LCQ7: Rezoning of site originally designated for use by Hong Kong Sports Institute
In 2007, the authorities handed over a site adjoining Sha Tin Race Course originally designated for use by the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI) to the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) for conversion into competition venues and supporting facilities for equestrian events in support of the 2008 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic. The Government has leased the site to HKJC under a short-term tenancy since January 2009. At the end of last year, the Government (i) commenced the procedure for amending the Sha Tin Outline Zoning Plan, with one of the amendments being the rezoning of the aforesaid site from "Government, Institution or Community" to "Other Specified Uses" annotated "Race Course", and (ii) agreed in principle to include the site, in the form of extension, into a 50-year lease of the Sha Tin Race Course upon completion of the procedure. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) as a government official indicated at the meeting of the Panel on Home Affairs of this Council held on April 13, 2007 that, with the proposed new and additional facilities to be provided at the redeveloped HKSI, the needs of HKSI and elite sports training in the foreseeable future would be fully met, and there was no need to recover the aforesaid site for development, of the justifications for the statement;
(2) as it was reported that the authorities had consulted in March 2007 stakeholders, including relevant National Sports Associations (NSAs) and athletes, on the site coverage of the redeveloped HKSI and reached preliminary consensus with them, whether the authorities can provide details of the relevant consultation exercise, including (i) the detailed contents of the consultation paper, and (ii) the names of the NSAs and the number of athletes consulted, and if objections were received; if objections were received, how the authorities responded to them; and
(3) whether it has reassessed if the leasing of the aforesaid site to HKJC for 50 years will hinder the future development and long-term planning of HKSI; if it has reassessed, of the details; if the assessment outcome is in the affirmative, of the remedial measures to be taken by the authorities?
The Sha Tin Racecourse has been granted to the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) for horse racing and related purposes under the Private Recreational Lease since 1977, with the main objective of providing the public with facilities to enjoy horse racing and take bets legally. The HKJC, the grantee of the subject site, is a not-for-profit organisation. After the deduction of tax, its income from horse racing activities held on the site is used for running the racecourse, supporting community services and for charitable purposes. Taking into account the unique nature of the Sha Tin Racecourse, the Government, with the approval of the Chief Executive-in-Council, has granted the HKJC a 50-year special purpose lease in 2015 to continue the current use of the site as a racecourse and for related purposes, so as to facilitate the long-term planning and development of the horse racing and community facilities in the Sha Tin Racecourse by the HKJC.
The site mentioned in the question is an adjoining site at the southwest of the Sha Tin Racecourse, which is let to the HKJC under a short term tenancy for uses as stables, training ground and facilities for jockeys and horses, an equine swimming pool and ancillary facilities ("Olympic stable site").
The "Olympic stable site" was rented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) to the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI) for use as golf practice range and soccer pitches. In fact, the whole HKSI site (including the "Olympic stable site") (GLA No. ST-301) is Government land managed by the LCSD since 2004, and was leased by LCSD to the HKSI. As Hong Kong was a co-host of the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian Events, the LCSD rented the Government land (including the "Olympic stable site" but excluding the areas for cycling facility and swimming complex) to the Equestrian Events (Hong Kong) of the Games of the XXIX Olympiad Company Limited in 2007 until the end of 2008. Since 2009, the Government has let the "Olympic stable site" to the HKJC under a short-term tenancy for uses as stables, training ground and facilities for jockeys and horses, an equine swimming pool and ancillary facilities whereas the other areas under the GLA No. ST-301 continued to be leased by the LCSD to the HKSI. In 2013, the HKJC applied to the Government for the renewal of the Sha Tin Racecourse under a special purpose lease and the retention of the "Olympic stable site".
My reply to the various parts of the question is as follows:
(1) After the completion of the HKSI redevelopment project, the construction floor area of the HKSI increased from about 26 000 square metres to about 78 000 square metres, where the new and additional facilities provided are sufficient to meet the development needs of elite sports in the next 10 to 15 years. As such, the Government considered that rental of the "Olympic stable site" to the HKSI is not necessary. The then Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs had written to the Legislative Council in May 2007 to explain the relevant considerations.
(2) A Joint Task Force on Redevelopment of Hong Kong Sports Institute (JTF), co-chaired by the Vice-Chairman of the Elite Sports Committee (one of the committees under the Sports Commission) and the Chairman of HKSI, was set up in July 2005. The JFT was tasked to undertake a review of the provision of facilities at HKSI and elsewhere, and to recommend a redevelopment plan for HKSI. Throughout the six-month period of its operation, the JFT conducted an extensive series of consultative processes with key stakeholders, including the national sports associations (NSAs) of the 13 elite sports at the time (i.e. Athletics, Badminton, Cycling, Fencing, Squash, Rowing, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Tenpin Bowling, Triathlon, Windsurfing and Wushu), two disabled sports NSAs (i.e. the Hong Kong Sports Association for Persons with Intellectual Disability (The Association was known as the Hong Kong Sports Association for the Mentally Handicapped before July 2015) and the Hong Kong Paralympic Committee & Sports Association for the Physically Disabled), the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, the Hong Kong Elite Athletes Association, and HKSI coaches, athletes and sports administrators.
It was mentioned in our paper (www.legco.gov.hk/yr06-07/english/panels/ha/papers/ha0413cb2-1493-2-e.pdf) submitted to the Panel on Home Affairs in April 2007 that the Government had examined the redevelopment footprint of the HKSI. Paragraphs 7 to 11 of the paper set out the reasons for the removal of the "Olympic stable site" from the redevelopment project and the reasons for the retention of the "Olympic stable site" by the HKJC. The Project Steering Committee established by the HKSI for the redevelopment project (including members from the HKSI, relevant government bureaux/departments and individual professional members) and key stakeholders, including the HKSI Board, the relevant NSAs, coaches, athletes and HKSI staff, etc., have indicated no objection to the revised coverage of the redevelopment site of the HKSI project. The results of the consultation process clearly indicated that a major redevelopment of HKSI could meet the needs of both current and future elite sports development in Hong Kong.
(3) With regard to the rezoning and arrangements for granting the "Olympic stable site" to the HKJC, the HKSI reaffirmed that it does not impede or detract from elite training facilities at HKSI. We will continue to maintain close liaison with the HKSI so that the facilities and support services of the HKSI will continue to meet the needs of elite sports training.
Ends/Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Issued at HKT 12:50
Issued at HKT 12:50