Secretary for Development, Director of Civil Engineering and Development,
I oppose the development of underground spaces below Hong Kong’s urban parks – Kowloon Park, Victoria Park and Southorn Playground.
The proposed underground developments opportunistically target existing, government-owned public space and do not actually solve any of the problems mentioned in the study – they provide links where links are already available, and community facilities where such facilities are already available.
This programme will entail extensive excavation under our parks, closing down large sections for years, and removing existing trees and lawns.
These parks are gathering places for many people of all ages and all backgrounds. Closing these open spaces for years will leave thousands of citizens with no place to exercise or relax.
These underground spaces will require substantial above-ground ventilation shafts, emergency access entrances and other structures which will take away even more at-grade park space.
There are many empty shops in the target areas. We do not need more commercial development; we need open public space for recreational activity.
Developing underground space in already densely-developed urban areas will only add to the congestion and population concentration, which is against the territorial development objectives of spreading out population and providing employment opportunities in the New Territories.
Moreover, the cost of developing underground space under existing structures is significant. This is not a good use of taxpayer funds.