Councils call for training to manage works

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2007, 12:00am

District councillors want more government support, such as management skills training, to help them implement a scheme that gives the councils more autonomy to manage facilities.

Wan Chai District Council chairwoman Ada Wong Ying-kay said yesterday the nine-month pilot scheme had brought some encouraging results.

For instance, a park along the Wan Chai promenade had become the first managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department to welcome people and their pets, she said.

The project had been organised in collaboration with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

But Ms Wong said district councillors might not have the professional knowledge to plan minor works projects they were to handle under the scheme.

She was speaking at a meeting that shared the experience of the four districts selected for the pilot scheme, which was introduced in January.

Ms Wong said consultants who would plan district works should be selected by the councils rather than the government.

Senior officials and about 100 district councillors attended yesterday's session.

Under the pilot scheme, Wan Chai, Tuen Mun, Sai Kung and Wong Tai Sin councils were each given HK$3 million to launch community projects and HK$5 million for minor public works projects this year.

The councillors were given a say in running libraries, community halls, beaches and swimming pools.

The scheme will be extended to all 18 districts in January, with HK$300 million available for councils to carry out minor public works. Another HK$300 million a year could be available for sports, recreational and cultural activities and community involvement projects.

Tuen Mun councillor Josephine Chan Shu-ying said she hoped the government would spell out clearer regulations for choosing partner organisations to co-host community involvement projects.

Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing said he noted the issues raised. The government would review the scheme by the end of the year, after the district council elections in November and a report by a government-appointed consultation committee.

Move to autonomy

Four of the 18 district councils were chosen for the pilot scheme

The amount in millions of HK dollars to be made available to all district councils next year for minor public works: 300