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LCQ12: Play equipment in children's playgrounds

     Following is a question by the Hon Frederick Fung and a written reply by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Lau Kong-wah, in the Legislative Council today (February 24):


     Earlier on, an organisation released the findings of its study, which revealed that the play equipment in children's playgrounds for public use in Hong Kong (children's playgrounds) lagged behind in various aspects when compared with those in children's playgrounds overseas. According to the findings of the study, the play equipment at children's playgrounds in Hong Kong lacks space for promotion of children's social interaction, and fails to offer physical challenges to children (e.g. swings, merry-go-rounds and climbing structures are not available, as well as the slipways of the slides are not slippery enough and too short); as for sensory experience, the excessive emphasis on safety of the design of children's playgrounds in Hong Kong has rendered the play equipment monotonous and boring. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the number of complaints about the play equipment in children's playgrounds received by the authorities in each of the past three years, with a breakdown by the content of the complaints (e.g. play equipment posing danger and showing signs of damage);

(2) given that there are views that, for the purpose of reducing costs, the authorities have all along been using a "cookie-cutter" approach in constructing children's playgrounds with homogeneous design, of the considerations and procedure based on which the authorities design children's playgrounds and provide the relevant play equipment at present;

(3) whether the authorities will conduct in-depth exploration with relevant stakeholders and experts in the light of the philosophies and factors behind the design of children's playgrounds (i.e. catering to children's needs for social interaction, physical challenges and sensory experience), so as to formulate a comprehensive plan for renovating the play equipment in children's playgrounds; and

(4) whether the authorities will draw up criteria for the provision of play equipment in children's playgrounds, and adopt a site-specific design approach to provide suitable play equipment catering to children's play needs; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) manages over 700 outdoor children's playgrounds and is committed to providing various types of play equipment for children of different ages in these venues to help promote the balanced development of children through giving them opportunities to play together and acquire different skills. My reply to the four parts of the question is as follows:

(1) The numbers of complaints about the play equipment received by the LCSD in the past three years (i.e. 2013 to 2015) are 53, 30 and 60 respectively. The details are listed in the annex.

(2) When planning for, designing or replacing playground facilities, the LCSD and the relevant works department will provide different types of play equipment and movable parts, such as swings, slides, seesaws, climbing frames, large multi-play equipment and movable parts that produce sounds when knocked after taking account of factors such as the topographic features, site areas and physical environments of individual venues, the safety standard required, the needs of different users and the views of the District Councils concerned. Meanwhile, additional play equipment with various new elements is also provided in order to keep pace with the times. For example, the children's playground in Kwun Tong Promenade offers facilities which help promote the sensory development of children, and Mui Wo River Silver Garden is an inclusive playground providing slides and climbing frames of different designs and levels of difficulty which make the play equipment more interesting and challenging.

(3) The LCSD has kept in contact with concern groups of children's play equipment, and consulted the organisations and District Councils concerned on the designs of children's playgrounds and the play equipment provided there. Last year, with the support of the LCSD, the concern groups held the Inclusive Play Space Design Ideas Competition, using Tuen Mun Park as the competition site. The LCSD is now actively exploring the ways to incorporate the feasible and applicable elements in the ideas of the winners into the design of the selected site in Tuen Mun Park on a pilot basis in consultation with the organisations and works department concerned with a view to further improving the play equipment in children's playgrounds managed by the LCSD.

(4) The LCSD has laid down criteria for the provision of play equipment in children's playgrounds. As mentioned in paragraph (2) above, when planning for, designing or replacing playground facilities, both the LCSD and the relevant works department will take into account various factors such as the physical environments of individual venues and the views of users and the District Councils concerned. The LCSD will also continue to keep in contact with concern groups of children's play equipment with a view to providing suitable children's play equipment in its venues.

Ends/Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Issued at HKT 15:20


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