The following is the speech given by the Secretary for Planning and Lands, Mr John C Tsang, at the Town Planning Board Farewell Dinner today (April 22):
My fellow Members,
Good evening. This evening is for us to relax without papers, without presentations and without intense discussions. This evening is simply for enjoying our meals without having to time ourselves to rush back to the Conference Room of the Town Planning Board. There is no agenda for our "meeting" tonight. It's not even an occasion for a formal speech either. However, I would like to take this opportunity to bid farewell to ten Members who are retiring from the Board and to welcome five new members.
First of all, I would like to thank Messrs Edward Pong, Nic Brooke, K K Chan, Daniel Heung, Dr Endicott, Mr M T Lo, Mr Anthony Ng, Professor Jim and Professor Leung Yee for their invaluable contribution to the Board. I would also like to take the opportunity to pay tribute to Mr Pope who will soon be retiring from the post of Director of Lands after serving more than 30 years in the civil service.
Bob, Edward, Nic, K K, Daniel and Professor Jim have all served on the Board for more than eight years. The record is held by K K and Daniel for a total of 12 years each. They deserve long-service medals for their dedication and unfailing support to the work of the Board.
In addition, due to personal commitments, Mr M T Lo, Mr Anthony Ng, Professor Leung and Dr. Endicott have also retired from the Board.
We will miss all of you. We will miss our Friday rendezvous. Apart from the words of wisdom that you have generously tendered at the Board meetings, we will also miss your sense of humour which made an otherwise frigid process lively and interesting.
Now, let us welcome our new Members:
* Ms Carmen Chan, a dedicated kindergarten educationalist, who is also a serving member of Heung Yee Huk;
* Professor Nora Tam, a renowned biologist with intensive involvement in the work of environmental conservation;
* Mr Erwin Hardy, a successful businessman with extensive experience in banking;
* Dr Robert Kennard, with rich experience in structural engineering, is now invited to have a closer feel for the town planning process after serving on the Town Planning Appeal Board for more than 7 years; and
* Mr Tony Tse, an estate surveyor by training, would be able to share with us his extensive knowledge and experience in surveying and real estate development.
Thank you for accepting the appointments. I am sure that you will find the work of the Board voluminous, but meaningful and challenging.
Last year, the Town Planning Board considered over 100 statutory plans, 4,000 objections, 800 planning applications and about 100 review applications. The impressive achievement of the Board cannot be reflected merely by astronomical figures. We listened also to the views of various sectors of the community, considered their proposals and concerns, and balanced different interests against the many planning considerations. We have made a lot of difficult decisions, many with far-reaching implications. Through the hard work of the Board, we are moving towards the goal of developing Hong Kong into a world city and meeting the growing aspirations of our community for a more sustainable future. Win-win solutions are not easy to come by, but I can assure you that your hard work has contributed significantly to this objective.
For the Members who have retired, we are proud of your precious contribution. Let's keep in close contact and we look forward to your continuous support.
For the new Members, I hope you would enjoy the task ahead and, for all of you who are staying on, a big thank you. With concerted efforts, we will make Hong Kong a better place to live for us as well as our future generations.
Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to, and I am sure you will join me in thanking members of the Board Secretariat. Without their dedication, organization and sound guidance, we would not be able to accomplish the work we have been tasked.
I wish all of you an enjoyable evening.
End/Monday, April 22, 2002