Jockey Club could lease Olympic Games equestrian site for 10 years

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 April, 2007, 12:00am

The Jockey Club may be granted a lease of up to 10 years on the 44,000 square metre plot of land being used for equestrian events of the 2008 Olympics, lawmakers were told yesterday.

The plot, on Sports Institute land next to Sha Tin racecourse, will become part of the club's stables.

The land has been designated for training facilities and stables for the Olympic equestrian events, which are being staged in Hong Kong because of poor quarantine facilities and fears that horses would catch equine diseases in Beijing.

At a meeting of the Legislative Council's home affairs panel yesterday, Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the government had consulted key stakeholders in the sports community, all of whom had expressed support for the redevelopment, even if it meant a smaller land area for the institute.

She also said the Jockey Club needed the new stables as part of its plan to replace the current stables, which had been damaged because of settlement problems. The Sha Tin racecourse was built on reclaimed land 30 years ago.

'We have had initial talks with the Jockey Club ... they say they need [the extra land] for a period of seven to 10 years,' Mrs Lam said. 'There is no decision on [the final arrangements] nor the use of the land after the Jockey Club has replaced its stables. We still need more discussions.'

The Jockey Club is spending HK$800 million to build Games equestrian facilities on the Sports Institute site and at Beas River.

Mrs Lam asked the panel to approve an initial HK$50 million for the redevelopment of the Sports Institute. However, panel members said they would like to canvass the views of the sports community more widely before they agreed to the project.

'It is a serious subject involving the future of Hong Kong sports and we should invite all concerned parties to the panel and listen to their views,' said The Frontier's Emily Lau Wai-hing.