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Old February 10th, 2009, 11:15 AM   #561
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Saturday October 8 2005

Hong Kong scores for a minimalist approach to art appreciation

Rex Aguado

Four years after being exiled to a small though still pleasant little corner in the depths of the Louvre in Paris, the Mona Lisa has found a permanent home after a journey of half a millennium.

Surrounded by hectares of 16th-century Italian masterpieces in the museum's Salle des Etats, Leonardo da Vinci's La Gioconda holds her ground with her stamp-sized but cosmic-scaled smile.

The move cost Euro4.8 million ($45.2 million) as the hall had to be properly fitted, including non-reflective, unbreakable glass to protect the 500-year-old painting from climatic changes, camera flashes and wilful damage.

The Mona Lisa's homecoming, however, may soon be eclipsed by the forthcoming opening of the Musee du Quai Branly on the left bank of the Seine under the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

The museum, 10 years in the making and with a budget of US$142 million, will house the country's vast collection of artefacts and works related to the arts and civilisations of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.

It is probably not far-fetched to say that most French people regard culture as a human right, and that they believe that the incumbent government - of whatever political persuasion - has the obligation to provide access to the arts in the spirit of liberte, fraternite, egalite.

No wonder then that, on the first Sunday of every month, all museums, galleries and arts centres are open free to the public - including the millions of visiting culture vultures.

The Japanese model of providing public access to culture may not be as generous as its French counterpart. But it boasts its own sense of civic virtue in the name of the arts.

Perhaps the best model of this is the Mori Arts Center, the centrepiece of Japan's biggest integrated property development to date, the US$4 billion Roppongi Hills complex in Tokyo.

Sitting on an 11-hectare site and 17 years in the making, the complex boasts office space, apartments, shops, restaurants, cinemas, a hotel, a television studio, an outdoor amphitheatre, and a few parks.

But the jewel in the crown is the Mori Arts Museum, the brainchild of property tycoon Minoru Mori and his wife, Yoshiko.

Perched on top of the 54-storey Mori Tower, the museum focuses on Japanese and Asian artists, and boasts one of the best modern art collections in the region, if not the world.

The museum embodies that very Japanese value of art appreciation as an expression of individual refinement that verges on a spiritual mission.

Here, art is not meant for profit-making, as it is supported by earnings from other business interests of the philanthropic Mori couple.

But perhaps in a demonstration of the collateral benefits of art, the Roppongi Hills complex has helped revive Tokyo's long-moribund property market, thereby boosting the Moris' fortunes and allowing them to buy even more art works for their museum.

Philanthropy is also a key element in the American model of preserving and presenting arts and culture, though aggressive fund-raising is still pursued.

In the United States, museums and galleries are practically brand names, like the Guggenheim, the Frick and the Whitney in New York, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, and the well-funded Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Born and bred in the bastion of global capitalism, these institutions are experts in selling themselves to deep-pocketed patrons and are notorious for cut-throat competition to secure the bequest of important art collections.

Even the publicly funded American museums have refined the savvy of marketing themselves. Witness, for instance, the cunning ability of New York's Museum of Modern Art to mine its collections to devise a complete range of furniture and houseware.

Then there is the hybrid Singaporean model, where art and culture are largely funded by the government but is ultimately treated as an industry whose merits are judged by its contribution to gross national product and the unemployment rate.

It is a very laissez-faire approach, but in a peculiarly Singaporean way, where culture is largely confined to the entertainment and commercial sphere, and kept from instigating debates on social issues such as political dissent, gender and race relations.

Hong Kong has to find its own model among these various approaches to arts and culture.

A cursory survey suggests that the government - true to its avowed policy of not choosing industrial champions - also has a very hands-off policy when it comes to the arts and culture.

The government, with the Hong Kong Jockey Club chipping in, funds bodies such as the Arts Development Council, which awards grants to several arts and cultural groups in the city.

One of the biggest expressions of government policy on the arts is the West Kowloon cultural district. The project, however, is in danger of turning into a mere property development, with a cultural centre as an add-on, like those pathetic, understocked refreshment kiosks on public beaches.

Given its half-hearted and confused efforts to promote culture, the Hong Kong government has been scored for its very minimalist approach to art. It is, in a way, a highly conceptual arts policy.

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Old February 10th, 2009, 11:16 AM   #562
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Saturday October 8 2005

Cultural issues get short shrift, critics say

Andy Cheng and Chloe Lai

Arts groups, architects blast lack of specifics on West Kowloon facilities

Architects, arts groups and development experts yesterday criticised the government's new plan for West Kowloon, saying the project was still a property development and that cultural matters were not addressed.

They said about 65 per cent of the site would still be built by a single developer.

The government had not specified what would be housed in the facilities and whether there was any cultural policy to go along with the project.

Vincent Ng Wing-shun, vice-president of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects, said the new plan was tailor-made for property developers because the successful bidder no longer needed to run the cultural facilities, including four museums, an art exhibition centre and a theatre complex.

Mr Ng said: 'It gives the chance for more property developers and they will shut their mouths.

'The setting up of a statutory body overseeing the cultural facilities means the successful bidder will not need to bear the risk of running them.'

The developers would only need to work out how they could make a profit under the condition that they needed to set up a $30 billion trust fund for the statutory body, Mr Ng said.

While the bidders had been trying to impress the public by teaming up with cultural groups and artists previously, the property giants would not do so under the new plan because there was no need to do so.

But Mr Ng said it was good for the government to set the maximum plot ratio at 1.81.

Ada Wong Ying-kay, from the People's Panel on West Kowloon, said she was disappointed the government had failed to say what would be housed in the cultural facilities.

'It is still a single-tendering approach, only on a smaller scale,' she said outside the Legislative Council yesterday after Chief Secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan had outlined the plan.

Ms Wong, who is also the chairwoman of Wan Chai District Council, said she hoped the government could work out a clear cultural policy, or the cultural facilities would be 'empty in content'.

She also criticised the government's insistence on going ahead with the expensive canopy.

Albert Lai Kwong-tak, chairman of the Hong Kong People's Council for Sustainable Development, said the planned statutory body would face a risky situation because it had not played a role in designing the West Kowloon facilities.

'The statutory body is just there to oversee the maintenance of cultural facilities,' Mr Lai said. 'It seems that the whole West Kowloon project is like a human with no brain.

'There is no one setting a culture policy for it. There is a vacuum in it.'

Mr Lai, who is also chairman of the Conservancy Association's centre for heritage, said the government should develop the site in phases.

'The current approach, building all facilities in one go, kills all other possibilities,' he said.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 11:16 AM   #563
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Saturday October 8 2005

Henderson to push on even if the margin is close to nothing

Ernest Kong and Peggy Sito

Henderson Land Development, one the three bidders for the West Kowloon Cultural District, said the new proposal will shrink the project's profit margin.

'In the new proposal, half of the site needs to be auctioned, only a small part is left behind, and the plot ratio has also been changed. It is very different [from the original plan],' Henderson chairman Lee Shau-kee said.

'Only a small piece [of residential and commercial space] will be left.

'We will go ahead even if the margin is close to nothing, as long as the project is good for Hong Kong people,' said Mr Lee, adding that the company already had invested a substantial amount of time and energy in the project.

'The proposal has considered everyone's interest and it has assuaged some of the discontent expressed earlier,' he said.

However, vice-chairman Colin Lam Ko-yin said the firm still needed to have more discussion with government to decide if the firm would participate in the project.

'We also have to consider our shareholders' interest,' Mr Lam said.

He said it was still not clear how the $30 billion trust fund to cover the cost of operating the cultural facilities and maintaining the canopy should be set up, and if the winning bidder should put up all the money immediately.

Another shortlisted bidder, Sun Hung Kai Properties, which submitted a joint bid with Cheung Kong (Holdings), said the plot ratio was quite different from its proposal.

'We need to talk with our partners before deciding whether to participate in the project or not,' said Eric Chow Kwok-yin, an executive director of SHKP's sales and marketing arm Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency.

Cheung Kong (Holdings) said: 'In regards to the way forward as proposed by the government for the West Kowloon Cultural District, we support the government in principle. We will conduct a detailed study on its content and feasibility.'

The consortium formed by Sino Land, Wharf Holdings and Chinese Estates Holdings said in a written reply: 'We fully support the government's decision.'

In response to the government proposal, Swire Properties, whose proposal was earlier rejected, said: 'It is now up to the government and the public to decide what they want for Hong Kong.'
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Old February 10th, 2009, 11:17 AM   #564
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Saturday October 8 2005

Arts hub carved up to satisfy the public, says Hui

Chloe Lai

Critics decry decision to keep canopy and allow one developer to dominate project

The unpopular single-developer approach for the West Kowloon Cultural District was officially scrapped yesterday after months of wrangling and speculation, in what Chief Secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan said was a move to 'satisfy public demands'.

But the revised plan immediately ran into a barrage of criticism from legislators, who called it a single tender in disguise.

Critics were also upset that the huge canopy from the original Lord Foster design would be kept and complained that the government remained uncommitted to developing a cultural policy before proceeding with the project.

'The government will improve the plan to satisfy the public's demands and give the people of Hong Kong a world-class cultural hub,' Mr Hui said.

'We will abolish the single tender, lower the development density, significantly reduce the residential development and demand that the winning bidder gives money for the arts hub's operation.'

In measures approved by the Executive Council on Tuesday, the winner chosen from the three shortlisted bidders will be in charge of the master plan instead of building and operating the entire 40-hectare waterfront site.

The winner will directly control only 65 per cent of the site, with at least 30 per cent reserved for arts and cultural facilities.

It will also have to fork out at least $30 billion to set up a trust fund to pay for the operation of the arts facilities and a new statutory body that will run them. The fund will also cover maintenance of the canopy, an automated people-mover and open space.

Speaking at a meeting of the Legislative Council House Committee, Mr Hui also announced the expected new restrictions on the project, which limit the plot ratio governing development density to 1.81 and carve out at least half of the profit-making area for sale to other developers.

The three shortlisted bidders have until the end of January to decide whether they want to participate in the modified plan.

Mr Hui promised they would have time to revise their proposals.

If two drop out, the government will start the project all over again.

Mr Hui said that as the new plan was a continuation of the one the government had announced earlier, the project would not be opened to new participants at this stage. And as public opinion on the Lord Foster canopy was 'inconclusive', it would remain in the plan at this stage.

Although the method for selling the carved-out land has not been decided, Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Michael Suen Ming-yeung said it was likely to be carried out either through the government or the new statutory body.

The winning company will be prohibited from bidding for the carved-out land and will be barred from buying any property built there before the arts hub project is completied.

Mr Hui also promised that the Town Planning Board would be consulted.

Democratic Party chairman Lee Wing-tat said: 'The government appears to be listening to public opinion; but it is twisting public opinion. It is changing the project from a super-single-tender approach to a big-single-tender approach.'

Alan Leong Kah-kit, of the Article 45 Concern Group, described the new plan as 'even worse than the original one as the winning bidder will be spared from operating the arts hub'.

Mr Leong, who chairs the Legco subcommittee on the West Kowloon Cultural Development, said: 'The government is not responding to the anxiety of the public about the single-developer approach. It shows the government doesn't consider this is a cultural project.'

The Foster plan approved by government

? 40-hectare site granted to one developer

? Winning bidder to manage the development for 30 years

? Baseline plot ratio of 1.81, but developers can negotiate higher density with the government

? 55% of the site to be covered by a canopy designed by Lord Foster

The new plan revealed yesterday

?No single developer approach: winner can develop only up to 50% of commercial and residential space and must contract out the rest, equivalent to 35% of the site

? Winning bidder to set up a $30b trust fund to maintain cultural and public facilities, including the canopy

? A statutory body to oversee operation of the cultural facilities

? Maximum plot ratio of 1.81, meaning a gross floor area of about 750,000 square metres. Housing not to exceed 20% of area

? Core cultural facilities should account for 30% of the gross floor area
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Old February 10th, 2009, 11:18 AM   #565
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Sunday October 9 2005

Hub winner faces $50b bill for building arts facilities

Dikky Sinn

The successful bidder for the West Kowloon Cultural District could face a bill as high as $50 billion for the arts component of the project.

Chief Secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan yesterday clarified in a meeting with two lawmakers that developers would have to pay the cost of construction of the controversial canopy, art and cultural facilities and an automated train service.

This is in addition to an upfront $30 billion payment to a trust fund for the operation and maintenance of the facilities.

Independent legislator Albert Cheng King-hon estimated the construction cost could stretch the total investment on the arts component of the hub to at least $50 billion. The Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors put the construction cost of the arts facilities at about $12 billion, taking the total bill to $42 billion.

'If it's $50 billion, I would not participate in the project [if I was a developer] because there's not much profit to be made,' Mr Cheng said after the meeting.

Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Michael Suen Ming-yeung yesterday said the $30 billion for the trust fund was only an assumption which was subject to changes according to annual returns and inflation. 'If these factors change in the future, the amount will be adjusted. But it will be in no relation to the profit,' he said.

Permanent Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Rita Lau Ng Wai-lan said the new requirement for the winning bidder to carve out at least half of the residential and commercial gross floor area for other developers was in response to public opinion and to encourage competition.

She said there would be mechanisms to prevent the winning developer owning all the best land at the site.

Spokesmen for Henderson Land Development and the joint bid of Sun Hung Kai Properties and Cheung Kong (Holdings) yesterday declined to comment on the new model for the project, saying they were now studying the revised plan.

Henderson chairman Lee Shau-kee said on Friday that his company would go ahead with the project if they won, even if the profit margin was small.

The government will have to start the cultural hub project all over again if two bidders decided to drop out. But Mr Cheng believed the government already had a back-up plan. The three shortlisted bidders have until the end of January to decide whether they want to stay in the running for the project.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 11:18 AM   #566
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Monday October 10 2005

Revised plan 'can dispel profit fears'

Polly Hui

The revised plan for the West Kowloon Cultural District could retain the best of a single-developer concept and dispel public criticism over profits being pocketed by one party, the secretary for home affairs says.

Patrick Ho Chi-ping said the public had failed to see how the single-developer approach could benefit the growth of the cultural hub. He said it was only through a coherent development plan that clustering and synergistic effects could be achieved.

He said: 'We still take the single developer as a conceptual provider of the whole layout. But the developer also has to divest a lion's share of commercial interest. I think the public was more concerned about how commercial interest could be concentrated in one pocket.'

The latest plan, unveiled by Chief Secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan on Friday, has scrapped the controversial single-developer approach. It requires the winning bid to set aside half of the commercial and residential space for open bidding, implying that the developer will control only 65 per cent of the 40-hectare waterfront site, with at least 30 per cent reserved for arts and cultural facilities.

The winner will have to pay $30 billion into a trust fund for the operation of the cultural facilities and a statutory body that will run them.

Dr Ho also said the winner would only be able to make recommendations on which part of the land to carve out for bidding. The final decision would rest with the government.

Responding to criticism that the statutory body would effectively work in favour of the major developer as it would free it from the responsibility of running the cultural complex, Dr Ho admitted that the government could never please everyone.

'At the beginning, we said we would let developers run the cultural complex. But the public [said] that developers were not equipped to run it. Now we rid the developers of the task and ask the people to take over, there are criticisms again. What do you want? Should it be run by the government instead?' he said.

'I think the government is doing its best to listen to the people. After all, West Kowloon does not belong to the government. It belongs to the people in Hong Kong. They have to have a sense of ownership of this project. Do they have to like it? I think they do.'

Dr Ho said the statutory body, which is expected to be set up in 2007 at the earliest with all members appointed by the chief executive, would require different expertise at various stages.

He said talks with the three shortlisted developers - Dynamic Star International, Sunny Development and World City Culture Park - would begin soon. They have until the end of January to decide whether they want to take part in the modified plan.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 11:19 AM   #567
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Wednesday October 12 2005

First-rate returns, second-rate facilities?

Quinton Chan

Every company knows that there are two ways to boost profits - increase revenue and cut spending. This truism also applies to the three bidders competing for the West Kowloon Cultural District project.

The revised scheme for the development, announced by the government on Friday, appears at first to have significantly reduced the three bidders' scope to reap profits. The winning bidder will now be allowed to develop only half of the 750,000 square metres of residential and commercial gross floor area, and must contract out the rest. It has to build an arts hub and pay another $30 billion up front into a trust fund to pay for the operation and maintenance of the facilities.

The government also reduced the project's density, setting the maximum plot ratio at 1.81. All this means a 50- to 70-per-cent reduction in the proposed gross floor area for building. Some surveyors have estimated that it will cost the winning bidder an expensive $17,000 per square foot to build the commercial and residential properties there. Henderson Land chairman Lee Shau-kee said on Friday that the firm would go ahead with its bid, but that its profit would be small.

The public seems largely to support the revised scheme, which drops the controversial single-developer approach and addresses concerns that the winning bidders would reap huge profits.

Now, it may seem as if the only way the bidders can make a profit is to cut spending. Under the original plans, bidders proposed teaming up with top cultural groups like the Centre Pompidou, Guggenheim Museums, Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Company, the Victoria and Albert Museum and New York's Metropolitan Museum. Will they still come to Hong Kong? Or will we end up with a second-class, rather than a world-class, cultural hub because of the harsh terms offered by the government?

The key question here is whether the revised scheme will really cut the bidders' revenue significantly.

The $30-billion advance payment sounds like a huge investment. However, all three bidders did propose to set up such a fund in their original proposals, even though they were not specific about the sum.

But is it true that the successful bidder will now make much less money than before from property sales? That seems partly true. But while the project will have less land to develop for residential and commercial purposes, the site's lower density under the revised plan will make individual properties much more expensive than before. The maximum plot ratio of just 1.81 is similar to that found on the Peak.

Compare property prices nearby. At The Arch, a luxury residential project near Kowloon Station and the cultural hub, properties sold for up to $30,000 per square foot early this year. But its plot ratio, at nine, means that the area is as densely populated as Mongkok.

So, how much would one have to pay for a harbourfront apartment in the new cultural hub, per square foot? The reduced plot ratio makes the site more exclusive: Suddenly, the estimated $17,000-per-square-foot cost to build apartments and shops in the arts hub may not sound so expensive.

The revised scheme still allows developers to make good profits. So we need to guard against them delivering a second-class development using the excuse that they face smaller profits from property sales.

As former president Jiang Zemin pointed out, it would be too simple - even naive - to believe property tycoons when they say they are willing to build a world-class cultural hub with little, or even no, profit.

Quinton Chan is the Post's deputy news editor
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Old February 10th, 2009, 11:20 AM   #568
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Wednesday October 12 2005

Artistic heritage

Aspiring young artists now have the chance to learn painting and drawing in an inspiring historical setting.

Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) has recently set up its new Academy of Visual Arts in the former Royal Air Force Officers' Mess in Kowloon Bay.

The 38,000 sq ft building, which the university is renting from the government, was built in the 1930s, and is an example of early 20th century European architecture. It is categorised as a Grade I listed building.

The university has reconstructed parts of the building and the students are already having lessons there.

However, the full reconstruction project is only expected to be completed next summer as it has to follow strict guidelines set by the government's Antiquities and Monuments Office to preserve the original style of the building.

The University Grants Committee has provided the university with a $37 million start-up fund to cover the renovation and five-year rental charges for the premises.

When it is finished, the academy will have a main gallery and 12 studios for activities such as ceramics, jewellery design, installation art, photography and sculpture.

'I like the building. It is full of style and it's tranquil. The main campus is very crowded. This location provides more inspiration to study and create art,' says Year One arts student Candy Chan Ching-yi.

The 20-year-old undergraduate says that it had been her wish, since she was young, to study arts at university, but there were few opportunities for aspiring artists in Hong Kong.

Of the eight local universities, only the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and now HKBU offer fine arts degree programmes. CUHK recruits only 20 students a year.

But HKBU's new programme - a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Visual Arts - offered places to 40 students this academic year. And an additional 25 places will be provided from next year to associate degree holders for Year Two admissions.

With so few arts places available at Hong Kong universities, competition to get on HKBU's new programme was tough. This year's freshmen were selected from more than 400 applicants who had to take a sketching test and present their portfolios to professors at an interview.

Assistant Professor Choi Yan-chi says that the academy will not only provide fine arts courses, but also applied arts courses which aim to provide graduates with skills suitable for the job market.

In addition to traditional drawing, painting, aesthetics and Chinese calligraphy classes, students can also learn about exhibit design, photography, digital media and multi-media design - skills which are needed in many industries.

Student Eric Cheng Ka-wah, 19, says he is optimistic about a future career as an artist even though many people, especially in Hong Kong, think that it is a difficult way to earn a living. He explains that art graduates can work as designers, advertising directors and curators.

He also thinks that the West Kowloon Cultural District, when it is completed, will offer many more opportunities for local artists.

To learn more about the Academy and the new BA programme, visit its website, www.arts.hkbu.edu.hk/{tilde}va/
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Old February 10th, 2009, 11:21 AM   #569
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Thursday October 13 2005

A risky business

Christine Loh

Last week's big news was the government's revised plan to take the controversial 40-hectare West Kowloon Cultural District project forward.

This week, it is the policy address. Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's ambition is to be Hong Kong's master builder. Not only does he want to put a large government complex on the Tamar site quickly; he also wants to get on with developing the old Kai Tak site.

The revised plan for West Kowloon, released last Friday, provides useful insight into how the Tsang administration makes decisions, which in turn reflects Hong Kong's trend in governance.

The government says only the three shortlisted bidders will be considered. The winner can develop up to 50 per cent of the residential and commercial space, and must contract out the rest. The plot ratio is limited to 1.81 for the entire site, and the large canopy and an automated people-mover must be built.

The developer will have to devote at least 30 per cent of the gross floor area to arts venues. Only 20 per cent of the development can be residential. Moreover, the chosen developer must pay $30 billion upfront into a trust fund to support the operating costs of the arts venues and the people-mover, and maintenance for the canopy. That fund will also pay for a new, supervisory statutory body.

A total cost of $12 billion for the arts venue has appeared in news reports, while the canopy cost is estimated at $5 billion. The total outlay for the winning developer may be in the region of $50 billion.

The government's conditions make the project very risky - especially the 20 per cent cap on residential space.

But Lee Shau-kee, chairman of Henderson Land, one of the shortlisted developers, said last week that his company would go ahead if they were chosen, even if the profit margin was small.

Let us look quickly at how risky it is. One of the bidding consortiums, Cheung Kong and Sun Hung Kai Properties, is financially strong: the firms' market capitalisations are $195 billion and $188 billion respectively. Henderson's capitalisation is smaller, as are the other consortium partners among the shortlisted bidders.

Even for the biggest of them, $50 billion upfront is a big commitment - given the 20 per cent cap on residential space. Had there not been a cap, a 20-hectare site with 30 per cent reserved for an arts venue would mean the attractive prospect of about 4 million sq ft of floor area for commercial and residential development.

Based on recent comparable sales values, revenues could be around $60 billion and, with current construction cost per square feet around $2,000 for higher-end properties, the profit potential would still be good.

Thus, once the project was awarded, the share prices of the winning partners would probably rise, to reflect the profit potential. That would help them raise capital for the project.

Under the current terms, however, the profit potential is less certain and the risk higher. Nor is it clear when the rest of the site will be tendered for others to bid.

Some might say that if the developers want to take the risk, let them. The truth is, the chosen developer will be taking the risk via their companies and shareholders. The question is how their shareholders feel about it. What if minority shareholders decide to take legal action against the directors for taking unreasonable risks?

Further, the government has said the revised plan is open for negotiation. Does this mean that none of these revised conditions matters in the end?

Surely, it would be better to start all over again with a truly transparent and well-thought-out process that is an example of good governance instead of going through such contortions.

Christine Loh Kung-wai is chief executive of the think-tank Civic Exchange

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Old February 10th, 2009, 11:27 AM   #570
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Thursday October 13 2005

Pet park proposal for West Kowloon

Patsy Moy

An animal welfare agency wants a pet park to be established near the proposed West Kowloon cultural hub, and says it will urge the government to make more parks accessible to pets.

The Society for Abandoned Animals chief executive officer Chan Suk-kuen said yesterday the West Kowloon reclamation area would make a perfect site as it was easily accessible but away from residential areas, which would prevent complaints from residents.

Ms Chan said the society would make its appeal to the government through the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.

'Facilities for pets are not up to date in Hong Kong. We hope that the government can make some facilities for pets here,' she said.

'As the birth rate of children keeps declining, we see more people keeping pets. The number of dogs is probably greater than the population of toddlers. But the government has failed to facilitate the needs of pets and their owners.'

There are an estimated 150,000 cats and 120,000 dogs kept as pets in Hong Kong.

The society will stage a signature campaign next month to appeal to the government to open more parks for pets.

Ms Chan complained that there were only six public parks at present.

'We are asking the government to designate a small area in parks for animals, instead of opening the whole area to them, as we understand that some people may not like animals,' Ms Chan said.

'Most families here live in small flats and there are not enough facilities for their pets, which gives many pet owners a serious headache when they try to take their pets out for activities. It is dangerous to take animals outside due to the heavy traffic. We have seen many dogs hit by cars. So pets are usually kept in small flats all day.'

The Home Affairs Bureau said last night it had not received the society's proposal but would welcome any public ideas about developing West Kowloon.

The animal welfare organisation is keeping about 180 dogs and 70 cats that have been abandoned, as well as dozens of other animals including rabbits, two chickens, two pigs and five goats.

'There were originally two goats instead of five,' Ms Chan said.

'The two goats were smuggled from the mainland into Hong Kong by some construction workers who tried to cook them. But some people informed police after they saw them at a construction site in Tuen Mun. The pair later gave birth to three babies and the family has been staying with us for 21/2 years.'

The Society for Abandoned Animals, the DAB and GP Net Association, a social welfare group, are organising a carnival 'Hello Pet Win Win Day' at Mongkok's Macpherson Playground on October 30 for pet owners and their animals.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 11:29 AM   #571
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Saturday October 22 2005

Tsang's creative arts centre a misconceived idea in artists' eyes

Rex Aguado

Unsurprisingly, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's policy speech last week again showed the government's apparent stance on culture and the creative arts industry: very minimalist in approach and highly conceptual in nature.

Minimalist because Mr Tsang promised - characteristically without details - that the government would build a 'creative arts centre' in a vacant Shekkipmei factory in Kowloon.

Conceptual because Mr Tsang said studies - whenever or by whoever, nobody knows - would also be done to help develop the cultural and creative industries. And hyper-conceptual, as Mr Tsang vaguely vowed the government 'will consider' setting up a think-tank to promote local talent and expertise.

In any case, in the spirit of teasing out the government's cultural and arts policy, Weekender canvassed the views of some players in Hong Kong's burgeoning arts scene.

Three subjects - a practising artist, a curator of a publicly subsidised arts space and the owner-director of a privately funded gallery - were asked to fantasise about writing their own arts policy speeches. The results, as with most things in the art world, are inspiring - and controversial.

First off is John Batten, the owner-director of an eponymous gallery in SoHo, off Elgin Street. Mr Batten is known for his bluntness and he minces no words on the undemocratic genesis of the highly contentious West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) project.

'This is a multibillion-dollar project and no one - either government officials or any of the architectural designers [who joined the design contest for the district] - has actually canvassed opinions of this project's potential users, such as the commercial art galleries.'

At the very basic level, he wonders why the government is insisting on building an arts and cultural precinct in West Kowloon when Hong Kong Island is host to an art district that has grown and evolved organically. 'Let me be very blunt - the West Kowloon area will not and never will be Hong Kong's art and entertainment area,' he says.

'The reality is, it is already in place and it is on Hong Kong Island. Hong Kong's art galleries have already decided and it is obvious why the SoHo area has emerged as the pre-eminent arts area: good transportation, including the Mid-Levels escalator, reasonable rents, proximity to the Central Business District and Hollywood Road's antique shops, Lan Kwai Fong and a middle-class neighbourhood.'

Of course, all of these will likely change with the government's plan to 'regenerate' the SoHo area through a massive 'urban renewal project' - Mr Batten's current bete noire.

Joel Ferraris, a Filipino artist based in Hong Kong who has been involved in some public mural projects, also wonders why the government is willing to spend so much money on WKCD.

He believes the city has a surfeit of potential art space - the huge lobbies of privately owned buildings.

'The spacious lobbies and other strategic spaces indoors and outdoors could offer suitable exhibition venues and other art-and-culture-related events to artists. These must be all for free. Therefore, there's no need actually to build more exhibition areas or centres and waste more money,' he says.

German-born Tobias Berger, executive director and curator of Para/Site Art Space in Sheung Wan, also has some concerns about the WKCD.

'The planned [cultural district] will include a new super-sized museum. Unfortunately, its form, function, content and finances are a mystery at the moment,' he says.

'It seems like it will be another attempt of the Hong Kong government to have private investors pay for the building and running of cultural institutions instead of taking own responsibility.'

Mr Berger's group is actually one of a handful of grant recipients of the government-funded Hong Kong Arts Development Council. Still, he believes more can be done, such as encouraging arts exchanges between Hong Kong and the rest of the Pearl River Delta.

Mr Batten says another problem that has led to a seemingly stunted growth in the local arts market is the lack of a reliable base of collectors.

He says one glaring policy fault is the way the government has structured its culture and arts institutions - largely through the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) - which are dominated by bureaucrats who hardly interact with the arts community.

'The LCSD [with a budget of more than $2 billion] makes up the greatest amount of arts and cultural funding in Hong Kong but most of this goes to mid-management bureaucrats 'managing' events or venues,' he says. 'This is a serious waste of public money.'

Mr Batten recalls meeting two Singapore Tourist Board officials who found their way into his gallery.

'I was invited to participate in the next Singapore Art Fair. They also informed me about tax concessions and other incentives if I were to relocate my business from Hong Kong to Singapore.'

So far, Mr Batten has decided to stay. Although the expected spike in rents from the government's SoHo regeneration project may just force him to move down south to Singapore - another gallery less just when Hong Kong needs a legion of them to fill West Kowloon.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 11:30 AM   #572
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Thursday October 27 2005

Management of cultural hub to cost at least $566m a year

Chloe Lai

The government estimates it will cost about $566 million a year to run the West Kowloon Cultural District - but a critic of the project is calling the figure an underestimate.

The estimate was disclosed for the first time in a paper prepared for the Legislative Council.

The document said the sum would cover the core arts and cultural facilities, giant canopy and automated people mover, and the operation of the statutory body to be set up to operate the facilities.

It expressed confidence a $30 billion trust fund - to be set up by the development consortium that wins the tender for the project - would be enough to cover the arts hub's operation.

But a critic said the government had underestimated the amount it would need to run the cultural facilities, which include three theatres with a seating capacity of at least 2,000, 800 and 400 seats, a performance venue with at least 10,000 seats, four museums, an arts exhibition centre, a water amphitheatre and at least four piazzas.

Ada Wong Ying-kay, of the People's Panel on West Kowloon, said the Cultural Centre alone needed $100 million a year to operate and the Hong Kong Museum of Art close to $80 million.

She said: 'We must bear in mind the Museum of Art does not have many programmes.' She estimates the four museums will require $300 million a year.

Ms Wong hopes the government can break down the operating cost into individual budget items so academics can have a meaningful examination of the finances.

Chief Secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan announced in Legco two weeks ago that the winning developer would have to contribute at least $30 billion to a trust fund to pay for the arts hub's operation.

He said the winning bidder needed to carve out at least half the residential and commercial land on the site for other developers to bid for.

The government stressed in the document submitted to Legco that the timetable and format for the division of land would be decided by the government.

On the sensitive issue of whether the winning developer would reserve the prime land for itself, the government said: 'It depends on the proponents' response.'

It promised the statutory body would have an independent secretariat.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 11:32 AM   #573
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Saturday October 29 2005

Pompidou, Guggenheim join forces

Staff reporter

France's Centre Pompidou that had declared it could not possibly co-operate with the 'second-class' Guggenheim Foundation has now teamed up with the American group to make a joint proposal for a museum in the West Kowloon Cultural District.

The two museums announced yesterday that they would work with short-listed West Kowloon bidder Dynamic Star International to provide 'a world-class cultural complex' devoted to modern and contemporary art, the moving image and design.

Pompidou was a strategic partner of Sun Hung Kai Properties and Guggenheim teamed up with Cheung Kong (Holdings) before the two developers joined forces to form the Dynamic Star consortium.

Before yesterday's announcement it had appeared the two museum groups would operate separate establishments if Dynamic Star, one of three on the government's short list, won the project.

The pair said now, 'rather than pursue parallel paths', they would 'collaborate as equal partners'.

It seems to represent a remarkable climb-down by Pompidou, whose executives haughtily declared late last year they would never co-operate with the 'second-class' Guggenheim, which ran its museums 'like Coca-Cola factories'.

'We are world-class, they are second-class,' Pompidou's chief curator Alain Sayag told the South China Morning Post in Paris in December. 'It is impossible the two of us will merge and run West Kowloon,' he said, adding that 'The US culture [in Hong Kong] is too strong and we need to have a presence in Asia to counterbalance the American influence'.

Pompidou president Bruno Racine said the two groups had different concepts and 'we're not interested in managing a museum together with Guggenheim'.

Centre Pompidou spokeswoman Roya Nasser yesterday said Mr Racine had been in Hong Kong about 10 days ago. She said the decision to make a joint approach had been made a few days ago.

Yesterday's announcement noted the two museums intended to work closely with Hong Kong cultural partners on the West Kowloon project and might bring in other major institutions.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 11:33 AM   #574
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Saturday November 5 2005

Local talent can be retained if arts master's are gained

Some institutes are trying to keep graduate talent here by putting more into postgraduate programmes in fine arts, writes Stephanie Harrington

In pragmatic Hong Kong, a perception exists that fine arts are not something one studies seriously at university, never mind at the postgraduate level.

With finance, business, management and information technology topping the popularity lists of postgraduate programmes offered at local tertiary institutions and other private providers, supporting the arts to the average Hong Kong resident may translate into buying tickets for Stomp, Rent or the latest hyped - and imported - production that rolls into the city.

In his recent policy address, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said: 'Cultural and creative industries can propel the economy to a new level.' In Britain, this sector had an annual growth of 8 per cent from 1997 to 2001 due to government support. The same sector accounted for only 4 per cent of Hong Kong's GDP. Mr Tsang said the territory's growth was stunted by limited fostering of creative talent.

The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (APA) could play a large role in nurturing local talent up to the managerial level with the introduction of five master's programmes by 2008, including master's degrees in fine arts in its schools of dance and music, tentatively by next year.

The degrees would help fill a gap in practice-based postgraduate programmes for the performing arts, said Herbert Huey Man-chiu, associate director of administration and registrar for the APA.

'We are thinking of performance and practice-based master's giving in-depth training to students inclined to have performance as their ultimate goal,' Mr Huey said.

Although University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University and Chinese University of Hong Kong have postgraduate programmes in the arts, Mr Huey said these were more theory and pedagogically based. Currently, graduates of APA's undergraduate programmes in drama, film and TV, music, dance and technical arts have to study overseas if they want a performance-oriented education, he said.

'The master's programmes will help in slow steps to build an arts and culture hub in the sense of training enough people to take up leadership and management positions,' Mr Huey said. 'When the programmes come on people will realise there are sufficient numbers of people to take up the development of arts and culture. Otherwise, we're talking about hardware, not software,' he said, referring to the government's proposed West Kowloon Cultural District.

With 750 full-time students studying from diploma to bachelor's degree levels and 1,000 junior students enrolled in various programmes, the APA expects to accommodate 100 postgraduate students across its five schools when the master's degrees are introduced. It is hoped the APA's schools of dance and music will both inaugurate master's courses in the next academic year. The self-financed programmes could be streamed, depending on demand, into modern or Chinese dance or choreography at its school of dance. Master's degrees in music may be offered on different instruments and in composition or conducting, Mr Huey said.

The drama school may introduce a programme in directing next year, with acting and perhaps scriptwriting to follow. The film and TV school will tentatively begin a master's degree focused on screenwriting or feature film-making in 2007.

A master's degree in technical arts, with specialisations in stage management, lighting, sound and costume design, is planned for the year beginning 2008.

'It's a natural progression for us. We believe we have now come of age to contemplate moving a notch higher [in our programming],' said Mr Huey.

The School of Creative Media at City University of Hong Kong plans to train the critics. The school will tentatively have its first intake of students for a master's in media culture in the 2006 academic year. Designed to complement its master of fine arts in media design and technology, the new self-financed programme will produce students with the ability to critically analyse media culture.

It has not been decided if the degree will be offered full-time or part-time, but Dr James Moy, dean of the School of Creative Media, expects there to be demand for the programme considering the role visual culture plays in society.

'We speak of literacy, English and Chinese literacy. What we're involved in is visual literacy, how to read it and be smart. We try to train our people to be not merely technicians but to be smart, socially aware and culturally aware,' he said. Meanwhile, the school will continue its work in advanced digital media including virtual reality.

The Art School, Hong Kong Arts Centre, has enjoyed steady enrolment in its master of fine arts programme, offered in collaboration with RMIT University in Australia. Introduced two years ago, there are 28 students in the first part-time, studio-based group and 21 in the second group.

Programme coordinator Dr Ho Siu-kee credited the government's education reforms. 'Society is really changing from an education perspective,' Dr Ho said. 'I think creativity has become more of a focus, more of an emphasis in education reforms. People are much more willing to talk about it.'
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Old February 10th, 2009, 11:34 AM   #575
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Saturday November 5 2005

Lack of curators hinders growth

Crystal Tai

A SHORTAGE of art curators and other art professionals in the city is holding back the industry's expansion in Hong Kong, experts say.

'A curator is like an editor of a magazine. They find the best ways to bring out the issues of the theme [in art exhibitions] that you want to explore,' said Christina Li, assistant curator of Para/Site Art Space in Sheung Wan.

'They represent the art space [and] make the decisions on exhibition pieces.'

Before the arrival of art curator Tobias Berger, programmes at Para/Site were determined by the artists submitting their proposals. But now Mr Berger decides on the themes and generates the interaction between artists and ideas.

'They are essentially the [spokesmen] for the artists and space,' Ms Li emphasised.

There are other types of jobs in the co-ordination and presentation of art. For example, Para/Site employs a project co-ordinator, a gallery manager, a curator and/or an executive director as well as an assistant curator.

In addition, with the development of the West Kowloon Cultural District Project, many new jobs will be created within the sector.

In a press release last year, the then chief secretary for administration Donald Tsang said 'in the long run, this project will create for the local job market over 1,000 posts engaged in the operation and management of the arts and cultural facilities in the district'.

So those looking to get into the art industry might be in luck over the next few years.

In terms of training, there is little available in Hong Kong for prospective candidates looking to become art curators. Courses in art history and fine arts are offered at most higher learning institutions, but official training for curators must be done overseas.

Mr Berger plans to train one curator for each of the three years he will be in Hong Kong.

'Right now the [art] scene is quite young,' Ms Li said. 'But hopefully the whole standard [of] the art scene will benefit, as the quality of Hong Kong art will improve by having new people [and] work and ideas brought in.'
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Old February 10th, 2009, 11:34 AM   #576
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Tuesday November 8 2005

Community input key to success of arts hub

May Chan

The West Kowloon Cultural District project is doomed if it continues with its tourism-oriented and top-down approach, a renowned international cultural consultant has predicted.

Robert Palmer, who has been adviser to European, North American and Southeast Asian countries on cultural planning for more than 20 years, warned that 'cultural development is not a mathematical formula'.

He was speaking at a seminar titled 'Business and the Funding of Culture' yesterday, sponsored by Citigroup and organised by the University of Hong Kong and the South China Morning Post.

Mr Palmer, who spent 10 years overseeing a cultural regeneration project in Glasgow, now advises to the European Commission.

'If the project aims to attract tourists, it is doomed given the volatile nature of tourism.

'The government has been preoccupied with property issues and tourism, instead of thinking about the project's details.

'It does not look into the relationship between different elements. It is like closing your eyes and putting your money somewhere without understanding how the cultural system operates.'

He urged Hong Kong to learn from other cities to avoid the pitfalls in cultural development.

Traditional cultural master plans were losing their attractiveness across the globe, Mr Palmer said.

These plans, while offering a legal framework and land use, failed to address key intangible factors, including memories, stories and attitudes of local people. Instead, they led to divisions in society, which in turn limited the impact of the plans.

For example, although public consultations were held, the public could only vote on details of the plan rather than participating in constructing the framework.

This had cost several US states and European countries dearly, he said, as they now had to remedy the damage caused by their flawed polices.

'I encourage the Hong Kong government to decentralise decision-making in the West Kowloon project,' Mr Palmer said.

'Cultural planning needs to be horizontal and holistic, joining things up rather than continuing the city's history of fabrication and disassociation.

'The government needs to map out the cultures in the city to identify the resources it already has, and focus on capacity building and sustainability.'

Alan Leong Kah-kit, who sits on the Legislative Council's subcommittee on the West Kowloon Cultural District, said community needs were ignored in the project.

'The government has admitted that the museums, coliseums and exhibition place it requires of the project is supply-led instead of need-based,' Mr Leong said.

A transcript of the conference is available at http://conferences. scmp.com
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Old February 10th, 2009, 02:38 PM   #577
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Originally Posted by aphasian View Post
I started reading this thread a few days ago and am about 80% through EVERYTHING. hkskyline and hkth, thank you both for posting so much relevant info!

However, I noticed that in hkskyline's reconstruction of the thread, there is a huge gap between April 2005 and Feb 2006...which wouldn't matter so much except for that this was the CRUCIAL period when the project first faltered.

Is there a way to find the articles from this period without having to download them all from the SCMP website?
Thanks for your support. I believe the previous thread was deleted, but we have a backup in the Hong Kong forum that covers the period you mentioned :


However, the posts are not always in chronological order. You can see the post-April articles in the first few pages.

Happy browsing.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 10:54 PM   #578
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Thursday November 10 2005

Shortlisted developer warns of delays if new bids are sought

May Chan

Re-tendering the West Kowloon Cultural District project will only cause further delay, one of the shortlisted developers warned yesterday.

Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong, vice-chairman of Sun Hung Kai Properties, also said there were still a lot of uncertainties over the project, including design requirements and the operation of a $30 billon trust fund for arts facilities.

'The West Kowloon project involves complicated issues, and the preparation work for the tender will take one to two years,' he said.

Mr Kwok was speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for the International Commerce Centre, a 118-storey tower which will be the tallest building in Hong Kong and third-tallest in the world on its completion in 2010.

Hung Lung Properties chairman Ronnie Chan Chi-chung demanded on Tuesday that the government order a new round of tenders for the project.

The administration scrapped the unpopular single-developer approach in September. However, the three shortlisted proponents - Dynamic Star International, a Sun Hung Kai Properties and Cheung Kong (Holdings) consortium; Sunny Development, a joint venture between Sino Land, Wharf (Holdings) and Chinese Estates Holdings; and World City Culture Park, a subsidiary of Henderson Land - were allowed to go ahead bidding for the key parts of the project.

However, Colin Lam Ko-yin, vice-chairman of Henderson Land, was open to the possibility of re-tendering.

'The site in West Kowloon is a very precious piece of land to the public, and it involves huge investments,' he said. 'Detailed studies to maximise its economic benefits may be worth pursuing.'
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Old February 10th, 2009, 10:55 PM   #579
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Friday November 11 2005

Hub talks focus on management, $30b trust fund
Chloe Lai

Negotiations between the government and bidders for the arts hub project in West Kowloon will largely concentrate on how to finance the $30 billion trust fund and whether the developer will have a say in the operation of the cultural facilities.

Shortlisted bidders for the West Kowloon Cultural District project said they needed to find out from the government whether they had to pay the requested $30 billion up front.

'There are other ways of funding; it doesn't necessarily [have to] be paid in advance and in cash,' one of the bidders said.

'It is better for us to pay after we generate revenue from the project a few years later.'

They also stressed that because arts and cultural programmes complemented commercial activities, their participation would be crucial in the operation of the museums, theatres and performance venues. It is understood the government wrote to the three shortlisted bidders to ask if they would still be interested in competing after new requirements were added last month. They had until the end of January to reply.

'Financial assessments are needed before we can make any decision. So we need to clarify with the government a number of things,' another bidder said.

A Cheung Kong (Holdings) and Sun Hung Kai Properties joint venture, Dynamic Star International, the World City Cultural Park, which is wholly owned by Henderson Land, and a Sino Land, Wharf (Holdings) and Chinese Estates Holdings consortium, Sunny Development, were shortlisted to compete for the arts hub project.

Last month, Chief Secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan announced additional requirements the bidders would have to comply with, in the hope of assuaging critics of the project.

The government scrapped the single-developer approach, lowered the development density, significantly reduced the residential component and demanded that the bidder that wins the rights to develop two-thirds of the site provide at least $30 billion to set up a trust fund to pay for the operation of the arts facilities.

The winner will be responsible for building the arts and cultural facilities as well as profit-generating properties within the part of the site it controls. A statutory body will be set up to oversee the development. An official involved in the project said the issue of whether the winner retained the right to manage the arts and cultural facilities for 30 years would be discussed at a later stage.

Sources said most of the new restrictions were not a major concern for the developers. One bidder said: 'From what the government has said, it seems the money generated from selling the carved-up land to other developers will form part of the trust fund, so it doesn't matter if we can't have the entire site. But we must get confirmation from the government.'
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Old February 10th, 2009, 10:56 PM   #580
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Monday November 14 2005

Fleeting glimpse of the harbour's potential

Victoria Harbour is Hong Kong's greatest natural asset and two separate festivals celebrated that fact yesterday.

The two sets of activities were not co-ordinated - the organisers were seemingly holding disparate events. But their focuses were essentially the same - to uphold the magnificence of the harbour and to engender greater appreciation and enjoyment of it.

Coming at a time when there has never been greater concern about harbourside development, the crowds that took part in both proved activists are not the only ones eager to embrace what nature has so spectacularly given us. They flocked to see displays of craft and waterside sporting events and to take part in tours of an environment they live around, but rarely experience so closely.

The government, which has for too long seen the harbour as a means to generate land revenue and relieve traffic congestion through reclamation, should take note: it is also for public enjoyment.

Harbour Day, with the backing of some of the city's biggest companies and corporations, including the South China Morning Post, evolved from the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's annual Around the Island race. Held for the first time, its organisers aimed to showcase the harbour's life and energy by bringing people to attractions.

The government was closely involved. A parade of vessels on Kowloon Bay included its fire boats and Lady Maurine, the weekend cruiser of former governors, while its approval was needed for use of sites such as Kai Tak. This - and the participation of some of the big property developers - prompted sceptics to view the event as a public relations exercise in the face of criticism.

But the aim was to draw people to the harbour and open eyes and minds to this underused resource. The objective was, in this sense, the same as that of the other celebration, Harbour Week, which culminated in a carnival in Wan Chai yesterday. Harbour Week was organised by anti-reclamation groups. The Society for Protection of the Harbour, the Action Group on Protection of the Harbour and Friends of the Harbour combined forces to stage events in the hope of increasing public opposition to government plans to reclaim land in Central and Wan Chai.

Both events come at a timely moment. The government plans to use the Tamar site for its new headquarters. An opportunity to provide the public with much-needed open space on this prime waterside site could, as a result, be missed. A landmark court decision frustrated the government's plans for reclamation in Wan Chai. But the future development of this area is in doubt.

Meanwhile, reclamation in Central continues as part of plans for a bypass that will include the development of large, low-level buildings dubbed 'groundscrapers'.

The West Kowloon harbourside area has been earmarked for a museum and art district. But much of the site has been set aside for commercial and residential buildings. The extent to which the cultural district improves the public's access to the harbour remains to be seen.

Similarly, uncertainties abound about the old airport site at Kai Tak. Just 15 per cent of the harbourside is currently available for public use, an appallingly small amount for such a natural treasure. A visit to Sydney, San Francisco, Copenhagen or any number of cities beside arguably lesser harbours or bays reveals kilometres of promenades, restaurants, museums and aquariums - attractions we should have and do not.

Tourists are rightly baffled as to why our waterfront is generally closed to public use or blocked by roads that are a hindrance and an eyesore, when so much beauty lies beyond. If efforts to clean up the harbour are genuine, we should be able to enjoy clear, sweet-smelling waters from up close, not looking down from a glassed-in, air-conditioned restaurant. We should be able to walk beside and enjoy the scene, not see it as a blur from a passing vehicle.

Yesterday's festivals were a wakeup call for Hong Kong's people: now it is time for the government to also wake up to the public demand and possibilities.
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