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LCQ11: Improvement measures for public markets

     Following is a question by the Hon Wu Chi-wai and a written reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man, in the Legislative Council today (February 24):


     The Food and Health Bureau made public in May 2015 a report of a consultancy study on ways to improve the operating environment of public markets, which was submitted by a consultant commissioned by the Bureau. The consultant selected six markets for the purpose of drawing up physical improvement proposals for further study on potential improvements. Furthermore, the consultant proposed the implementation of a number of non-physical improvement measures (including strengthening of routine management and enforcement work, enabling octopus payment, provision of short-term leasing of promotional areas, etc) in those six markets. At the meeting of the Subcommittee on Issues Relating to Public Markets (the Subcommittee) of this Council held in June last year, the authorities advised that they would conduct consultations on the proposals put forward by the consultant, and planned to select in 2016 at least one or two markets among the six markets and propose tailor-made improvement plans for it/them. In addition, the Subcommittee requested the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) to consult relevant tenants on whether to retrofit air-conditioning facilities in public markets (including cooked food centres) not yet provided with such facilities. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the latest progress of the consultation conducted by the authorities in respect of the aforesaid market improvement proposals, and the views of the tenants; if such consultation has not completed, of the expected completion time; whether they have already selected one or two markets and formulated improvement plans for it/them; if they have, of the details; if not, the expected time for selecting the market(s) and formulating the relevant plans;

(2) given that the authorities have indicated that they would be willing to explore the implementation of improvement plans if the stakeholders in markets other than the six selected markets indicate such a wish, whether the authorities have so far taken forward any non-physical improvement measures for other markets; if they have, of the progress, as well as the details, progress and expected implementation dates of such improvement measures, broken down by name of market;

(3) regarding the consultation conducted by FEHD on the retrofitting of air-conditioning facilities in markets, of the respective numbers of markets in respect of which the consultation has completed, is underway and has yet to be conducted; among the markets in respect of which the consultation has completed, of the number of markets in which the percentage of tenants in support of the retrofitting proposal has reached the threshold set by the authorities; and

(4) of the latest progress of the consultation launched by FEHD in the middle of last year on the retrofitting of air-conditioning facilities in Ngau Tau Kok Market and Cooked Food Centre?



     The consultant commissioned earlier by the Food and Health Bureau (FHB) has submitted a report and put forward recommendations on the functions and positioning of public markets, ways to improve their operating environment and the modes of management of public markets. In this connection, the Government briefed the Subcommittee on Issues Relating to Public Markets under the Legislative Council Panel on Food Safety and Environmental Hygiene in June 2015 on the follow-up actions to be taken in relation to the recommendations made by the consultant.

     My reply to the question is as follows:

(1) The consultant selected six representative markets for detailed study and put forward specific improvement plans. The markets are Tsuen Wan Market, Yau Ma Tei Market, Ngau Chi Wan Market, Sheung Fung Street Market, Lockhart Road Market and Wing Fong Street Market. We will follow up the specific improvement proposals for these markets in phases. The experience gained and the improvement plans taken forward will serve as reference for pursuing improvements to other markets in future. Specifically, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) consulted the Market Management Consultative Committees (MMCCs) of Sheung Fung Street Market and Lockhart Road Market in the fourth quarter of 2015. The MMCCs expressed support for some of the proposals that do not require temporary closure of stalls or suspension of business. We are carefully considering their views and will conduct feasibility studies and seek funding according to the established procedures for taking forward the improvement works at those two markets.

(2) The consultant also suggested implementing some non-physical improvement measures relating to the management of public markets, hygiene, as well as marketing and promotion. As pointed out by the consultant, the pursuit of these non-physical measures will incur additional costs and require additional resources for management. Priority has to be set for their implementation. On the management of public markets, we agree with the consultant that priority should be given to tackling inactive stalls and keeping markets clean and hygienic in general. We plan to increase the FEHD's manpower to enhance daily management work. On marketing and promotion, the FEHD has been organising various promotional activities in public markets, including festive promotions, games booths, cooking demonstrations and distribution of souvenirs. The department will sustain its promotional efforts with a view to increasing customer flows in public markets and improving business viability.

(3) The Government lowered the threshold of tenants' support for the installation of air-conditioning facilities in public markets from 85 per cent to 80 per cent on July 1, 2015. The Aberdeen Market is a beneficiary under the new threshold by virtue of its having obtained a support rate of 80.36 per cent. Recently, the Ngau Tau Kok Market Cooked Food Centre has also obtained a support rate of 90 per cent. In addition, the FEHD completed in December 2015 the consultation with the MMCCs of all 74 markets without air-conditioning facilities (Note) and 27 of them supported conducting a questionnaire survey. We are following up the surveys to collect tenants' views on the installation of air-conditioning facilities.

(4) The FEHD has consulted the MMCC of Ngau Tau Kok Market on the proposal to install air-conditioning facilities in the market. The MMCC considered that the questionnaire survey should only cover tenants of the Cooked Food Centre but not those of dry and wet goods stalls. The result of the survey shows that more than 80 per cent of the tenants supported the installation of air-conditioning facilities. The FEHD has commenced the preliminary feasibility study on this proposal and will follow up the project in accordance with the established procedures.

Note: Including markets where air-conditioning facilities have been installed in their cooked food centres but not in dry and wet goods stalls.

Ends/Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Issued at HKT 17:08


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