars of sale later. We will continue the preparatory work to relocate departments in the three government office buildings at the Wan Chai waterfront as and when appropriate to free the land for developing more Grade A offices.”

In response to the above announcement, the “Government Hill Concern Group,” raises the following questions and concern:

1. The Development Bureau publicized the suggested plan for the use of the Government Hill last October and started to solicit public feedback. While this consultation procedure is still in progress, and reports have yet to publicize the results of such public consultation for information of the general public, the Financial Secretary chose to announce the demolition of the West Wing as a foregone decision of the Government. We would consider this as the Government breaking its own words, and an act of violation against standard government consultation procedures. Does it mean that public consultation is merely a trick to fool the public, and the Government has no intention of taking public opinion seriously?

2. In the Budget three years ago the Financial Secretary has already pledged for the relocation of the three government office buildings at Wan Chai waterfront to make room for greater supply of Grade A office spaces. However, in the Budget Speech today, this project was described as still in its “preparatory” phase. This has given us good reason to doubt that the “increase supply of Grade A office space” has not been a matter of primary concern for the Government in the past years. The Financial Secretary should be aware of the fact that the Government has long been setting aside 9.6 million square feet of office space at the three areas of Central harbourfront, the Wan Chai waterfront and West Kowloon District. The so-called “shortage of office space” is merely rhetoric on the part of the Government to pursue the selling off of the “Government Hill” to property developers, in collusion with vested interests.

3. Last week, 20 civil society groups have formally made a planning application to the Town Planning Board to designate the Government Hill as a “Special Protected Area”. Consequently, the Town Planning Board has commenced a statutory three-week public consultation process. The announcement from the Financial Secretary today has in effect deprived the Town Planning Board of its role to make an objective and fair consideration of a planning application raised by non-governmental bodies, itself an act of executive intervention against the functions and terms of references of a statutory body. We regret to see the Government taking the lead in violating procedural justice.

In fact, if the Government is really eager to ease the supply of Grade A office space, the quickest way is for the Financial Secretary to instruct the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to move to the West Wing of the Central Government Offices, and turn the expensive properties it occupies in the International Finance Centre 2 either for rent or for sale. Such arrangements will increase the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s revenue , and reduce its administrative costs at the same time, thereby saving a lot of money for taxpayers. Another option would be for the Government to postpone the demolition of the Murray Building and refit it for commercial renting for a period of say, ten years.

In conclusion, the “Government Hill Concern Group” condemns the Financial Secretary John Tsang for his violation of procedures and misleading the public. We strongly urge him to withdraw paragraph 35 of the Budget Speech, and to restate the Government’s sincere respect for public consultation and the independent evaluation and deliberation of the Town Planning Board.

Government Hill Concern Group

23/2/2011

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抗衡地產霸權 保留公共用途/《政府山關注組》正式成立

February 15, 2011

新聞稿

15/2/2011

抗衡地產霸權    保留公共用途 

《政府山關注組》正式成立

並向城規會 提出規劃申請

 就關注中區政府合署(即政府山)規劃事宜,由中西區關注組、香港文化遺產基金會、長春社等十六個團體(見列表)和約四十多名專業人士、前政府高官、學者和其他關注規劃的社會各界人士於今天正式成立了「政府山關注組」。

 自去年十月政府提出重建政府山計劃以來,各界反對聲音不絕,最近更有調查指出,逾七成市民希望保留政府山作公共用途。因此,20個民間團體於上週聯合向城市規劃委員會提出規劃申請,要求將政府山列為「歷史保護區」,受法例保護。這是歷來最多關注團體聯名的規劃申請,希望政府重善如流,不要一意孤行,與民意對立。(附該規劃申請的行政摘要,全文可在網上www.procommons.org.hk下載)

關注組成員之一,中西區關注組召集人羅雅寧指出:「發展局早前宣佈出售中區政府合署西座及周邊土地作商業發展的意向,只提供單一方案諮詢公眾,明顯是以地產發展為先,忽略保育政府山作為市民公共資產的重要性。我們今次的申請,是希望爭取永久保留此歷史地帶的公共業權,讓市民共同參與規劃這用地的新用途。」

羅氏補充說,「抗衡地產霸權入侵政府山,捍衛公眾利益至為重要。政府擱置賣山方案,尊重市民保留此地公共用途的意願。」

關注組的規劃申請建議設立一個特別保育區或特別的「政府、機構或社區」地帶,並訂定發展限制,以保留原有政府合署建築物為先,若有改建亦必須以原有建築的規模為上限。此舉有助遏止中區過度發展,為公眾保留一片低密度的歷史綠化空間,避免環境和交通惡化。

另一關注組成員,前政府高官 (前社會福利署副署長)簡何巧雲女士 (Rachel Cartland)說:「此申請由多個非政府組織提出,這些組織一向重視城市生活質素,並致力保育香港文化遺產。此申請是為公眾利益和香港人的長遠利益而擬備,政府的職責是推動良好管治,這是順應民情的黄金機會。」

該規劃方案將提交區議會、立法會及古物諮詢委員會討論,關注組將於本月起舉辦一連串政府山導賞團,提高公眾的關注,首兩團將由曾於中區政府合署工作多年的文化人陳雲先生講解。規劃申請的公眾諮詢期,將於本週末正式展開為時三星期。關注組將發起簽名活動,呼籲市民去信城規會,支持規劃申請。

「政府山關注組」成員團體名單:

中西區關注組

公共專業聯盟

創建香港

環保觸覺

綠領行動

長春社

文化傳承監察

關注城市規劃社區大聯盟

社區發展動力培育

拯救海岸

龍虎山環境關注組

HK 重建關注

香港文化遺產基金會

爭氣行動

南土瓜灣關注組

保護海港協會

Green Environmental Health Group

Mini Spotters

Soho Residents Committee

World City Committee

Press Statement

15/2/2011

Inauguration of the “Government Hill Concern Group”

Propose Zoning Application to the Town Planning Board

 Focusing on planning matters related to the Central Government Offices site (known as Government Hill), the “Government Hill Concern Group” (GHCG) is inaugurated today. It comprises 20 organizations including the Central and Western Concern Group, Heritage Hong Kong, the Conservancy Association (see attached list) and more than 40 individuals, including professionals, ex-Government officials, academics and other individuals concerned about the future of the CGO site. 

 Ever since the government tabled its redevelopment plan for Government Hill last October, there have been numerous opposition voices. The latest public survey revealed that over 70% of the public supported the retention of Government Hill for public uses. Last week 20 NGOs filed an application to the Town Planning Board with a proposal to zone the Government Hill site as a special historic protection area. This is a planning application with the highest number of co-applicants. GHCG urges the government to heed the voice of the public and withdraw the current redevelopment plan. (see attached summary of planning application, full version can be downloaded from http://www.procommons.org.hk)

 A GHCG member, Ms. Katty Law, convenor of the Central & Western Concern Group stated: “The Development Bureau of the Government has announced its intention to sell part of the Central Government Office (CGO) site for development and only a single option was offered for public consultation. The government has put developers’ interest above public interest. The Town Planning Board (TPB) was given an inadequate presentation that did not address the issues of concern to a wide cross-section of the public. This application provides a more balanced approach and proposes a conservation zoning for the CGO site.”

 Ms Law also highlighted the importance of protecting public interest and resisting the erosion of historic sites by developers. She called on the government to respect public opinion and withdraw the redevelopment plan.

A member of the Concern Group, Ms. Rachel Cartland, a former senior official of the Hong Kong Government (formerly the Deputy Secretary for Recreation and Culture), said: “This application has been made on behalf of NGOs which have a long term interest in the quality of urban life and the importance of retaining and respecting Hong Kong’s heritage.  It is made in the public interest and for the long term benefit of Hong Kong people.  The government has a public duty to promote good governance. This is a golden opportunity to show its commitment to long-term public interest.”

GHCG will table the planning application at the C&W District Council, Legco and AAB for discussion. It will organize guided tours on Government Hill, with the first two led by a renowned cultural figure, Mr Wan Chin, who had a long period of working in CGO West Wing. The public comment period of the Planning Application is expected to commence this Friday. GHCG will launch a signature campaign and urge for more public support to the Planning Application.

 Member Group List of the “Government Hill Concern Group”

 Central and Western Concern Group

The Professional Commons

Designing Hong Kong

Green Sense

Greeners Action

The Conservancy Association

Heritage Watch

Community Alliance for Urban Planning

Community Development Initiative

Save Our Shorelines

Lung Fu Shan Environment Concern Group

HK Redevelopment Concern Group

Heritage Hong Kong

Clear the Air

Green Environmental Health Group

South Tokwawan Concern Group

Society for Protection of the Harbour

Soho Residents Committee

Mini Spotters

World City Committee

不要地產山-人民規劃政府山/Say “No” To Property Hill

December 3, 2010

新聞稿
2010年10月25日發出

不要地產山-人民規劃政府山

政府山是目前的政府總部所在地,香港是其中一個最重要的文化遺產。上月,政府提出拆卸中區政府合署西座,將一大片地盤出售給地產商,並重建成為一個辦公室和商業大樓。經過深入研究,有充分證據表示,政府在其提出的建議中,作出至少三項失實誤導的聲稱:

聲稱1:該歷史原址應出售給地產商作商業發展

在政府委託和賽爾米勒特里頓 (Purcell Miller Tritton) 所進行的 “歷史和建築評估”報告(’報告’)中明確指出,“該地段本身比其所在建築物,可以說是更為重要的”。“自香港作為一個獨立的殖民地開始,這地段便一直是政府的所在地”,因在其大範圍之下,有許多具歷史價值的土地,該片土地的潛在意義相應增加。如集合在一起,這些土地,對理解香港歷史的發展,提供了非常有趣的機會。”(”報告”中第135頁)難以想像,對於一個儲備超過港幣$20,000億元的特區政府而言,並在無任何財政壓力之下,建議出售這樣重要的一大片土地,無論可從中獲取多少收益,是絕不可取的。

聲稱2:中區政府合署西座可以拆卸,因為它只有很低或沒有建築價值

在報告中,沒有建議對政府山的土地地段中的任何部份,作出任何重建建議。事實上,報告指出,“政府總部的整體環境意義重大,因為它是因比鄰香港幾座最重要的歷史建築,和一些最具代表性的現代建築”(第108頁)和“該等建築物的建築質量之高,是在其建築時所剛剛開始的現代辦公室設計的典範,和香港和1950年代的建築物的代表作“(第135頁)和 “毫無疑問,這些建築物可以現時的型態,作另一用途“(128頁)。此外,政府純粹以建築價值作為衡量標準,明顯忽略了該土地地段的歷史,和其所在的建築物的文化和社會價值。

聲稱3:重建中區政府合署西座為商業大樓 將不會影響該土地地段的完整性

仔細地看政府所提出的重建,包括計劃發現,不僅政府打算在該處興建一座約40層的辦公室(包括政府所聲稱一些被辦公大樓遮蓋的綠化地帶),但近一半的政府山將會被挖空,以騰出空間作為多層地下購物商場和停車場。在該計劃中所出現的“綠色山丘”將會只是一個類似於現時1881 (前尖沙咀山) 的一個 “在建築物之上的一個園藝花園平台”罷了。換句話說,在政府所提出的發展完成後,政府山將不復存在。

我們相信,在該建議被進一步考慮之前,政府要有責任回答以下的問題,並提供滿意的答案:

規劃問題:

1. 難道政府不考慮中環與商業的發展已經飽和的因素,而正確的規劃策略,應該是分散發展,並將額外的和發展額外的辦公空間搬離中環?難道政府不認為沒有需要在中環提供任何進一步的零售發展空間?難道政府沒有考慮,在中環進行任何進一步的辦公和商業的發展,是不符合其早前聲稱要發展西九龍成為另一個商業中心?

2. 預計拆卸西翼將產生的建築廢物,總共有多少公噸?該等建築廢物會送往哪一個堆填區?在挖空政府山後,預計將產生多少公噸的物料,和那些被挖空的物料,將會被送往哪一個堆填區?

3. 目前政府租用中西區有多少辦公室空間,在新中區政府合署/立法會大樓在落成啟用後,有多少現時政府在中西區所租用的寫字樓空間,政府仍然繼續需要租用?

運輸問題:

4. 在建議中,有什麼道路擴寬計劃?如果是這樣,建議的路線和有關道路層次是在那裡?是否會由公帑支付上述擴闊道路措施?該等道路擴闊計劃,是否會涉及破壞現時已存在的綠化地帶,會不會涉及到切割植被斜坡?

5. 在該計劃中,在已經擁擠的德輔道中和花園路的交通和環境影響評估是怎樣?無論是在施工時,要搬離挖出來的物料所帶來的影響,和在該計劃中的辦公室和商業樓宇落成後,所帶來之額外交通流量?

文化遺產問題:

6. 擬議計劃是否完全符合《布拉憲章》 (Burra Charter) 和《中國文物古蹟保護準則》,特別是當中禁止在文化遺址發展的條文?

7. 中區政府合署西座建在有極具歷史性的美利炮台上面。該處具考古價值的文物的可能性有多少? 有沒有已完成的考古調查?

8. 在政府山下,有一套精密的地下隧道網絡。請問挖空後的山,是否會對這些隧道及其相關的具歷史價值的結構,帶來不可挽回的損害或永久性的喪失?

社區問題:

9. 把該地的規劃用途,從政府、團體及社區用途,改變至商業用途,又怎能保障公眾對社區之權利和保護公共空間?

10. 政府是否考慮,如果該土地,包括中區政府合署西座,是開放作社區用途,而不是被出售給地產商,會令廣大市民,都能享有在規劃上有更大的益處?

我們認為,政府有公共責任,維護整個政府山作為公共財富,嚴格保護該地段的完整性。一個歷史文物的地段不應用作商業發展,因為這會貶低政府山的歷史價值。如果政府山成為一個“地產山”,將會是香港人的重大損失。為香港市民和我們的下一代了解我們的城市歷史,該地段應該要小心保育,並讓市民享用公共空間和建築物。

鑑於上述情況,我們要求政府立即採取以下步驟:

1. 進行了一系列的開放日,讓廣大市民了解和欣賞政府山和其建築群;

2.進行一次廣泛的公眾參與活動,包括公開聽證會和研討會,以便諮詢市民有關政府山最合適的公眾用途;

3. 特區政府應委託獨立專家,在政府山現場進行考古挖掘,並公佈其調查結果;

4. 延長公眾諮詢期至12個月,以配合考古挖掘調查和公眾參與活動。

聯署團體:

公民黨
中西區關注組
Save Our Shorelines
創建香港

 

 

Say No to “Developer Hill”

Government Hill for the People

 

Government Hill, where the current Central Government Offices are, is one of the most important heritage sites for Hong Kong. The government has proposed last month to demolish the CGO West Wing, sell a large chunk of the site to developers, and redevelop it into an office and commercial complex. After thorough studies, there is ample evidence that the government has made at least three misleading claims in its proposal:

Claim 1: The site should be sold off to developers for commercial development

In the “Historic and Architectural Appraisal” report (the ‘Report’) commissioned by Government and conducted by Purcell Miller Tritton, it is made clear that “the site itself is arguably of higher significance than the buildings. This has been the seat of Government since the foundation of Hong Kong as an independent colony” and “the potential significance of the site is further enhanced by the historic sites in the wider area. These sites, taken in conjunction, offer very interesting opportunities for the interpretation of the history of the development of Hong Kong.”(p.135) It is unthinkable that for a SAR Government that has a reserve of over HK$2000 billion and is under no financial pressure whatsoever, a proposal would be made to sell off a large chunk of such an important site for just a few billion dollars.

Claim 2: CGO West Wing can be demolished because it is of little or no architectural value

In the Report, no recommendation has been made to redevelop any part of the site. In fact the report pointed out that “the CGO’s physical setting is significant as it is located near to several of Hong Kong’s most important historic buildings and also some of its most iconic modern buildings” (p.108) and “the buildings are of a high architectural quality and are exemplars of the beginning of modern office design in Hong Kong and of 1950s architecture generally”(p.135) and “there is little doubt that it is feasible to reuse the existing buildings”(p.128). Furthermore, the government’s emphasis purely on architectural value has clearly ignored the historic, cultural and community value of the site and the buildings.

Claim 3: The redevelopment of CGO West Wing into a commercial complex will not affect the integrity of the site

From a careful examination of the government’s proposed plan, it is discovered that not only an office block (with some covered area claimed as green space by the government) of over 40 storey’s high will be developed, but that about half of the hill will be hollowed out to make way for a multi-storey underground shopping complex and car park. The green hill which appeared on the plan will effectively be a landscaped terrace similar to what can be found now on Heritage 1881 after the hollowing out of the former Tsimshatsui hill. In other words, Government Hill will no longer exist after the proposed development.

We believe that the government has a duty to provide satisfactory answers to the following queries before the proposal should be considered any further:

Planning Issues:

1.         Does Government not consider Central is saturated with commercial development and that the correct planning strategy should now be to de-centralise and move development of additional office space out of Central?  Does Government not consider that there is no overriding public need for any further retail developments in Central? Does Government not consider that any further office and commercial development in Central is inconsistent with its claim to develop West Kowloon into another Central Business District?

  1. What is the total tonnage of construction waste which is expected to be generated by the demolition of the West Wing and to which landfill will it be taken?  What is the total tonnage of excavated material which is expected to be generated by the hollowing out of Government Hill and to which landfill will it be taken?
  2. How much office space is the Government currently renting in Central and Western District, and how much office space will still be needed after all space in the new CGO/LegCo complex is allocated ?

 

Transport Issues:

3.         What road widening is involved in the proposal?  If so, where and what are the proposed alignments and levels of the roads concerned?  Will such road widening be paid for out of the public purse?  Will such road widening involve destruction of greenery which currently exists and will it involve cutting into vegetated slopes?

4.        What is the traffic and environmental impact on the already congested Des Vouex Road Central and Garden Road, both during construction when the excavated materials have to be moved out, and during operation when more traffic is generated from the office and commercial complex?

Heritage Issues:

5.         Does the proposed plan fully comply with the Burra Charter and the China Principles for the Conservation of Heritage Sites, in which there is a presumption against development for heritage sites?

6.         The CGO West Wing was built on top of the historic Murray Battery. What is the likelihood of archaeological relics under the site area? Has any archaeological survey been done?

7.         There is an elaborate network of tunnels under Government Hill. Will the hollowing out of the hill bring about irreparable damage or permanent loss to these tunnels and the related historic structures?

Community Issues:

8.        By rezoning the site from GIC to Commercial, how can the public’s right for community and open space be protected?

9.        Does the Government consider that there will be a bigger planning gain for the public if the site, including CGO West Wing, is opened up for community use rather than be sold to developers?

We strongly believe that Government has the public obligation to preserve the entire Government Hill as a public asset, and the integrity of the site must be strictly protected. Commercial development on this heritage site should not be allowed as it will demean the historic value of Government Hill. It will be very sad if the Government Hill is to become a “Developer Hill”. The site should be preserved for Hong Kong people and our future generations to understand the history of our city, and the open space and the buildings therein should be maintained for public use.

On this basis, we request the government to take the following steps promptly:

1.        Conduct a series of open days so as to allow the general public to understand and appreciate the site and the buildings;

2.         Conduct a broadbased pubic engagement exercises including public hearings and workshops, to consult the community on how best the site should be utilized by the public;

3.         Commission an archaeological dig at the site by an independent team and publish its findings;

4.        Extend the public consultation period to 12 months to coincide with the archaeological survey and the engagement exercise.

Joint signatories:

Civic Party

Central and Western Concern Group

Save Our Shorelines

Designing Hong Kong

25 October 2010