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「保育中環 」不盡不實 斷章取義誤導市民 還「政府山」於民 聯署聲明

  政府山不但是目前特區政府總部所在,更是香港城市最早規劃的核心地帶,早在1841年開埠時已劃為公共用地。該區的文化景觀保存160多年至今,承載着香港的管治及發展歷史,是重要的公共文化資產。發展局建議,當政府總部於2011年底遷往添馬艦後,將政府山一大片地盤售予地產商,拆卸中區政府合署西翼,重建成為32層高的寫字樓,並挖空半個山頭,變成5層商場和停車場。

當局以精美說明書及模型,向市民及城規會推介這個名為「保育中環」,實為商業重建的地產項目,旨在製造一個必然賣地重建的既定事實。我們發現,政府斷章取義,誤導市民:

1. 所謂「專家支持重建」:政府鼓吹重建的技術理由,主要是建基於發展局委託顧問公司《賽爾米勒特里頓》的建築及文物評估報告的結論,但該報告其實建議 “在政府山建立一個 「特別保護區」,以確認中區政府合署地段的林地空間和低層建築的重要性”。

2. 所謂「財政壓力」:政府坐擁逾二萬億元的財政及外滙儲備,因此沒有凌駕性需要,為了幾十億元而割售一幅極具歷史價值的公共用地,給地產商作商業用途。

3. 所謂「寫字樓供應不足」:政府聲稱重建西翼可以供應28萬平方呎的甲级寫字樓,但其實政府在中環海濱、灣仔與西九已經預留了960萬平方呎的甲级寫字樓用地,政府文件卻隻字不提。

4. 所謂「更多綠化地帶」 – 政府聲稱將來會提供有如皇后像廣場般大小的綠化空間,但其實該地段只是位於商場頂部的平台花園,加上全盤交由地產商設計,只保留現址11棵樹木,現有政府山上的大片天然樹叢綠地將蕩然無存。

5. 所謂「改善行人通道連接」 – 即使不進行重建,只需拆除在回歸後加建的政府總部圍欄和開放現有停車埸,便可讓公眾從商業區,通過政府山斜坡,上達至禮賓府和動植物公園。

6. 所謂「建築設計兼容」 政府聲稱新商厦的設計能與周邊的發展兼容,但是一座150米高的大樓和佔去半個政府合署地盤的多層商場,不但與原址的低層建築風格不吻合,亦違背政府專家報告建議的高度限制。商業元素更會破壞政府山的歷史莊嚴。

7. 所謂「改善交通擠塞」 縱使政府建議在雪廠街多增一條行車線,但由於主要路口無法擴濶,重建後車流量增加,只會令中區交通更擠塞和污染更嚴重。政府文件更隱瞞了需要拆毁構成雪廠街特色的歴史石牆,及大片林木的事實。

8. 違背「低碳發展原則」 重建計劃需挖走半個政府合署地盤,拆卸結構良好的大樓,造成更多浪費,增加更多碳排放, 違背政府應對氣候變化的政策。

我們要求政府:

1. 將整個政府山劃定為 「特別保護區」,以防止中區環境惡化。 

2. 不要將歷史遺址割售給私人地産商,開放政府山作公眾用途  

3. 按照國際保育準則,重新草擬「不賣地」的發展方案,進行為期十二個月的公眾諮詢。

4. 舉辦政府山公眾開放日,並委托獨立專家進行考古調查,勘探美利炮台及隧道網遺跡。


“Conserving Central”: Distortion and Deception in a Government Proposal

 Joint Petition on “Government Hill” for the People

Government Hill, where the current Central Government Offices are situated, has been the seat of government since the very earliest days of Hong Kong’s existence.  It is an important heritage site and its historic landscape reflects the original planning of the area from over160 years ago.  The Development Bureau  proposes to sell a sizable portion of Government Hill to a developer who will demolish the West Wing and hollow out the hill to build a five-storey shopping mall cum car park with a 32-storey commercial tower on top.

Although the Government has labeled this plan as ‘Conserving Central’, it is in essence a real estate project.  While the authorities are using misleadingly illustrated booklets and scale models to present their case, ostensibly for public consultation and to the Town Planning Board, it is evident that their intention is to present a fait accompli for selling off and redeveloping the site.  We find that the government claims are out of context and involve distortion of the facts.

1.      “Expert Recommendation”:  The technical justification for the government proposal is largely based on misinterpretation of the recommendations of the Architectural & Heritage Assessment Report commissioned by the Development Bureau and conducted by Purcell Miller Tritton.  Rather than recommend redevelopment the report has, in fact, suggested “ that there might be a case for making all the low rise and well planted area into a ‘Special Protected Area’ where the presumption would be against any significant redevelopment work”.

2.      “Financial Pressure”: For a government sitting on over $ 2 trillion of fiscal and foreign exchange reserves, there is no overriding public need to sell off a historic site to developers in return for a revenue of a few billion dollars.  

3.      “Lack of Office Space”: The government claims that the redevelopment of the West Wing would provide much-needed grade A office space of 280,000 sq ft. Yet it omits to mention that a total of 9.6 million sq ft of grade A office space has been held in reserve in the Central reclamation area, Wanchai and West Kowloon.
4.      “More Greenery’: The government claims that a green space of roughly the same size of Statue Square would be provided after redevelopment. Yet this space is at most a ‘podium garden’ situated on top of a shopping centre, in sharp contrast to the existing greenery on natural slopes which would be totally destroyed except for 11 trees.

5.      “Better Pedestrian Connectivity”: Even without redevelopment, this can be easily achieved by removing the barriers put in place in 1997 and opening up the government car park. The public can immediately enjoy passage from the commercial district to Government House and the Botanical Gardens once again.  

6.    “Compatible Building Design”:  An office tower 150 meters tall and a multi-storey shopping arcade occupying half of the CGO site can hardly be claimed to be compatible with the current low-rise architectural design. It also violates the height restriction proposed in the government’s expert report. The proposed commercial use is clearly incompatible with the dignity of the historic site.
7.      ‘Improve Traffic Flow’: Although the government proposes to add another lane in Ice House Street, the impossibility of widening major road junctions in Central would only mean more traffic congestion and more pollution after the redevelopment. Government papers also make no mention of the fact that the historic masonry wall lining Ice House Street would be destroyed together with the mature trees on top. 

8.      “Low-carbon development”: The excavation of nearly half of the CGO site and the removal of a building in good condition will produce unnecessary waste and increase carbon emissions. This clearly goes against the government policy of combating climate change through carbon reduction.
We strongly request that the government:

1.      Declare the entire Government Hill a ‘Special Protected Area’ so as to arrest environmental degradation in Central.
2.     Stop any plan to sell off the historic site and to preserve the site for public use.   
3.     Formulate development options on the basis of international conservation guidelines and the “not-for-sale” principle, and consult the public for another 12 months on the optimum use of the site.
4.      Organise public open days and engage an independent archaeologist to conduct investigation of the Murray Battery relics and the underground tunnel network.

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