No reduction in size of Hong Kong’s cultural district park

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 September, 2016, 12:19am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 September, 2016, 9:29pm

I refer to the letter from Ken Wai of Hong Kong Alternatives (“Arts hub authority still dragging its feet over cultural green park”, September 1) regarding the park section of West Kowloon Cultural District.

There has been no reduction in the size of the park or open space within the cultural district since the Chief Executive in Council approved the development plan. As our chairman stated in her letter to these columns on August 6, 2014, the plan to provide a cultural green park in the cultural district is on track and has all along been a priority for the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. Indeed, we started the construction of the Art Park in July, fully in accordance with the development plan specifications. This will be completed in stages over the next two years. Our plan is to open the Art Park in phases as each section is completed so that the public may start to enjoy parts of it as soon as possible.

Mr Wai said that, “The board has talked about the financial unsustainability of operating such a park.” I do not know the source of this information but I can state categorically that he is mistaken. The chairman and board members are fully cognizant of the importance of the park and open space within the cultural district. Indeed, had there been any question over this issue, we would not have been able to secure approval to proceed with the construction of the Art Park in the first place.

As a point of clarification, I must make it clear that, as sections of the cultural district undergo development, it is necessary to close off certain areas for the sake of public safety. These closures, including information on access and egress points to the remaining areas, are clearly announced to the public, with regular updates on when each area is to be reopened.

We look forward to delivering the Art Park in its entirety as quickly as possible, but in the meantime, we continue to make available the temporary nursery park and will be resuming the popular Freespace Happening programme each month starting on September 11.

I hope that people will come along to enjoy an outdoor experience with music, literature, art and nature in the heart of the city. And if they bring their pets, they will be very welcome too.

Duncan Pescod, CEO, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority