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URA roadshow unveils development concepts for Kwun Tong Town Centre

A district-wide roadshow on three future development concepts of the Kwun Tong Town Centre redevelopment project of the Urban renewal Authority (URA) is unveiled today (Thursday), marking a major milestone of the project, by far the largest single project ever undertaken by the URA in terms of size and complexity.

The three concepts are developed separately by three architectural consultant firms based on various notional schemes proposed by the Kwun Tong community and planning and architecture professionals in a participatory workshop in January this year.

Whilst the concepts adopt different styles and features, all three aim to give Kwun Tong a town centre of quality urban living combining extensive greening, large open space, enhanced public and community facilities, all-weather transport interchange, quality residential homes and a commercial hub commensurate with Kwun Tong as a large town of over 600,000 people. On display are plans, layouts, models, illustrations and 3-D computer animations giving visitors a full view of the future.

The roadshow begins with an exhibition at a former temporary hawker market in Hip Wo Street, Kwun Tong till the end of this month.  It then moves to three other venues in the district, all part of URA's two-month consultation initiative to gauge public views on the future blueprint of the project.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the roadshow, the Chairman of the URA, Mr Edward Cheng, said he personally shared the concerns of the residents who longed for the Kwun Tong town centre to be redeveloped.  "They have been living in a poor and dilapidated environment for many years and their anxieties are understood and indeed have sent us a very strong signal that the town centre redevelopment cannot and should not wait any longer."

"To speed up the process, the URA had worked, and would continue to work, closely with the community with a view to putting forward a planning application for the project to the Town Planning Board within this financial year," said Mr. Cheng.

"What has clearly emerged from the first three rounds of our consultation with the local community over the past two years is that there is overwhelming support for the redevelopment project.  The mainstream consensus of the local community points to an eventual vibrant and robust Kwun Tong able to generate an impetus for sustainable economic, social and community development in the next few decades,"

"The new town centre will serve as an important hub for commercial, business, public service and shopping activities for East Kowloon.  To meet the needs of Kwun Tong in this regard, and for planning purposes, a portion of the project will be earmarked for higher development intensity. This development intensity will however be in compliance with the provisions of the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines and the Kwun Tong Outline Zoning Plan," Mr. Cheng said.    

Mr. Cheng stressed that the partial higher commercial development intensity notwithstanding, the future town centre would feature a high ratio of greenery and open space, and that the podium design usually adopted in major developments would be greatly reduced.  In addition there would be improved streetscape with widened pedestrian walkways, and street shops would be retained as far as practicable. The end result would be 'greater harmony between residents and the environment'.

"This mega project for Kwun Tong is definitely the hardest challenge ever for the URA and local community in partnership.  With the support of the majority of our stakeholders, however, I am confident that we will overcome all hurdles and provide Kwun Tong with a new town centre that will be the jewel of East Kowloon and the pride not just of Kwun Tong residents, but of the community at large," Mr. Cheng concluded.

The conceptual design themes of the consultants are as follows:

  • "Metamorphosis" by wda group:  "Adopt a simple straight forward design concept which evolves from the traditional town centre to form a new oasis. Street culture and enjoyment of shopping merged in harmony."
  • "Civic Hub" by Ma Leung & Associates Architects (HK): "A civic square is created as the focal point of the development. Aiming to create a quality town centre and to enhance its presence and identity in East Kowloon."
  • "A New Centre for East Kowloon, The Model City of Tomorrow" by Wong & Ouyang (HK): "Creation of a new town centre for Kwun Tong and East Kowloon, a new focus for community life."

Apart from the exhibitions, the roadshow also includes a series of reach-out presentations by URA staff to target community groups in Kwun Tong to brief and consult them on the project. These target groups include Area Committees and other residents' associations, business proprietors/operators, hawkers associations, transport operators associations, NGOs, professional institutes, schools and other educational bodies, religious and ethnic minority groups, etc.

The Social Work and Social Administration Department of the University of Hong Kong has been commissioned to undertake an opinion survey at the exhibition venues and briefing sessions.  At the same time, a total of 40,000 consultation documents on the design plans and models have been published for distribution.

At the conclusion of the consultation exercise and based on community feedback as well as other relevant policy and financial considerations, it is URA's aim to make a submission to the Town Planning Board for its consideration before the end of March 2007.

Other officiating guests at today's ceremony include the Chairman of the Kwun Tong District Council, Mr. Chan Chung-bun; the Chairman of the Kwun Tong District Advisory Committee, Professor David Lung; URA Board Member, the Hon. Fred Li; URA Board Member, the Hon. Chan Kam-lam;  the Hon. Alan Leong; Kwun Tong District Officer, Miss Pauline Wong; the Chairman of Kwun Tong District Council Working Group on Urban Redevelopment and Industrial Land Use, Mr Nelson Chan; and the Managing Director of URA, Mr. Billy Lam.


(ENDS)


The roadshow on the Kwun Tong Town Centre Redevelopment Project will be held at the following venues:

  • 10 - 31 August 2006 (11:00 am - 8:00 pm)
    71 Hip Wo Street, Kwun Tong
  • 2 - 9 September 2006 (11:00 am - 7:00 pm)
    apm Office Tower Lobby
  • 19 - 20 September 2006 (12:00 noon - 9:00 pm)
     Metro City Plaza II, Level 1 Atrium, Tseung Kwan O
  • 25 - 27 September 2006 (12:00 noon - 9:00 pm)
    Lei Yue Mun Plaza, Level 1, Promotion Venue, Yau Tong