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LCSD responds to media enquiries on Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront Revitalisation Plan

     In response to media enquiries on Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront Revitalisation Plan (the Plan), a spokesman for the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) said the Plan aimed to transform the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront area into an even more attractive and vibrant public space for enjoyment by both local communities and incoming visitors by upgrading the facilities and enhancing the cultural ambience. Adopting a partnership approach, the Plan is mapped out and put forward in an open and fair manner and is in alignment with public interest.

     The existing Avenue of Stars (AoS) was constructed by the New World Development Company Limited (NWD) with its own funds in 2003 and has been managed by NWD since its opening in 2004.  Due to wear and tear after years of use, the facilities are ageing, and the Yau Tsim Mong District Council (YTMDC) has been urging for improvements.  As a positive response to the views of YTMDC and the public, NWD proposed the Plan to enhance and beautify the leisure facilities, and to instill more arts and cultural elements, particularly film-related features to highlight the achievements of Hong Kong's film history and to echo the unique characteristics of AoS. Having regard to the limited space of the existing AoS, it was proposed to extend the scope to cover the adjoining Tsim Sha Tsui East Promenade.  Ageing facilities would also be renovated in good time to provide a safer and more vibrant promenade with an enriched cultural ambience.  Some retail and food and beverages facilities of a small scale would be added for the enjoyment of the public and visitors along the waterfront.  The Plan has been supported by YTMDC and the tourism sector.

     After careful examination, the Government decided to support this partnership proposal by NWD based on the following considerations:

1. The Government already has plans to revitalise the cultural facilities and public open space of Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront by stages, including the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Hong Kong Space Museum, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and the Salisbury Garden.  NWD's proposal is in alignment with the vision of these plans and is conducive to the revitalisation of Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront in a holistic and seamless manner;

2. Under the proposal, the revitalisation works of Salisbury Garden, AoS and Tsim Sha Tsui East Promenade will be carried out and fully funded by NWD.  The future day-to-day operation and recurrent expenses will be taken up by the non-profit-making organisation set up under the aegis of NWD.  All facilities will be open to the public.  The Plan is in the public interest;

3. NWD has a wealth of experience in operating AoS.  The non-profit-making organisation under its aegis has also put forth proposals for the operation of the extended facilities using creative approach and flexible management with a view to enhancing the vibrancy of the waterfront whilst fostering public engagement;

4. On financial arrangements, the proposal of NWD is in line with the fiscal discipline of the Government.  Apart from reducing government expenditure (including public works spending and routine operational expenses), the proposal will also expedite public works for the early commissioning of the facilities;

5. LCSD has all along entrusted various non-governmental or private organisations with the responsibility for the daily operation of its leisure facilities under a partnership approach.  Notable examples include the Nan Lian Garden and Harbour Road Garden, and the results are very encouraging.

     The Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, upon completion of the Plan, will continue to be wholly owned and managed by the LCSD.  The department will entrust the non-profit-making organisation for the day-to-day operation of the area.  A management committee to be chaired by an LCSD directorate staff will be set up to oversee the operation and performance of the non-profit-making organisation so as to ensure that the ultimate authority for the supervision of the facilities is vested in the department. LCSD will also form an advisory committee by inviting experts, community and district personalities to advise on the management issues to enhance public participation.  Such mode of management is more open than the existing one and will further meet the expectations of the public.

     The principles of harbour planning have been observed during the design and development of the Plan, including preservation of the harbour views, maximisation of the public enjoyment of the promenade, and ensuring the stakeholders' participation in the planning process. The development concept of the Plan was presented to the Task Force on Harbourfront Developments in Kowloon, Tsuen Wan and Kwai Tsing of the Harbourfront Commission early this year for consideration and discussion. Positive response has been received from the Task Force.

     The Government also noted that NWD had consulted various stakeholders through different channels, including Hong Kong Film Awards Association, Tourism Commission, Hong Kong Tourism Board, Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong and Tsim Sha Tsui East Property Developers Association Limited. The company sought the views of and reported progress to the YTMDC's District Facilities Management Committee in November last year, as well as January, May and July this year on the development concept and initial designs of the Plan.  The Harbourfront Commission's Task Force on Harbourfront Developments in Kowloon, Tsuen Wan and Kwai Tsing was consulted early this year.  NWD has conducted more than 20 consultation meetings and revised the project details as appropriate with regard to the comments received.

     The Government reiterates that the Plan is not a property or commercial project. The Plan aims to increase vibrancy by enhancing the facilities and the public space of the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront for greater community engagement. The proposed mode of operation is on a non-profit-making basis, in the public interest and in compliance with the principles of openness and fairness.

Ends/Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Issued at HKT 22:58


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