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LCQ4: Operation of facilities at sites under Kwun Tong Bypass

     Following is a question by the Hon Chan Kam-lam and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, in the Legislative Council today (February 17):


     In October 2014, the Energizing Kowloon East Office (EKEO) under the Development Bureau invited proposals from interested non-profit making organisations (NPOs) to transform three sites under Kwun Tong Bypass along Hoi Bun Road into spots with creative, artistic and cultural characteristics. EKEO announced last month that a newly established NPO, HKALPS Limited (HKALPS), was selected in the absence of competitors. HKALPS is allowed to rent the aforesaid sites at a nominal rent of $1 per annum for a period of four years. Furthermore, the Government will bear the design and construction costs (capped at $20 million) of the sites and the buildings concerned, as well as the related repair and maintenance expenses. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether EKEO has conducted any public consultation exercise on the mode of operation of the facilities at the aforesaid sites; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(2) whether EKEO, upon learning that only one organisation had submitted a proposal for the aforesaid project, assessed if there were inadequacies in the invitation-for-proposal exercise, considered amending the arrangements for operating the facilities at the aforesaid sites and inviting proposals from interested organisations afresh, and communicated with the Kwun Tong District Council on such situation; and

(3) given that HKALPS is a newly established NPO, how the authorities determined whether HKALPS had sufficient management experience as well as the financial ability and experience required for operating the facilities at the aforesaid sites; how the authorities ensure that the aforesaid sites will be available for public use when the facilities there are being operated by HKALPS?



     The Plan of Sites 1, 2 and 3 beneath Kwun Tong Bypass (the Plan) is to invite preliminary designs and proposals for creativity, arts and cultural uses from non-profit-making organisations (NPOs) for the three sites. The objective is to identify a suitable organisation to operate these three sites with a view to bringing vibrancy to the Kwun Tong waterfront. Apart from letting these sites at a nominal rent of $1 per annum, the Government will also bear the design and construction costs (capped at $20 million) as well as the future expenses on the repair and maintenance of the buildings. Upon completion, the buildings on these three sites are government facilities. The surplus generated during the 4-year operation period must be ploughed back into the project. At the end of the operation period, the government facilities and the entire surplus generated must be returned to the Government.

     My reply to the Hon Chan Kam-lam's question is as follows:

(1) The Energizing Kowloon East Office (EKEO) of Development Bureau launched a market sounding exercise for the Plan on November 26, 2013 to gauge the market interests in the Plan and to invite preliminary plans and designs for operating the sites. EKEO received a total of five proposals.

     EKEO also consulted the Culture, Recreation and Sports Committee (the Committee) of Kwun Tong District Council on the Plan, including briefings for the Committee on the conceptual plan on November 12, 2013 prior to the open launching of the market sounding exercise; on the results of the exercise on March 25, 2014; and on the arrangements for a public invitation for proposals to operate the three sites on July 15, 2014. EKEO attached great importance to the views of the Committee, particularly in respect of the public's access to the public space and future fees. In this connection, EKEO incorporated suitable provisions in the invitation document to ensure the extent of public access in the layout design and reasonableness of the fees to be charged.

(2) EKEO extended a public invitation through newspapers and its website on October 31, 2014 to call for proposals from interested NPOs. Invitation letters were also sent to over 100 arts organisations in the Kwun Tong district on the same day. EKEO received one proposal from the HKALPS Limited (HKALPS) by the deadline on January 9, 2015. An assessment panel, comprising representatives from the relevant government departments, assessed the proposal and was satisfied that it met the objectives of the Plan as well as the criteria for design layout and strategy, financial capability and sustainability, and management capability. The Development Bureau granted an approval-in-principle to HKALPS as the operator for the Sites 1, 2 and 3 beneath Kwun Tong Bypass on January 8, 2016. Having selected the operator, EKEO reported the latest progress to the Committee on January 19, 2016. As the proposal is in compliance with the requirements, there is no need to revise the arrangements for operating the facilities at these sites or to invite proposals from interested organisations afresh.

(3) Although HKALPS is a newly established NPO, it has a versatile team with different experiences in social entrepreneurship, arts administration, urban farming, dancing, marketing, fund-raising and financial management, etc. The team members also have experience in organising arts activities and nurturing talents, and have an experienced social entrepreneur as advisor.

     As regards its financial ability and experience, the Development Bureau has assessed the proposed uses in respect of the projected income and expenditure, start-up cost and financing strategy, etc, and considers that the business plan of HKALPS meets the self-financing requirement.

     Regarding the uses of these sites, the operator is required to continue the current mode of management for Site 1 in providing a performance venue and a pleasant public space for public enjoyment. As Sites 2 and 3 are vacant lots at present, the operator must consider accessibility in layout design and make available part of the sites for the free use of the general public. The period and extent of the areas to be opened for free public access must be approved by the Government. EKEO will monitor the future operation to ensure that the public will enjoy reasonable access to these three sites.

     As requested by the Committee at its meeting on July 15, 2014, EKEO will set up an Advisory Committee on Creativity, Arts and Culture for Sites 1, 2 and 3 beneath Kwun Tong Bypass. The Advisory Committee will comprise Kwun Tong District Council members, Area Committee chairmen and representatives of EKEO and relevant government departments. Through regular meetings with the operator, it will offer advice on the construction and operation issues and act as a channel of communication with the general public to reflect the public's views on the operation of these sites in future.

Ends/Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Issued at HKT 14:30


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