Four concerts at stadium a year 'too many'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 July, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 July, 1999, 12:00am

A proposal to stage four concerts at the Hong Kong Stadium each year has been criticised as too many by officials.

The stadium managers' suggestion aimed to make concerts possible at the venue where noise problems have forced stars such as Michael Jackson and Elton John to cancel performances.

Recommendations were drawn up after managers were told they could ask the Chief Executive to exempt them from noise pollution laws. The board of governors discussed the proposals with officials yesterday and it was agreed further talks were needed.

Board member Ronnie Wong Mun-chiu said: 'If we do not make the best use of the facility, it means wasting public money.' Board chairman Ambrose Cheung Wing-sum said there were not many places where open-air concerts could take place.

The former Kai Tak airport site was only for temporary use.

The Urban Services Department, which manages the stadium, suggested four concerts be allowed a year, with each having no more than three performances.

The events could be held between 9am and 10pm with a noise level below 85 decibels - more than the legal limit of 60 to 70 decibels.

No concert should be held during school exams in May and June and the stadium manager should have the power to control the volume.

Organisers should appoint a volume consultant and have the noise level measured at stations designated by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD). Department officials should be allowed to conduct random checks of the measurement record.

But the EPD said four concerts a year were too many and that a public consultation might be needed to decide the number.

It said performances should not last longer than four hours and be held on Saturdays or the day before public holidays.

An assistant director of the EPD, Tang Kin-fai, said his department's suggestions were intended to give stadium managers a greater chance of obtaining an exemption from Tung Chee-hwa.

The Chief Executive will have to strike a balance between society's expectations and the rights of residents.