Teenagers avoid Youth Square

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 April, 2012, 12:00am


Teenagers have hardly used the new facilities at Youth Square in Chai Wan since it opened in 2009, a government report says.

The 40,000-square-metre youth centre, built and operated by the Home Affairs Bureau, lost as much as HK$76 million during its first two years of operation.

The Audit Commission reported that although the centre was meant to promote youth development, only half of the 2,130 activities held were targeted at young people. The remaining programmes ranged from elderly health consultations to talks on Buddhism.

The usage rate of facilities like the video-shooting studio, exhibition area and band room was less than 10 per cent. Shops and conference rooms were least popular, with a usage rate of 0 to 5 per cent. Y-Loft, a 148-room youth hostel in the complex, had a usage rate of 18 to 34 per cent - less than the initial target of 40 per cent.

The report says Youth Square's inconvenient location made it less attractive to teens, especially those who live in the New Territories. It also suggests the centre review its steep rental rates and offer discounts to attract more tenants.

Taikoo Shing West district councillor Andrew Chiu Ka-yin, who stayed in the youth hostel last July, found the condition of its interior poor.

'There are cracks and mould on parts of the wall,' says Chiu. 'And most guests are not youngsters.'

He urged the authorities to spruce up Youth Square's facilities and rework its positioning and marketing strategies.