Kai Tak sports hub shouldn't be broken up, consultants advise

Consultants advise against dividing planned complex into separate elements, lawmakers told, amid talk of putting stadium in Lantau

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 October, 2012, 3:17am

A consultancy study suggested a sports hub at Kai Tak should be built as a comprehensive complex instead of dividing it into separate elements, lawmakers heard yesterday.

This emerged amid reports suggesting that the government is looking to move the proposed HK$19 billion stadium to Sunny Bay on Lantau to make way for more flats in Kowloon City. Critics of the project say the need for more affordable housing is more urgent.

One lawmaker urged the government to roll out its plans as soon as possible to clear up confusion, and expressed worries that the project might not meet its 2018 deadline, when the sports hub is supposed to start running.

Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing said yesterday that an advisory report suggested "the most effective approach is to build a comprehensive sports complex on the site instead of dividing it into separate elements".

"We are now considering the findings of the consultancy in consultation with the Sports Commission," said Tsang in a written reply to a Legco question. "In view of the scale and complexity of the Kai Tak sports complex as well as the substantial investment involved, we will need to co-ordinate this project with other infrastructural projects within the Kai Tak development to work out the relevant project timetable."

Ma Fung-kwok, lawmaker for the sports, performing arts, culture and publication sector, said the study confirmed what the sports community had suggested. "When a sports complex is being built together, more synergy can be created. Such an effect could not be achieved if the facilities are scattered around [the city]," he said.

But he urged the government to be clear on whether the sports hub would be relocated away from Kai Tak and whether the facilities could be completed on schedule.

Tsang did not answer the question in his statement, while Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po yesterday refused to confirm or deny whether it would be moved.

The Kai Tak project aims to provide quality living with low density and open space in an urban node, accommodating 89,800 people. It would also be home to a world-class sports complex and cruise terminal.

The proposed sports complex will comprise a main stadium with a retractable roof and 45,000 seats, a secondary stadium with 5,000 seats, an indoor sports arena with 4,000 seats and other leisure and recreation facilities.

Michael Choi Ngai-min, a member of the Long Term Housing Strategy Steering Committee, yesterday said he expected the complex to be trimmed to make way for more residential space.