Speech on Announcement of the Discovery of Seawall Remains at Harcourt Garden(2012.11.27)

Mr CHAN Kin-por said while the professional views of the archaeologist engaged by MTRCL that the heritage value of the remains was relatively low should be respected, he considered it more desirable for MTRCL to announce the discovery of the remains, regardless of its heritage value, at the earliest stage to avoid arousing public suspicions. He sought clarifications on the appropriateness of MTRCL’s practice in reporting the discovery.

Permanent Secretary for Development (Works) (“PS/DEV(W)”) said that the report of the discovery had been handled according to established procedures. MTRCL’s archaeologist had all along maintained communication with AMO over her archaeological search and study at the site. The archaeologist notified AMO in a timely manner in late September about the discovery of the remains, which was done in accordance with the relevant conditions in the licence granted to her for conducting archaeological search at the site. As the heritage value of the seawall remains was not high, it was not required under the existing practice for AMO to immediately inform AAB of the findings. However, under the enhanced measures to be introduced, once AMO had been notified of any archaeological discoveries and had completed a preliminary assessment on the heritage value of such discoveries, and before AMO informed the project proponent/archaeologist concerned of the agreed preservation method, AMO would report the discovery to AAB.

Preservation of the seawall remains

Given that in-situ preservation of the seawall was not possible, Mr CHAN Kin-por asked whether the Administration would consider exhibiting some stone blocks in the museum in the future. Permanent Secretary for Development (Works) said that MTRCL and AMO would consider how to display the seawall remains.

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