Arts groups divided over West Kowloon project

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 March, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 March, 2004, 12:00am

Arts groups are split over the government's proposal to allow a single developer to build and operate the $24 billion West Kowloon cultural district.

The Arts Development Council asked 3,000 schools, cultural and arts groups for their views on the project.

Of the 403 which responded, a third supported the single-developer approach, a third were against it and the others had no opinion. Previously, arts groups and construction and design professionals had criticised the idea of a single developer.

Some 60 per cent of the respondents agreed that private developers should play a key role in the project and did not object to commercial activities featuring in the development alongside cultural and artistic ventures.

About two-thirds wanted the arts community to have a say on the proposals of developers bidding for the project, although some respondents voiced concern that could create conflicts of interest.

Sixty per cent agreed the development should be managed either by a statutory body, non-profit companies or on a commercial basis.

If a statutory body were to be chosen, its board should comprise representatives of the government, the arts sector and the successful bidder, they said.

The council will submit its findings to the government.