Arts hub updates in public domain
I refer to your editorial ("No secrecy in West Kowloon", January 22) calling for transparency of board meetings of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority.
The chief secretary for administration, in her capacity as chairman of the board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, would like to reiterate the authority's commitment to keeping the public informed of the progress of our city's largest and most strategic investment ever in arts and culture. It has been, and continues to be, our strong conviction that transparency and accountability are part and parcel of the authority's good governance.
Its work is in the public domain through various channels. During the past three years, its major task was to formulate a development plan. A three-stage public engagement exercise was conducted in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively while a consultation panel was established to engage the public and solicit stakeholder views. The deliberation process throughout the consultation was open and transparent.
Subsequently, the development plan was submitted to the Town Planning Board on December 30, 2011 for consideration, and the statutory planning process, which included a two-month exhibition period for representations, was again open and transparent.
Over the past year, the public has been updated on the progress of the cultural district through various avenues. These include press conferences and press releases to announce a major donation to the M+ collection, international design contests for the Xiqu Centre and M+, the shortlisting of design teams for its park, and a press conference hosted by the board chairman on December 10, 2012, to announce the winning design for the Xiqu Centre and the shortlisted design teams for M+. The authority's annual reports are available on its website, while a register of declaration of interest of all board members is also on the website for public viewing. The attendance records of board members are available for public inspection at the authority's central register. Recently, the authority also issued its code on access to information.
Nevertheless, the concerns raised in your editorial about the conduct of board meetings are noted. The board chairman has tasked the authority management to devise specific measures, on top of statutory requirements, to enhance public knowledge of the board's deliberations without compromising the principles of confidentiality or disclosing commercially sensitive matters. The authority management's recommendations will be discussed by the board at its next meeting in February.
Gilford Law, press secretary to the chief secretary for administration