Public divided on Zone B buildings height

The height of the buildings to be constructed on reclaimed land Zone B, which may block views of Penha Hill, is causing controversy among residents. According to preliminary data released regarding the public consultation on the master plan for the reclaimed zones, from a total of 117 opinions collected up to last Friday, 60 said that that it is important to control the height of the buildings in Zone B to avoid blocking the views of Penha Hill and threatening the World Heritage City status of the territory. Conversely, 57 believe that the reclaimed land will not be properly utilised if building height is too low. During the meeting between government officials and journalists on the public consultation, the Deputy Director of Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT), Cheong Ion Man, dismissed concerns about the population density of reclaimed Zone A. “The population density was one of the concerns shared by the public about Zone A. However, this zone can be considered medium density because it will have around 96,000 people, while other zones such as Iao Hon and Horta e Costa districts have a higher density”, Mr. Cheong explained. This area will have 28,000 public housing units and 4,000 private housing units Population density Much of the dialogue of the meeting focused on Zone A and the fourth connection between Macau and Taipa, which will dissect this reclaimed area. “People are concerned that there will not be enough social facilities in this zone. However, the master plan was defined in a way that there are more facilities per person in Zone A than in other regions of Macau”, he said. It was also said that Zone A will have two retirement homes for the elderly plus additional adult day care facilities. Another question discussed was the new fuel depot, which originally was to be placed in Zone A. However, following the first public consultation on the reclaimed territories, it was decided that it is to be moved. Now the option being studied is to place it on the cross border artificial island of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. “After listening to the opinions of the population, we’ve decided to move the fuel depot from Zone A to the cross-border artificial island. However, now we are studying the technical and safety aspects of this decision”, Cheong Ion Man said. “Nevertheless, the temporary fuel depot in Ilha Verde will be removed”. Fourth connection In relation to the fourth connection, a decision to build a bridge or tunnel is expected by the end of the year, according to the Secretary for Transport and Public Works. The DSSOPT director said that one of the points essential for this decision is for the connection to be able to be used in spite of weather conditions such as typhoons. “Our previous consultations showed that the most important thing for the population is to make sure that they can use the connection in spite of weather conditions and that will be taken into account”, he said. The possibility of introducing a tunnel with a dedicated corridor for motorcycles was also commented upon. “We are studying this option among others. It will depend upon what is expected but there are always solutions. However, our study for the connection from April 2013 finds that the creation of an exclusive corridor for motorcycles would increase the cost of the construction by 24 per cent”, he said, without revealing the final estimated cost. The tunnel would be constructed 50 to 60 metres below the level of the sea. The public consultation on the master plan for the reclaimed land will run until 28 August.