Government Hill is not for sale

July 4th, 2011 DesigningHK Posted in Heritage | No Comments »

The Government wants to sell a large portion of “Government Hill”, the site of the current Government offices, to a private company for an office development and public car park. The argument used is that Hong Kong is short of office space, and businesses are suffering under sky rocketing rents.

We agree with both facts, but Government Hill is not the solution: Hong Kong needs 8 million square meters of Grade A office space and not a mere few thousand. To address market needs the Government will have to resort to a radical review of development around the harbour.

Twenty NGO’s have submitted an application to the Town Planning Board to rezone the Central Government Offices site to a special heritage zone. They want to retain “Government Hill” for future generations. Designing Hong Kong is one of the proponents.

To counter the Government’s arguments, a “Government Hill Compendium” with substantial historical documents, academic research and articles, photographs and other information has been submitted. This collectively shows the value of the site to the community since the 1840’s. It is the most comprehensive collection of information relating to “Government Hill” ever accumulated – see: http://www.governmenthill.org.

The Government response to our submission has been negative. This bias was to be expected as the Government itself decided on the sale of the site in the first place. The NGO’s who propose to save Government Hill are greatly concerned that the Town Planning Board’s review of its application will be biased too: the Chairman of the Town Planning Board is the Permanent Secretary of Development, the Secretariat of the Town Planning Board is the Planning Department, and all the members are appointed by Government!

We call on your support for a fair consideration of the application and for the retention of “Government Hill” in public ownership as a heritage site. Support “Government Hill is not for sale” campaign on-line on or before the Town Planning Board deadline: Tuesday 5 July 2011. It only takes a minute of your time.


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