Opportunities office backs community projects
The Development Opportunities Office supported more community projects than business plans in its first year.
It was set up in 2009 under the Development Bureau to provide a one-stop service for private development projects it deems beneficial both to society and the economy.
It co-ordinates government departments to jointly assess proposals and give feedback before they go to the Town Planning Board and for environmental impact assessment.
In its first year, the office assessed 17 projects and backed 13 of them.
The 'Baroque on Lamma' project was among the four it rejected. Other failed bids were columbarium plans for southern Lantau and Tung Chung and the Utahloy Education Foundation's proposal to build an international boarding school in Sai Kung.
It is advised by the Land and Development Advisory Committee.
Most of the 13 proposals backed by the office were from non-profit groups, including redevelopment plans from the Scout Association, Young Women's Christian Association and Sheng Kung Hui. A plan to relocate the Maritime Museum from Stanley to Pier 8 in Central was also supported.
Only three of the 13 it backed were business plans. These included China Resources Property's bid to revamp Harbour Road Garden next to its headquarters, and a businessman's plan to convert his Yau Tong factory into an expo and hotel complex.
Nineteen proposals are being processed, including factory conversions and a Tai Po spa resort.