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Old December 2nd, 2006, 03:11 PM   #341
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西九擬建M+文化機構 取代4間博物館
11月 24日 星期五 05:05AM

【明報專訊】西九龍文娛藝術區諮詢委員會下的博物館小組昨日發表報告,建議設立全新文化機構「Museum Plus」(M+),展覽主題初定為設計、活動影像、流行文化及視覺藝術,取代原建議興建4間博物館。另外,據悉委員會工作進度未如理想,未能在今年底前提交西九計劃發展建議報告,政府會延長委員任期半年,至明年6月30日,預計委員會明年第一季才會提交報告。

進度不理想 委員會再度延任期

委員會成員葉國謙證實,昨日會議上,政府主動提出延長委員會任期半年。特首今年4月成立委員會,委員會原爭取在6個月內(即今年10月前)提交研究結果,其後把限期推遲至年底,是次再度延期,是因為博物館小組昨日才提交報告,財務小組需要時間召開財務審議。

西九計劃原建議是在區內興建4所獨立博物館,主題分別是現代藝術、水墨、設計和電影,但小組新建議是興建M+文化機構,當中包括4個組別的展覽和一所展覽中心,可舉行與文化藝術、創意工業有關的大型活動。

小組召集人羅仲榮表示,M+構思和主題在亞洲地區較新穎,不會有競爭對方,因此對入場人數有一定信心。展品方面,他認為問題不大,可從現時的博物館和社會中徵集,或跟外國博物館合作,「不一定件件(展品)都要是名牌、最貴的,只要社會長遠認同M+構思,便會獲得資助買新展品」。
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Old December 8th, 2006, 05:45 PM   #342
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South China Morning Post
December 2, 2006 Saturday
The fine art of cultural know-how

Some people do not live in the real world. For example, those who believe that by just learning one bar a day on the piano, they can in 17 months play the whole of Rach Three. Then there are those on the advisory group on museum facilities who have just told the government what to do with the West Kowloon Cultural District.

First of all, on what basis, historical or otherwise, could Hong Kong possibly be expected to fill nearly three-quarters of a million square feet with art, however you like to define it, and over whatever reasonable time frame you might stipulate, that would constitute an indispensable place of interest for any visitor and our residents?

Let's be bluntly honest with ourselves: through no fault of ours, we in Hong Kong have simply not had the luxury in our short existence to have cultivated a sufficiently developed sense of art to have produced much of significance. We have not had the tradition - far too short. We have not had the time - too many refugees wanting simply to get on with making a living. We have not had the encouragement or opportunities - no real crusade in education or practice for the arts.

Over the last 20 years, we have come to destroy the human level of living together on the ground and squeezed ourselves upwards into vertical spaces, from which we have become more and more detached. Within our jungle of concrete, granite and glass, filled from sea level to the Peak, it's not as if we have had time to nurture a sensibility for the romance of art.

The basic idea of the advisory group - that we ourselves can set up the whole of West Kowloon only with hired hands - is ludicrous. You cannot simply say: let's start training up professional staff and nurturing an audience and start acquiring and building up collections, and then expect them all to fall neatly into place by the time West Kowloon is built. If the idea is to headhunt an outstanding character who can help us establish an entire museum within a few years then, even if it were possible, there would be the problem of whether the government has the guts to let one person spend a great deal of money. So the entire piece of advice is weepingly unrealistic.

There is only one way forward for West Kowloon. The government must use the money from the developers, who are going to build their nasty skyscrapers and shopping malls, and plough the whole lot, plus whatever is required from our reserved kitty, to build at least one world-class museum such as the Guggenheim or the Tate, and let the likes of these experienced institutions help us learn how to run and sustain a world-class museum.

We in Hong Kong require this important leg-up. We in Hong Kong need at least a few years of hard-core experience. We are smart, but no matter how smart we are, we are in nappies in this business, and we need to trace through that scimitar curve of learning. We need to know about the ruthless art market, the collections, the collectors, how to be clever about building a collection, lighting, atmosphere, temperature, publications, storage, transport, not to mention all the professional skills required for the smooth running of a museum.

All these things cannot come together in piecemeal. Yet, without them, we would grope in the dark and potentially finish up with a white elephant. And this danger is the most dangerous thing the advisory group is offering. With so many people and so much money involved, especially on the subjective matter of art, we would run a gauntlet of high risks that could easily finish up with a disaster.

I know it is easy to criticise. But I want a marvellous West Kowloon. So let's live in the real world. Let's not try to kid ourselves and make ourselves believe that we are good enough to produce (yet) art that is world-class and cutting-edge. Hong Kong's artistic barometer has a very low mercury level, and I say so as a passionate lover of this city - but I am honest. Let's be honest. Let's live in the real world.

David Tang is the founder of the China Club and Shanghai Tang
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Old December 8th, 2006, 05:57 PM   #343
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West Kowloon Plan Image (Tif file)
http://www.hplb.gov.hk/wkcd/eng/doc/03_ozp/Plan_K20.tif
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Old February 14th, 2007, 05:04 AM   #344
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West Kowloon
31 January 2007
South China Morning Post

OVERVIEW Cherry Street, Ferry Street and Canton Road demarcate the old and new sections in West Kowloon. To the east of this border are the established Tai Kok Tsui, Yau Ma Tei and Jordan - districts characterised by a maze of criss-crossing streets lined with shops and crammed full of tired commercial and residential buildings. To the west is a 334-hectare reclaimed area for building roads serving Hong Kong International Airport and public and private housing for 100,000 people, complete with community and recreational facilities. This area will feature an art and culture hub, West Kowloon Cultural District, at the southern harbour front of the reclaimed area. Commercial and residential developments in the district are clustered around Olympic, Kowloon and Nam Cheong MTR stations, and they dwarf the older quarters to the east. The International Commerce Centre, or ICC (right), being built above the Kowloon MTR station, will be a 118-storey commercial tower.

When completed in 2010, it will be the tallest building in Hong Kong. The building and several other residential towers, hotels and serviced apartments are located on a podium housing a 1 million sqft shopping mall called Elements, to be opened this year. An additional 6 million sqft of residential, office and retail developments on the four sites around the Olympic MTR station provide another centre of living, working and shopping that helps make this part of Kowloon trendy.SCHOOLS The English Schools Foundation (ESF) operates a kindergarten on Tsing Yi Island, with bus services to most areas. ESF's Kowloon Junior School takes students aged five to 11 from this district. The school maintains two campuses on Perth Street near Ho Man Tin and on Rose Street in Yau Yat Chuen, accommodating 900 students. A school is being built on the Perth Street campus to house all students when completed in 2010. For secondary levels, ESF's Island School on Borrett Road in Mid-Levels takes students from this part of Kowloon. Jockey Club Sarah Roe School in Ho Man Tin provides education for those aged five to 19 with learning difficulties. Apart from qualified teachers, the school has a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, a physiotherapist and a nurse. There are many public schools in Yau Ma Tei, Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui.

TRANSPORT The Kowloon exit of the Western Harbour Crossing is nearby. It connects to the West Kowloon Highway that links with the highway system leading to Hong Kong International Airport. The area is served by two MTR lines - the Tung Chung line and the Airport Express line. The KCRC is building a station near Union Square as part of the new Kowloon Southern Link, which will link Tsim Sha Tsui station, Nam Cheong station and eventually Lok Ma Chau and Guangzhou. The rail connection will cut travel time from West Kowloon to Shenzhen to about 30 minutes and Guangzhou to one hour. Comprehensive bus and mini bus services to various parts of Hong Kong operate out of the Olympic, Kowloon and Nam Cheong stations.RECREATION There are bowling alleys, a golf driving range, cinemas, restaurants and shops in Olympian City One and Two. More driving ranges are available at City Golf Club (left) near the Kowloon station. There is an ice-skating rink, cinemas, restaurants and shops at Elements shopping mall at Kowloon station. Above the mall is a podium garden landscaped with aromatic plants and a large children's playground. Head east into the heartland of Kowloon packed with dining, shopping and entertainment options along Nathan Road and on the side streets branching off it. Eventually, the proposed West Kowloon Cultural District will provide a rich selection of art and cultural activities for all.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 06:38 PM   #345
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西九財務小組報告 料難如期下月完成
02月 27日 星期二 05:10AM

【明報專訊】原定年初提交報告的西九龍文娛藝術區諮詢委員會轄下的財務小組,工作進度稍有阻滯,相信未必可如期於下月內完成報 告。有消息人士透露,早前政府委聘協助小組進行財務研究的顧問公司,表現欠佳,提交的數據欠說明力,故需要較多時間進行研究,拖慢了小組報告進度。

顧問被指表現欠佳

財務小組工作進度被拖慢的原因,消息人士解釋,與顧問公司(GHK(香港)有限公司)提交的報告內容有關,其中一個例子是,顧問公司粗略估計,建議成立的文化機構「MuseumPlus」(M+)每年所需經費開支,以M+有500名職員計,公司評估每人平均年薪40萬,故單是薪酬開支每年也要2億元。此數據令小組成員驚訝,因此政府事後要求顧問公司多做研究,並作出詳細解釋。

去年4月至今,財務小組共召開了6次會議,現階段仍在討論顧問公司對表演藝術與旅遊小組及博物館小組建議的財務研究數據。有成員估計,至少要召開多2次會議,才可撰寫出報告。據知,財務小組原定昨日開會,但成員在農曆新年前數天才收到秘書處取消的通知。其中一名財務小組成員陳淑莊表示,期望能於4月復活節前「趕工」完成報告,然後提交諮詢委員會,讓他們作全盤考慮。她指早前小組主席夏佳理 已叫各人有心理準備,稍後可能要密集式開會、趕工。

明報記者羅翠欣報道
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Old March 5th, 2007, 08:15 PM   #346
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i can only see ???????????????????????
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Old March 28th, 2007, 03:00 AM   #347
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Gov't Press Release Two Days Ago:
Progress on the Consultative Committee on the Core Arts and Cultural Facilities of the West Kowloon Cultural District
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Old March 29th, 2007, 10:59 PM   #348
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So how much longer before the backhoe moves in?
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Old March 31st, 2007, 05:07 PM   #349
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The project is as much as dead for now. Perhaps after the elections, something might be done, but there are a whole bunch of other major redevelopments in the spotlight these days, such as Kwun Tong and Tamar.
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Old March 31st, 2007, 08:35 PM   #350
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haha
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 12:46 PM   #351
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RTHK news:
Public consultation on West Kowloon launched
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 07:01 PM   #352
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Here we go again!
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Old May 5th, 2007, 06:50 PM   #353
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Online launch for waterfront program
Hong Kong Standard
Friday, May 04, 2007

Environmental groups have decided not to wait for the government and have launched an online public consultation platform to discuss the future of the last frontier of the city's harborfront.

"The sooner the consultation process begins the better it is, since the government has not announced when it will begin its public consultation," Hong Kong University public opinion program director Robert Chung Ting- yiu said Thursday.

Sponsored by Hong Kong Alternatives, Society for Protection of the Harbour and Designing Hong Kong Harbour District, the poll program rolled out its first interactive platform Thursday - in the form of a discussion board - to gauge public opinion on important issues concerning the future development of West Kowloon and the harborfront.

Chung emphasized the importance of consultations that are independent from the government. This consultation is of public interest and it converges people's opinions, Chung said, adding they are "of the people, by the people and for the people."

He said registered Web users could submit their views and engage in in- depth discussions with other members on hkupop.hku.hk.

Submissions will be routinely analyzed and released to the public every two weeks. A citywide survey will also be conducted this month.

Chung said the survey, if successful, could be used as a reference in conducting public consultation on other important social issues such as constitutional reform.

Discussion on the development of the West Kowloon reclamation area began in 1998 when then-chief executive Tung Chee-hwa spoke of building a giant performance venue.

The original concept was to build a canopy on the site but this was generally not welcomed by the public.

According to a HKU survey early last year, 77 percent of the respondents were against the government's proposed canopy, while 81 percent wanted a cultural and green park on the site.

"West Kowloon is Hong Kong's last big piece of land on the harborfront, so let us develop that into a cultural green park for all to enjoy," said Chik Wing-hong, vice president of Hong Kong Alternatives.

Chik said the government should include environmental concerns in the planning, such as reducing the building density, preventing a wall effect, and increasing public access to the area.

The government is currently looking into the finance of the West Kowloon cultural site, which is estimated at HK$30 billion.

The government has invited a few private developers to bid for the project, and the successful bidder will be responsible for building the arts and cultural facilities and profit-generating properties within the part of the site it controls.

Chik said he is worried the participation of private developers will mean turning the area into commercial buildings.

Paul Zimmerman, convener of Designing Hong Kong Harbour District, hoped the platform will fuel public discussion about the future of the site.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 01:29 PM   #354
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Site-sale scheme to revive cultural hub
Hong Kong Standard
Monday, May 14, 2007

Commercial and residential sites in the proposed West Kowloon cultural district will be sold to pay for an arts component in an attempt to prevent a recurrence of the controversy, a panel has recommended.

This may breathe new life into a project that ran into a firestorm of public anger, forcing a government climbdown last year.

The West Kowloon Consultative Committee, headed by Chief Secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan, has recommended that residential and commercial sites be offloaded through government land sales and that arts and cultural facilities be left in government hands.

The consultative panel was appointed to review the 40-hectare cultural hub after it was shelved amid criticism that it is a property project being palmed off on property heavyweights.

An authority will be set up to manage the cultural facilities and amenities with a HK$20 billion injection from the government, compared with the HK$30 billion the government originally proposed developers pay up front, Sing Tao Daily, sister newspaper of The Standard, has learned.

The committee will submit a comprehensive report to Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen shortly, sources said.

Details are expected to be announced in the second half.

Having attracted heavy condemnation from various quarters since its inception, the arts hub stirred deep suspicions as a result of the single-developer approach adopted by the government, a huge transparent canopy proposed for more than half the reclaimed site and numerous other issues.

But the latest proposal may take some of the heat off the project.

The government can use the expected land sales revenue of about HK$20 billion to develop, operate and manage the cultural component of the project on its own.

"The government can further inject capital if necessary as the management authority is not a self-financing body," sources told Sing Tao.

The cost of building and operating the amenities will be significantly reduced by abandoning the idea of a huge transparent canopy and building one "must-visit mega museum," on the site, instead of four separate museums as had been suggested in the original plan, the sources added.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 01:59 PM   #355
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Gov't Press Release:
Progress of Consultative Committee on the Core Arts and Cultural Facilities of the West Kowloon Cultural District
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Old May 21st, 2007, 09:21 AM   #356
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Public will be consulted on arts hub, says Arculli
19 May 2007
South China Morning Post

The convenor of an advisory group that makes recommendations to the government on financial arrangements for the West Kowloon Cultural District project said yesterday he believed the administration would consult the public on the project's future before it finalised the details.

In an interview on RTHK, Ronald Arculli, an executive councillor, gave a public assurance that the 40-hectare project, which aims to turn Hong Kong into Asia's arts hub, would not be monopolised by one developer. "It will be two projects, actually," he said. "Commercial and residential properties will belong to one; and cultural facilities belong to another.

"Whether the arts and cultural facilities will be managed by the government or managed by a special authority, the facilities will be separated from the commercial and residential properties."

The government launched the project in 2004 and shortlisted three consortiums to bid for the right to design, build and operate the cultural district for 30 years. The winning bidder was to have used revenues from property development on the site to fund the cultural facilities.

The project was shelved in April last year following public opposition to awarding it to a single developer and the lack of enthusiasm on the part of developers to tender for it.

The government appointed a consultative committee early last year to revamp the controversial plan. Three advisory groups were set up to look into museums and performing arts facilities, and financial matters.

Revenue, including proceeds from selling land to developers on the site, will be used to build and run the arts and cultural facilities.

Yu Kam-hung, an executive director of CB Richard Ellis, estimated that the commercial and residential lands could generate about HK$58 billion.

That estimate assumes the site's plot ratio will be 1.81 and that half of the land will be for commercial development, which includes shops, offices and hotels. Twenty per cent of the land will be for residential development.

Only three public facilities in the 40-hectare development - car parks, the exhibition centre and main performance venue - would make money, the preliminary report is said to have concluded.

"We have a common goal that the arts and cultural facilities in West Kowloon will be built as soon as possible. Hopefully the public and Legislative Councillors will accept the report," Mr Arculli said. The consultative committee will submit a report to the government next month.
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Old June 1st, 2007, 05:44 PM   #357
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Gov't Press Release:
Work progress of West Kowloon Cultural District Consultative Committee
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Old June 19th, 2007, 07:05 PM   #358
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New authority to oversee West Kowloon development
Hong Kong Standard
Tuesday, June 19, 2007

An authority overseeing the controversial West Kowloon cultural district development is expected to be set up late next year.

Reporting on the progress of the 40-hectare hub to a Legislative Council subcommittee Monday, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, permanent secretary for home affairs, said the authority will be in place by the end of 2008 if legislators pass the required bills on time.

She added that work is also expected to start as soon as possible.

"There's no queue-jumping for a project of such a scale, and a long-term strategy and stable development must be ensured. We need certain financial techniques to achieve that," she said.

The Home Affairs Bureau has appointed a financial consultant to assess the project's development costs.

According to the progress report, none of the core arts and cultural facilities proposed is financially self- sustainable.

Lam said among the options an unpackaged development has become the preferred approach, where revenue from land sales would not be used to subsidize the development of the arts and cultural facilities.

However, a "funding gap" may exist since the revenues from commercial and residential land use will not be enough to cover the capital costs.

Only the proposed exhibition center and Mega Performance Venue are likely to achieve a surplus.

Democratic Party legislator James To Kun-sun suggested that financial investment may be able to offset the gap.

The Civic Party's Audrey Eu Yuet- mee asked if the preferred scenario has anything to do with land sales revenue, and wondered if the bureau would head the project after the restructuring of the government.

Lam replied that the operation and development of facilities in the district are unrelated to land sales.

She declined to reveal further details of the financial arrangements, saying everything will be in the final report to be submitted to the chief executive and Legislative Council before the end of the month.

"The West Kowloon cultural district is a 100 percent cultural and arts project, not a real-estate project," Lam said. "Hence, the Home Affairs Bureau will continue to head the project, while land sales and town planning will go under the new Development Bureau."

Other government departments will also support the project including the Planning Department and the Transport Department.

Lam also said that 23 hectares of proposed public space will not necessarily be on the ground.

"Many of these buildings need freestanding space. Public space may not be at ground level, and open space could be on the roof top. The whole public space is bigger than Victoria Park."

Lam said the government hopes the project starts operation as soon as possible.

Twelve arts and cultural facilities under the first phase are expected to be in operation in 2014. Three performing arts venues under phase two will be operational by 2026, while phase two of the Museum Plus will be operational by 2031.

Lam said development of phase two facilities will depend on the utility rates of the arts and cultural facilities.

Critics question why it should take 24 years to build the mega museum.

"If the utility rate is low, Legco and even the public may not agree with allowing the project to go ahead. Besides, museums take time to develop," Lam said.

The West Kowloon Consultative Committee, headed by Chief Secretary for Administration Rafael Hui Si-yan, will submit the final report to the chief executive and Legco for consideration before June 30, followed by a few months of public engagement before reaching the final funding stage.

The consultative panel was set up to revamp the project after it was shelved amid public criticism.
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Old June 27th, 2007, 11:38 AM   #359
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An opinion piece on what to do with the West Kowloon Cultural District :

Follow New York's example and establish a cultural green park
26 June 2007
South China Morning Post

The recent media reports about the government's pessimism on financing the cultural hub - the West Kowloon Cultural District - are indeed troubling.

Could this be the prelude to auctioning off the most valuable real estate of the last 150 years for more clusters of high-rise commercial/residential development?

Before the gavel is down, can the government consider the following problems?

Why can't the administration consider a cultural green park as an investment rather than an expense?

Given a recent survey that only older people tend to visit the limited parks in Hong Kong, isn't it about time to investigate the reasons, such as why more and more young people seek pleasure in recreational drugs in Shenzhen and elsewhere?

Mindful of the prevailing social problems, the framers of New York's Central Park of the 19th century were intent on encouraging New Yorkers to spend less time in pubs and taverns and to enjoy more family life in Central Park.

Deteriorating air quality has been a public health hazard for a number of commonly reported illnesses, such as asthma, lung cancer (the number one killer in Hong Kong) and other respiratory diseases.

Surely, improving air quality and saving lives should be receiving higher priority than short-term financial considerations.

Rather than comparing the cost benefits of land auction and reducing cultural facilities, the government should simply establish the semi-governmental "West Kowloon Cultural Authority Board".

It should then turn over the entire 42 hectares (originally designated for an open parkland) to the board with the mandate to develop a world-class cultural green park.

The board should then be charged with the infrastructure planning, including fund-raising through various sources, starting with government seed money.

I strongly urge Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen to give his personal stamp of approval to this green park.

Peter Lee, Wan Chai
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Old June 27th, 2007, 08:14 PM   #360
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Hub faces arts cuts over funds shortfall W Kowloon can't pay its way, Legco told
19 June 2007
South China Morning Post

The government is still studying whether the West Kowloon Cultural District can support itself financially, an official said yesterday, warning that the number of arts facilities might have to be reduced to minimise the funding gap.

Home Affairs Bureau Permanent Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor told lawmakers that all revenue generated by the 40-hectare development would be used for cultural development.

Her comment came after a government financial assessment found that the revenue from commercial and residential land use on the site, under the current height and gross floor area restrictions, would not cover the capital cost and recurrent deficit of the arts and cultural facilities within 50 years.

The government's financial adviser also recommended that the bureau outsource the construction and operation of the facilities, and avoid using land sales to subsidise the development directly.

"The government cannot use endless sums of public money to support cultural development, and we are now studying how to minimise the significant funding gap," Mrs Lam said at a meeting of the Legco subcommittee studying the development.

She added that the government would unveil the financial arrangements together with the concept plans for the troubled project next month.

According to suggestions by panels advising the government about the museums and performing arts and tourism aspects of the development, the first phase of 12 theatres, including a large performance venue, would start operating in 2016. The museums and exhibition centre in phase two would not begin operating until 2026 and 2031.

Members of the Legco subcommittee criticised the slow pace of development of the cultural hub. They urged the government to announce details of its design as early as possible.

"We don't want to see another cultural centre with no windows standing next to the harbour," said Emily Lau Wai-hing, in a reference to the Tsim Sha Tsui arts complex.

Mrs Lam said the authority that would oversee the project was expected to be set up by the end of next year, but the design competitions for at least three landmarks had prolonged the preparations.

She added that the second phase of development would go ahead only when phase one had succeeded in attracting visitors.

The concept plans to be published next month for would show the planning concepts of the development, including the location of the promenade, residential and commercial areas.
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