The following is the speech by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands, Mr Gordon Siu, at the Opening Ceremony of the Hong Kong Institute of Planners' Exhibition on "Hong Kong in Transition - The Face of Our City in the Next 20 Years" today (Thursday):
Ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to join you here today at the Opening Ceremony of the Exhibition, which marks the beginning of a series of events to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Institute of Planners.
Twenty years is long enough a period of time for some serious reflection. Let us take a look at some of the major development that took place in Hong Kong 20 years ago and see how they have impacted on our city and our lives. In 1979 the first MTR trains started carrying passengers between Shek Kip Mei and Kwun Tong. A massive public works programme was in full swing as a range of community facilities such as the Hong Kong Coliseum and the Queen Elizabeth Stadium were being built, and the refuse incinerator at Kwai Chung became fully operational. Today, the MTR has become an indispensable part of the daily life of many of us. The two performance venues have also become landmarks of our city and made it possible for us to enjoy events that we would otherwise miss. On the other hand, the municipal incinerator has outlived its usefulness as its design and operations fail to meet today's environmental standards.
The examples may appear unrelated, but they do show the extent of change we have witnessed. They also point to one fact - there will be more changes on the horizon, over the next 20 years, and these changes will provide challenges for all those who want to build a better Hong Kong.
Turning to challenges for planners, you know that the Chief Executive has, in his 1999 Policy Address, outlined his vision for Hong Kong in the new Millennium. To develop Hong Kong on a sustainable path, planners do have a vital role to play. When we plan our next generation of new towns, you will have many contributions to make. When we invite competitions for new designs for our waterfront, you will have an opportunity to show your talents. When we work with Guangdong to build a sustainable future for the region, your experience in Hong Kong will be of relevance to your counterparts in Guangdong.
The Institute has already risen to many challenges in the past and has provided the Government with advice on many major development projects. The exhibition staged by the Institute today is a vivid demonstration of how its Members exercise their creativity and ingenuity not only to give an attractive face to our city but also a quality environment where generations to come would build their homes.
In closing, I would like to send the Institute of Planners my warmest congratulations for its achievement over the past 20 years and my best wishes for its future endeavours.
End/Thursday, November 4,1999