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CS hails new electoral system

The fourth wave of the COVID-19 epidemic has lasted for some time. To our great relief, the number of local confirmed cases has remained at low levels in recent days. The Government's multi-pronged strategy of continuously enhancing our anti-epidemic measures and preventing the importation of cases has proven effective.   Apart from keeping social distancing measures in place and mounting an extensive promotion of testing, we have specifically strengthened the manpower in contact tracing as this is a particularly crucial measure in cutting the chains of viral transmission.   The Department of Health's Contact Tracing Office has redoubled its efforts in speeding up the process of identifying close contacts. Their sterling efforts in contact tracing in the gym cluster last month have significantly helped in suppressing rebounds within a number of days. This was a remarkable success.   For this, I must thank all those who have helped, including some 200 colleagues seconded f

Land exchange approved

The Chief Executive in Council has approved an in-situ land exchange application by the owner of two private lots at Hoi Yu Street, Quarry Bay, the Development Bureau announced today.   The bureau said the concerned in-situ land exchange aims to replace the lot owner’s original plan for a 25-storey industrial building development there.   Subject to payment of full market premium, the lot owner may, in accordance with the approval given by the Town Planning Board, pursue a harbourfront leisure, tourism and commercial development at the re-grant lot.   With an area of about 2,477 sq m, the original private lots had been zoned for "Industrial" uses in statutory planning terms until 2003 when they were rezoned to “Open Space” and “Other Specified Uses (1)” annotated “Cultural and/or Commercial, Leisure & Tourism Related Uses”.   In 2001, the lot owner obtained building plan approval to construct a 25-storey industrial building.   In 2017, the owner commenced foundation works for the development but attracted strong public calls to replace it with uses and a development intensity more compatible with the harbourfront setting.   The bureau approached the lot owner to explore alternatives and positive progress has been made.   In July 2018, the Government announced that upon the lot owner's obtainment of the Town Planning Board's planning approval, it would seek the Chief Executive in Council's approval for a land exchange to enable harbourfront development there.   The owner obtained the board's planning approval in February 2019.   According to the Chief Executive in Council's approval, the lot owner will be required to construct at the same time about 6,300 sq m of public open space outside the re-grant lot, including new open space, reprovisioning a pet garden at a nearby site, and uplifting the existing waterfront promenade, as well as a barrier-free covered footbridge connecting the waterfront with the hinterland of Quarry Bay.   The bureau noted the land exchange proposal will safeguard public interests, such as replacing an industrial building development which is highly incompatible with the harbourfront setting and creating a continuous harbourfront promenade.   The Government will continue to follow up with the lot owner on the final land exchange arrangement.   Relevant stakeholders will be further engaged on the design of the public open space. The road works relating to the covered footbridge will be gazetted to allow the public to submit their views.
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