Letters to the Editor, March 20, 2013
Some groups allowed access to private clubs
I refer to the letter from James Lee Kam-fai ("Make better use of empty sports grounds", March 14), and would like to clarify the government's stance regarding public access to private sports clubs and other facilities on sites that are operated under private recreational leases.
Your correspondent suggested that "private club leases could have a clause that club facilities must be opened to the public".
In fact, these leases already contain conditions that require lessees to allow a certain amount of access to outside organisations such as schools, welfare groups and sports organisations.
In renewing these leases, the government will incorporate new conditions that will require private clubs and other lessees to allow outside organisations greater access to their sports and recreational facilities.
We realise many organisations are not aware that they can access sports and recreational facilities at private sports clubs and other venues that are leased under private recreational leases.
We will therefore require lessees to publicise more extensively the availability of their facilities, and will also directly advise eligible organisations of the scope of the facilities that they can access.
Following the current round of these lease renewals, the government will review the policy on them, taking into account factors such as lessees' contributions to the development of sport in Hong Kong, land use policy, public expectations and the interests of lessees and other stakeholders.
The review will also take account of the extent to which outside organisations have benefited from the arrangements to allow them greater access to private sports clubs and other facilities that are operated under private recreational leases.
Yolanda Tong, for secretary for home affairs
Tung Chung cannot be tourist magnet
A business group has proposed developing Lantau into a commercial zone with more shopping malls in Tung Chung to divert tourists from overcrowded districts such as Tsim Sha Tsui and Causeway Bay ("Lantau group keen to woo mainland shoppers", March 11).
I don't think this proposal will be feasible.
Tourists want to go to areas of the city that are already famous for their shopping and have given Hong Kong the reputation of being a shopper's paradise.
Because of the excellent transport network, they are easy to get to and visitors love the atmosphere in those areas.
It would therefore be difficult to get these people to go instead to a less well-known area such as Tung Chung.
For many of them, the travelling time would be long from their hotels.
Also, some of the older districts have unique shopping experiences, such as specialist shopping streets like Ladies Market in Mong Kok that you cannot find anywhere else.
Tourists simply will not be able to find similar markets in areas with newer housing estates such as Tung Chung.
Mandy Lee Man-shan, Sha Tin
Visitors will stick to city's older areas
With so many tourists filling the streets in Tsim Sha Tsui and Causeway Bay, it has become virtually impossible now to enjoy a carefree walk in these areas.
The crowds reach their peak at night. I think for this reason many people welcomed the proposal put forward by Lantau Economic Development Alliance to develop Lantau into a commercial zone in order to divert tourists from these overcrowded districts and shop instead in Tung Chung.
But on closer inspection, my reaction to the plan is one of scepticism.
Places like Tsim Shat Tsui and Causeway Bay have acquired an enviable shopping reputation and they remain hugely popular with visitors in spite of being chaotic, because they offer good-quality souvenirs and other products in their shops.
It would take time for Tung Chung to acquire a similar reputation, and it is always going to suffer from the disadvantage of being in a more remote location.
Even if more shopping malls are built, many tourists will be reluctant to travel all the way out there when products that they want for friends and relatives back home are easily available in shopping areas closer to the centre of the city.
I just cannot see the construction of more malls in Tung Chung relieving the pedestrian congestion in places like Tsim Sha Tsui and Causeway Bay.
Crystal Lam, Fo Tan
Now TV's soccer charge is excessive
I was very happy to find a few weeks ago that Now TV had won the rights for the English Premier League this coming August, and even more happy to find in February that they had a promotion.
However, I was disappointed to learn that the price was HK$888 a month.
Although it is a lot, I agreed to the deal as I was told I had "everything". But the next day, I got a call telling me it didn't include Setanta or Star Cricket which I definitely wanted to watch.
I asked a dozen friends who have Now TV who have the same package I was offered. They averaged paying around HK$450 a month. So, this so- called promotion I was offered ends up with me paying nearly double what my friends are paying. The Premier League doesn't start until mid-August but it seems they want me to start paying now. I asked Now TV sales staff a number of questions, but they couldn't answer them, so I wonder if the station's management could answer them, through these columns.
Firstly, what sort of promotion is it if the price is double the existing price?
I thought I would at least save HK$5,000 by waiting till August to start my subscription, so how much will this package cost me in August? Also, I told Now TV I felt HK$888 was very excessive, but got no response. I am sure all present Now TV subscribers would love to know how much more they will be charged to watch the English Premier League.
I'm sure my happy friends who are looking forward to watching the football won't be as happy when they find out the real cost. In negotiations with the sales staff, I was happy to drop a couple of channels for a more reasonable figure, but to no avail.
I could just about afford the monthly fee, but I just don't like the feeling that I am getting ripped off; HK$888 might be a lucky number for Now TV but it certainly isn't for the general public.
Carl Mesham, Stanley
Let CY focus on important social issues
There have been many reports written about illegal structures in the home of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.
He has already apologised for the mistakes he made in this regard.
I hope his critics will now move on and concentrate on the things he is trying to do to develop Hong Kong so that it is a better place to live in.
In his policy address, Leung pledged to try and help raise basic living standards, but still political parties refer to the unauthorised structures.
I accept that the chief executive is far from perfect. However, we should focus attention now on his efforts to alleviate poverty in the city.
All citizens now need to focus on the social issues that are important in Hong Kong.
Connie Siu, Lam Tin