Councils told not to seek short-term political gains

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 December, 2006, 12:00am

The chairwoman of one of four district councils selected for a scheme granting wider autonomy to manage facilities has called on councillors not to focus on projects for short-term political gain.

Wan Chai District Council chairwoman Ada Wong Ying-kay said the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department had said the council would be responsible for planning the basement of the new Wan Chai market.

'We're thinking of providing some leisure facilities, such as some small meeting halls or rooms to provide services,' she said.

The government announced in September that Sai Kung, Wan Chai, Wong Tai Sin and Tuen Mun district councils had been chosen for a one-year pilot scheme that from next month gives them a say on running libraries, community halls, swimming pools and beaches.

Ms Wong said it was a great temptation to carry out projects that could generate political credit before elections late next year.

She said Wan Chai councillors wanted to see a change in management culture.

'The government wants to see whether, with more power and resources, the district councils can carry out their planning reasonably and make more room for the citizens to participate,' Ms Wong said.

Along with the other three districts, Wan Chai will receive an extra HK$3 million in funding for community projects and HK$5 million for minor works next year.