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Transcript of remarks by CS at press conference on announcement for M+ design competition (with photos/video)

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Chairman of the Board of the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) Authority, Mrs Carrie Lam, at the press conference on announcement for M+ design competition today (June 28):

Reporter: You've said that you're probably not going to seek extra funding in the coming years, so will there be any compromises when you try to contain costs? For example, will there be smaller or fewer buildings, or would you use cheaper building materials, or how exactly would you get around to do it? And also, who should be responsible for the extra costs? Should it be the taxpayers, because the Government is going to spend more on the project, or should it be any Principal Officials?

Chief Secretary for Administration, Chairman of the Board of the WKCD Authority:@Well, first of all, we are not going to compromise on the scale of the project or the quality of the project. What we are suggesting is we should exercise very rigorous cost containment in developing each and every of the facilities in the West Kowloon Cultural District, and I have already demonstrated with the M+, which we will show you in a moment, that we are able to do that sort of vigorous cost containment. And even for a project that we have selected a team, like the Xiqu Centre, through very vigorous value engineering we are able to achieve savings from the project. So it is not a question of compromising or undermining the West Kowloon Cultural District. It is really sort of finding alternative ways, or exercising very stringent cost containment, to ensure that we could develop as many facilities as possible with the one-off endowment given to the West Kowloon Cultural District.

     As to responsibility, I have explained that the cost escalation of West Kowloon Cultural District is due to several factors, and most of these factors are beyond the control of an individual or even the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. I think back in 2006 nobody had a crystal ball in front of him or her to be able to say that, in Hong Kong, we are going to enter into this what they call the golden era of infrastructure, with all these major railways and major buildings, and as a result it has pushed up the construction cost exorbitantly. So I think the pragmatic way forward is, instead of just asking for more money because the tender prices have gone up, we have revisited the subject very extensively and have discussed amongst ourselves, the board members, and with the Administration, and decided that we should go forward with a pragmatic approach.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Friday, June 28, 2013
Issued at HKT 23:55


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