Oct 11, 2008


Green advocate and passionate champion of public forums dies sudd
{ Olga Wong Updated on *Oct 10, 2008* SCMP }

Chan Wai-kwan (added: Facebook profile at ) , a low-profile environmentalist and enthusiastic advocate of returning to people the right to plan the city, has died in Spain after suffering a stroke while on holiday with his family.He was 50.

Publicly known as the senior director for business policy of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, Chan was in fact a persistent behind-the-scenes fighter for the city's environment. He fought with his mind and pen, his colleagues and friends said.

Chan, who died on Wednesday, played a key role in completing the master plan for the redevelopment of Kai Tak, the city's first attempt to plan a project with a "bottom-up" approach. Appointed chairman of the Harbour-front Enhancement Committee of South East Kowloon Development Review, he pushed the government to hold public forums in which people were encouraged to freely talk about how their dream city should look.

"He was a very capable man and the champion of the public engagement process," said Lee Chack-fan, chairman of the Harbour-front Enhancement Committee. "We respect him very much and [his death] is untimely."

Chan incorporated the public engagement process into major development projects, Professor Lee said. "Instead of consulting the public, he allowed the public to start planning from scratch."

Hailing Chan as a bridge between business and environmentalists, the chief executive officer of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, Alex Fong Chi-wai, said the late director was the driving force in pushing through the chamber's Clean Air Charter.

"He'd been with the chamber for 18 years, playing a key role in producing many policy papers," Mr Fong said, referring to the chamber's suggestions on air quality, the World Trade Organisation and the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement.

"We are all very deeply saddened and shocked ... our hearts go out to his wife and children and we are doing all we can to assist them in their hour of need," the chamber said.

Chan was said to have fainted during a visit to a museum in Barcelona. He had been in hospital with his wife and two daughters by his side since early this week.

From protecting trees and heritage to fighting against the "wall effect" in urban renewal projects, Chan documented the problems and urged the government to find solutions as he was an experienced Town Planning Board member and Antiquities Advisory Board member.

"He was our pen and brain," said Ng Cho-nam, a director of the Conservancy Association, of which Chan had been a member since the 1970s. He would meet core members every Thursday to discuss environmental issues and policy addresses.

"Wai-kwan was one of those unsung heroes and behind-the-scene leaders who make change possible," said his schoolmate Albert Lai Kwong-tak, vice-chairman of the Civic Party. "His advice was keenly sought by all around him, including senior leaders from across a wide political spectrum," he said. "For those who know how much he contributed to civil society development and to good governance, his death is a big loss to Hong Kong."

Mr Lai said Chan's moderate views and wisdom were underpinned by a clear set of democratic and liberal values.


scleung 梁兆昌 said...

This is WK Chan's Facebook Wall of the past 2 weeks -- a diary of a person totally devoted to the environment. His last stop was in Barcelona where he passed away.

Sep 27
WK is in Barcelona. 10:59pm -

Sep 26
WK - 你三聚氰胺, 佢爭住清倉, 他? 等住天光. 8:59am

Sep 25
WK - 石牆樹: 幹倒枝折, 似在控訴. 2:55pm

Sep 21
WK is SDS (Sleep Deprivation Syndrome). 12:56am

Sep 16
WK joined the group 有冇人想加入反清拆下白泥聯盟? 12:29am

Sep 11
WK created an event. 5:21pm

Citizens Hearing: Planning Places for People
When: 3:00PM Sunday, September 21st
Where: 香港灣仔軒尼詩道15號温莎公爵社會服務大廈202室
WK wrote on the wall for the group 救救 百年老樹. 3:12pm

Sep 10
WK joined the group 救救 百年老樹. 11:03pm

scleung 梁兆昌 said...


查詢: 或 劉先生 22910238

A Memorial Exhibition cum sharing session will be held from 3p.m. to 6p.m. on Sunday 2nd November 2008 at The Conservancy Association Centre for Heritage. A naming ceremony for Dr WK Chan Library will be held at the event. All friends and members of the public are welcome. The exhibition will be open every day from 10a.m. to 7p.m. until 12th November, 2008.

Address: Annex Block, 36A Western Street, Saiyingpun, Hong Kong
Enquiries: or Mr Lau Tel:22910238