Lawmakers to vote on new swimming complex

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 April, 2009, 12:00am

Plans for a sleek, billion-dollar swimming pool complex at Victoria Park will today be put to lawmakers, who will have to decide whether the project goes ahead.

The Home Affairs Bureau's plan to redevelop the existing swimming pool into a high-tech swimming complex was approved by the Town Planning Board early this year.

The project comprises an indoor heated swimming pool complex with a main pool and a multipurpose pool with adjustable platforms, space for 2,500 spectators and facilities to hold competitive events.

The existing pool can accommodate 1,700 spectators while the one in Kowloon Park, which will be used for the East Asian Games later this year, can hold only 1,800 spectators. The bureau said the new pool would be well equipped to hold local, regional and international events.

Nine tennis courts and a rollerskating rink would have to be relocated to make space for the new complex, which would be built next to the existing pool. A handball court and two rollerskating rinks would be built on the site of the existing pool.

The project, estimated to cost HK$1,074 million, includes the refurbishment of four tennis courts and the conversion of the tai chi area and the changing block to the north of the tennis centre into an open space to hold functions and fringe activities.

The Harbourfront Enhancement Committee, a government advisory group, had criticised the project, saying it would obstruct the sea view and the park's views. Although the height of the complex had been lowered from 27 metres to 25 metres, architect and committee member Vincent Ng Wing-shun said it was still large.

'The fundamental question is do we need a massive complex and a heated pool with a roof?' he said.

Lawmaker Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, representing the sports and cultural sectors, said Hong Kong as Asia's world city should have a pool capable of holding international events. 'It should be designed for all, including our sports elites who need a place for practice,' he said.