HAB disappointed over voting down of proposed reprovisioning of Shanghai Street refuse collection point and street sleepers' services units by LegCo's FC

     The Home Affairs Bureau (HAB) expressed deep disappointment over the voting down of its proposal to reprovision the Shanghai Street refuse collection point (RCP) and street sleepers' services units (SSSU) to the site on Hau Cheung Street, Yau Ma Tei, for the phase II development of the Yau Ma Tei Theatre (YMTT) project by the Legislative Council's Finance Committee (FC) at its meeting today (July 11).

     The HAB pointed out that the reprovisioning project aimed to vacate the site on Shanghai Street for the YMTT phase II development. The Cantonese opera sector hoped that the development could be implemented soon, so as to solve the limitation of the current venues and provide additional practicing space for young budding actors, thereby further promoting the transmission and development of Cantonese opera and complementing the software development at the West Kowloon Cultural District. The rejection of this project will inevitably hinder the Cantonese opera sector in nurturing new talents for the transmission of this traditional art, and hamper the environmental improvement plan promoted by the community.

     Since 2011, the HAB has started to consult the Yau Tsim Mong District Council and its Community Building Committee, the Legislative Council's Panel on Home Affairs and the Public Works Subcommittee (PWSC), etc., and has been listening to members' opinion and actively examined different improvement proposals. The latest building design was substantially revised to incorporate PWSC members' opinion, and the revised design is supported by all stakeholders, including the two operators of the SSSU and the Cantonese opera sector.

     With the voting down of the funding approval by the FC today, the YMTT phase II development project cannot proceed and as a result the pressing need to improve the facilities of the YMTT cannot be resolved. The Shanghai Street RCP and SSSU will remain at the present site and so the users of the SSSU will not be able to enjoy the new facilities and better living environment brought about by the reprovisioning project. The environment in the vicinity can hardly be improved. All three parties are undoubtedly losers under the present circumstances.

     When the proposed YMTT phase I development project was submitted to the PWSC in 2009, members requested to relocate the existing Shanghai Street RCP and SSSU with a view to improving the overall environment of the YMTT. The Government has been actively exploring suitable sites for relocating these two facilities. However, since the Yau Tsim Mong district was already densely developed, it was extremely difficult to identify vacant sites to reprovision these facilities. Under the persistent efforts by various government departments, a suitable site on Hau Cheung Street was finally identified. The Government has also made the best effort in the past few years to ensure that the design of the new building can minimise the impact of the RCP on building users.

     The HAB said as compared with the building at the existing site, the revised design of the new building can greatly improve the environment for the SSSU's users, including the construction of additional floors to increase the vertical distance between the RCP and SSSU; the provision of a dedicated lift and an independent ventilation system for the new building; and, in response to the request of PWSC members, the installation of double doors at the RCP in order to mitigate the impact which might arise from the operation of the RCP on users of the SSSU's users. Despite the fact that the Government has revised the building design, the FC still voted down the funding proposal today, which will further delay the reprovisioning project.  Nevertheless, the Government will continue its efforts to work with the Cantonese opera sector and the community to support the development of Cantonese opera and the local community through other means, and will strive to gain the support of the next term of the Legislative Council towards the reprovisioning project.

Ends/Monday, July 11, 2016
Issued at HKT 20:15