Cruise terminal plans challenged
Plans for a new cruise terminal were challenged yesterday by legislators who said the Tourism Commission was following the West Kowloon Cultural District model - allowing a developer to subsidise the project with property development.
The accusation came after the commission said it would invite proposals from developers in the second half of the year for a terminal to be completed by 2009, and that about 30 possible sites would be offered.
The project is aimed at easing pressure on existing berthing facilities, accommodating huge cruise vessels that cannot berth at Ocean Terminal, and to develop Hong Kong as a home port.
At a meeting of the Legislative Council's economic services panel yesterday, lawmakers expressed concern that a private developer would use property development to finance the cruise terminal's operation.
Howard Young of the Liberal Party, representing the tourism industry, asked why the terminal could not be a public facility which did not charge high port fees.
Tourism Commissioner Eva Cheng Yu-wah said that the public-private partnership model was favoured so that government resources could be used in other facilities.
'Private companies have new technology. They are able to build a terminal faster than we can,' she said.