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West Island Line

The West Island Line (WIL) project proposes a three-station extension to the MTR's Island Line linking the suburbs of western Hong Kong Island to the MTR rail network. The line will serve one of the Island's earliest developed communities and one of its major educational centres, as well as support district urban renewal efforts.

The WIL utilises knowledge gained from recent project delivery experiences, in particular Mei Foo Station and Tsim Sha Tsui Station Modification Works and NP360. From the outset we viewed this project as a people, society and urban living impact transport scheme, requiring a more complex and creative approach to project strategy. We are working in a densely populated community, a restrictive built environment and in an atmosphere of distrust of new town planning infrastructures. By adopting this people/society impact view and taking process ownership, creative initiatives have been formulated to mitigate risks and distrust while capitalising on opportunities presented. This positioning adds to our broader project strategy the further social/political dimension to rail network design considerations, and the knowledge that the community is an influential voice in the processes for designing and planning projects.

In strategising community ownership of the WIL, we implemented a leveraged form of our partnering to engage principal stakeholders at the very early stages of the project. In carefully planned public forums and meetings the community expressed their expectations on the project, prompting a review of the key features of the project at different stages of the design development. The objective has been to assess the efficacy of our own best design efforts and seek improvement without adding further costs. By such involvement at the more flexible stages of project planning, the Corporation has captured a series of important benefits that have led to both substantial and creative change in project design and the wholesale community buy-in. Among them is the preservation of the unique tree-wall structure adjacent to the planned Kennedy Town Station.

After two years, we still review and prioritise stakeholder feedback to improve constructively social and urban impacts where sensible and feasible within the project. This strategy serves in parallel as a powerful conduit of information to the Government of the benefits of the new line as well as a medium for communication between the Government and community interests. This process, by default, has established the model for soliciting expectations in future community buy-ins for other rail lines now in various proposal stages.

The net result of our actions is a popular and now anticipated railway extension, the best and most effective design for users, a tolerance of future community disruption in the construction stages and a sense of community participation. The WIL project is currently in the advanced stages of the approval processes within Government