Disney funding package suffers setback

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 May, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 May, 2001, 12:00am

The Disneyland project suffered a setback yesterday when lawmakers expressed opposition to a $3.2 billion funding package for ground work at the site in Penny's Bay, Lantau.

The Government is seeking Legco approval for the funds for road construction and reclamation of 10 hectares of land.

But lawmakers on the planning, lands and works panel refused to back the funding and said unless it was revised, the panel would recommend its rejection by Legco.

Wong Yung-kan, who represents the agriculture and fisheries sector, said many fish had been killed by dredging and urged the Government to consult fishermen more.

Lau Ping-cheung called on all other legislators not to support the plan. He was dissatisfied that the Government had refused to break down the projects into segments so smaller local firms could bid for the project.

Chief assistant secretary for works Cheng Ting-ning said the projects were kept large because it made them easier for the Government to manage.

The Government also came under fire for overspending $80 million in the Central reclamation project. Panel officials said lawmakers needed to approve $80 million on top of the $2.5 billion already spent.

Central Reclamation Phase 1 provides land for the Airport Railway Hong Kong Station and piers to offshore islands. It formed part of the airport core programme, which began in 1993 and was completed in 1998.

Principal Assistant Secretary of Planning and Lands Daniel Cheng Chung-wai said extra money was needed because of unexpected engineering problems. Democrat Albert Chan Wai-yip had reservations about the additional funding. 'It is the result of poor planning as the core programme began in a rush. I think the Director of Audit should investigate it.'

Ip Kwok-him, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, agreed the programme was badly organised. 'Some of the proposed transportation infrastructure was not workable and should have been changed,' said Mr Ip.

But non-affiliated legislator Lau Ping-cheung, who represents the architectural, surveying and planning sector, said: 'We have already spent $2.5 billion and it's best to approve it to finish the project.'