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The Invigorating Island South (IIS) initiative announced in the 2020 Policy Address proposed a series of key projects, reaping the enhanced connectivity with other districts after the commissioning of the MTR South Island Line, taking the opportunity brought by the large scale residential development to be completed in the area, and making good use of the blue-green resources in the Southern District, to develop the Southern District into a place for people to work, live, explore new ideas and have fun.

The Development Bureau subsequently set up the Invigorating Island South Office (IISO) in 2021 to co-ordinate and implement various key projects, including enhancing the walking environment, waterfront areas, public spaces, leisure facilities and other community and tourism facilities in the Wong Chuk Hang, Aberdeen and Ap Lei Chau areas, exploring the enhancement of berthing and landing facilities in Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter, expediting the transformation of old industrial buildings in Wong Chuk Hang, and exploring consolidation and redevelopment of public facilities to promote "single site, multiple uses", etc. The IISO is also responsible for co-ordinating the work on the 60-kilometre "Round-the-Island Trail" proposed in the 2022 Policy Address. The IISO also actively participates in projects led by other policy bureaux, which include assisting in taking forward the development projects under the future strategy for Ocean Park, and exploring the development of a water sports complex at the rehabilitated Shek O Quarry Site.

The IISO formulated the first Conceptual Master Plan (CMP) covering the IIS focus areas, i.e. the Wong Chuk Hang, Aberdeen and Ap Lei Chau areas, in August 2021 and consulted more than 30 stakeholder groups. After considering and incorporating the stakeholders' comments where appropriate, the CMP 2.0 was promulgated in March 2022, which covers the broad strategies, conceptual planning and ways of implementation.

Enhancing pedestrian connectivity of the Wong Chuk Hang Business Area and the waterfront area nearby while improving the pedestrian environment along Shum Wan Road and Po Chong Wan

The IISO commissioned a consultancy study in December 2021 to formulate comprehensive pedestrian environment and traffic improvement proposals as well as waterfront and open space enhancement proposals to bring vibrancy to the Wong Chuk Hang, Aberdeen waterfront, Ap Lei Chau North, and Sham Wan and Po Chong Wan areas. The study is expected to be completed in the middle of this year. The short and medium-to-long term proposals formulated in the study will then be taken forward from this year onward by way of minor works or public works project procedures in order of priority and project scale.

Besides, various quick-win measures taken forward in parallel with the study have largely been completed (including renovating the Wong Chuk Hang Road flyover and footpaths, repaving road surface in the Main Street, Ap Lei Chau area, and providing additional pedestrian crossing facilities at different locations, etc.) or will commence works soon (including the widening of footpaths along Shum Wan Road near the two temporary industrial areas and fronting Ocean Park's plant nursery, landscape enhancement to the upstream section of Staunton Creek Nullah, and provision of/improvement to sitting-out areas along the southern part of the Wong Chuk Hang Business Area, etc.).

Enhancing the cultural and leisure facilities in the vicinity of Aberdeen and Wong Chuk Hang, and beautifying public spaces and cityscape through "place making" approach

To bring early improvements, the IISO took the lead to take forward several minor works projects in the area last year, including opening up the enclosed landscaped and lawn area adjoining Ap Lei Chau Park, widening the waterfront promenade next to the open-air carpark in Ap Lei Chau North, and making an overall improvement to the marine-related signage around Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter, so as to provide more leisure space for the public and enhance the waterfront environment.

Besides, the IISO and the relevant government departments have formulated proposals for enhancing the waterfronts on both sides of Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter based on different themed zones as the design framework, including adding cultural elements, and will first commence part of the enhancement works through minor works projects from this year onward, including opening up the vacant area adjoining Ap Lei Chau Main Street Sewage Pumping Station, adding children's play facilities near Aberdeen Tennis and Squash Centre, and extending the children's playground in Ap Lei Chau Park proposed to be transformed. The IISO is also defining the development framework and scope for the open space sites yet to be developed in the northeastern part of Ap Lei Chau, which will be taken forward in accordance with the public works procedures.

Other place-making projects include the Green Link in Wong Chuk Hang and the revitalisation of Staunton Creek Nullah, etc. The Green Link in Wong Chuk Hang will connect the MTR Wong Chuk Hang Station and Aberdeen Country Park through a series of sitting-out areas and pedestrian facilities. Construction works have just commenced, and expected to be completed in the first half of next year. On the plan for revitalising Staunton Creek Nullah, the Drainage Services Department will first commence works early next year to construct an about-450 metres long boardwalk along the northern bank in the downstream section of the nullah for completion in 2027. This will help to enhance the connectivity between the Wong Chuk Hang Business Area and the waterfront.

Expansion of Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter and vessel berthing area as well as providing more landing facilities

The Civil Engineering and Development Department is carrying out the preparatory work for the environmental impact assessment for the Expansion of Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter project. Site investigation works have just been completed, and various detailed impact assessments, gazetting and detailed design will be carried out this year. The Government plans to complete these tasks and seek funding from the Legislative Council next year, and commence the construction works in 2025 for completion in 2028 to provide more vessel berthing area. The relevant bureaux and departments are also taking forward the provision of additional landing facilities and harbour steps on the northeast coast of Ap Lei Chau to suit the needs of typhoon shelter users.

Expediting the redevelopment or conversion of old industrial buildings in Wong Chuk Hang

Between 2021 and 2022, there were three commercial buildings newly completed and three applications for redevelopment/ wholesale conversion of industrial buildings under processing in the Wong Chuk Hang Business Area. The IISO will continue to provide facilitation services for development proposals from the private sector to help expedite the transformation of old industrial buildings in the business area through the policy of revitalisation of industrial buildings.

Redevelopment or consolidation of existing "Government, Institution or Community" sites or facilities in the district

The IISO, the Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau and the relevant departments have formulated proposals for the "single site, multiple uses" development on redevelopment and enhancement of recreation and sports facilities in Wong Chuk Hang, which includes the reprovision of the recreation centre, sports ground and swimming pool in Wong Chuk Hang, incorporating skatepark, district health centre, elderly health centre, small library, public vehicle park and other facilities. The relevant departments are conducting traffic impact assessment, and the technical feasibility study will be completed in the third quarter of this year. The project will be taken forward in accordance with the public works procedures.

The IISO is exploring with the relevant bureaux and departments on the possibility of consolidating the existing bus depot facilities in Wong Chuk Hang with a view to releasing part of the sites for suitable development.

"Round-the-Island Trail"

The 2022 Policy Address announced the development of a "Round-the-Island" Trail of about 60 kilometres on Hong Kong Island, connecting the waterfront promenades on the northern shore and a number of existing promenades and countryside walking trails in the Southern District. The IISO is responsible for co-ordinating and working with the relevant departments to take forward this project. The Civil Engineering and Development Department will commence studies and design from this year onward as well as commence some of the works progressively through block allocation, with a view to connecting 90 per cent of the Trail within five years.

Deep Water Bay Pier and Tai Shue Wan Pier

The Civil Engineering and Development Department commissioned site investigation and preliminary design for the Deep Water Bay Pier and Tai Shue Wan Pier in July 2022. Subject to the results of the ongoing feasibility study, construction of the piers is targeted for commencement in 2025 and completion in 2027 and 2028 for Tai Shue Wan Pier and Deep Water Bay Pier respectively.

The piers will help to enhance Ocean Park’s in-park circulation and connectivity with other attractions in the Southern District and beyond, and consolidate the Ocean Park’s position in organising marine tourism in the Southern District.

Source of Information and Picture: Invigorating Island South Office Website of Development Bureau

Complimentary copies available to members of the following associations:

The Hong Kong Construction Association
Macau Coustruction Association
Hong Kong General Building Contractors Association
Hong Kong Institute of Utility Specialists
China Hongkong Society for Trenchless Technology Association
Hong Kong Construction Materials Association Limited
Contractor's Authorised Signatory Association
Hong Kong Construction Machinery Association