Liaison Office pledges to lower height of high-rise project
Promise will protect Guia Lighthouse ‘world-heritage view’
Macau Post Daily 30-01-2007
The Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government has pledged to lower the projected height of its headquarters in an apparent move in reaction to a public outcry that the project would block the view of, and view from, the world-heritage listed Guia Lighthouse.
The Liaison Office made the promise in a statement sent to the local Chinese-language media on Sunday night.
According to published media reports, the high-rise building was originally planned to have a height of 99.9 metres, symbolizing Macau’s return to the motherland on December 19, 1999. The Guia Hill is just 90 metres high. The Guia (“guide”) Lighthouse, built in the mid-19th century on top of the hill, stands about 15 metres high. The lighthouse is said to be the oldest on the southern Chinese coast.
According to the statement, “The Liaison Office will review the height of the new building so that it will not be higher than the Guia Hill.” The statement stressed that the Liaison Office, the Macau government and “all Macau residents” shared the “common view” of protecting the cityscape in strict accordance with local laws. The statement said the Liaison Office was also paying “very close attention” to Macau people’s opinions about the Guia Lighthouse.
The statement added that since October last year the Liaison Office had listened to a wide range of views about its construction project and the Guia Lighthouse issue. The statement said the Liaison Office was handling the project’s building-permit application procedures “in strict accordance with the law.”
According to the statement, the Liaison Office continues to strictly observe the Basic Law and “each and every law and regulation” in force in Macau, apart from listening to residents’ different views and concerns.
The statement maintained that the Liaison Office would carry out its new headquarters building in line with Macau’s overall urban development plans, adding that the project’s foundation works had already been completed.
The Liaison Office stressed that the original design of its new headquarters had been approved by the central government in Beijing and the local government.
According to the original project, the Liaison Office headquarters was to consist of 21 floors and cost some 270 million patacas to build. The project was scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, coinciding with the 8th anniversary of the establishment of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR).
Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah, Liaison Office Director Bai Zhijian, Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Vice Chairman Ma Man Kei, Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Macau Wan Yongxiang and Macau People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Garrison Commander Liu Lianhua officiated at the project’s ground-breaking ceremony on February 28 last year.
The new headquarters will be located on Avenida do Dr. Rodrigo Rodrigues near the PLA barracks in Zape. The Macau government has granted the plot of land free of charge to the Liaison Office.
The Liaison Office is presently located in the Xinhua Building on Avenida da Amizade, which also houses the China Travel Service (CTS) and Plaza Restaurant. The Xinhua Building is planned to be converted into a CTS hotel and office complex.
Meanwhile, representatives of the League of Guia Lighthouse Protectors, the Association for the Protection of Macau’s Historical and Cultural Heritage and the New Macau Association have all welcomed the Liaison Office’s pledge to lower the height of its new headquarters in order to protect the view of, and view from, the Guia Lighthouse that is part of Macau’s UNESCO-protected world heritage.
Directly elected lawmaker Au Kam San of the New Macau Association told The Macau Post Daily the Liaison Office was “setting a good example” for the local government and business community since it was taking into account the interests of all Macau people.”
Chan Su Weng, vice-chairman of the Association for the Protection of Macau’s Historical and Cultural Heritage, told The Macau Post Daily, “Our association appreciates the timely decision of the Liaison Office.
Several local heritage protection activists have said they plan to alert the UNESCO in Paris about the plight of the Guia Lighthouse in the wake of a number of high-rise construction projects in Zape that threatened to block the view of, and view from, the world-heritage building.
One of the projected high-rise buildings in Zape is reportedly planned to be 135 metres tall.