Venue doomed to sound of silence from the start

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 May, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 May, 2004, 12:00am

Bureaucratic bungling which left Hong Kong Stadium with a substandard pitch also produced a design which doomed the facility as a concert venue.

That was the conclusion reached in a confidential section of a March 1995 Ombudsman's report whose contents were finally revealed in court documents during the stadium managers' battle with the government. The report found the stadium was unable to host any pop concerts because it was inevitable they would breach noise restrictions.

According to the Ombudsman, the noise issue was first raised in June 1991 during the preliminary design stage of the stadium, at a meeting where the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) unofficially indicated its objection to the holding of more than two or three concerts a year.

On November 13, 1991, sound consultants for the Jockey Club, which funded the stadium's construction, asked for the department's views on the noise issue. On May 4, 1992, the EPD objected to the holding of concerts on the grounds noise mitigation measures proposed for the stadium were inadequate.

The Ombudsman said the stadium project had been fast-tracked and had taken less than four years from conception to construction.

He also found that the project feasibility report did not go into the environmental impact of the stadium and there was no EPD involvement during the initial planning.