Councillor vows to keep pushing for Discovery Bay school

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 July, 2008, 12:00am

A district councillor has vowed to keep up pressure on the Education Bureau for construction of a publicly-funded school for Discovery Bay that was approved six years ago.

Developer Hong Kong Resort Company was required to build a government or aided primary school at its own expense under the conditions of its land grant for Discovery Bay and earmarked a site for it in the Siena One area.

But the bureau changed the requirement in 2002 to a through-train school because of a surplus of primary places in the enclave and allocated the site to the Catholic Diocese for a school due to be built by 2005.

Six years later, construction work has yet to begin and the bureau has suspended talks with HKRC over the additional costs involved in building a through-train school while it conducts a review of the demand for school places in Discovery Bay.

The enclave's 16,000 residents have one aided primary school and no publicly-funded secondary.

The bureau has now pledged to speed up the review after district councillor Amy Yung Wing-sheung met in May with deputy secretary for education Bernadette Linn Hon-ho to discuss the delay.

A bureau spokeswoman said: 'We have commenced discussions with HKRC regarding the additional cost that would be required. Given the expansion in scope from a primary school to a through-train school, the government has to invest public funds into the project to meet any additional costs involved.

'Depending on the amount required, funding approval of the Legislative Council may have to be sought. We are reviewing the scope and timing of the project in the light of the projected demand and supply situation of school places in the district and will assess the funding requirements in due course. The bureau has yet to confirm with HKRC the timing for the project.'

The spokeswoman added: 'We will proceed with further discussions with HKRC once we have decided on the scope of the project.'

Ms Yung, said: 'This delay is totally unacceptable considering the expanding population in Discovery Bay. They are procrastinating about the whole project.

'It is long overdue. They should have completed this review years ago and they shouldn't be giving more excuses at this point.

A spokesman for HKRC said: 'Hong Kong Resort Company has all along been liaising with the government and we stand ready to build the school in accordance with the land grant provisions.'