• Sun
  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 2:17am
NewsHong Kong
PROPERTY

Audit Commission wants government to review leases of 17 elite clubs

Audit Commission suggests land belonging to exclusive clubhouses, which face lease renewals within coming years, could be put to better use

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 November, 2013, 3:27pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 November, 2013, 4:51am

The future of some of Hong Kong's best-known and most exclusive clubs is under scrutiny after the Audit Commission urged the government to consider taking back private clubhouses and putting the land to better use.

The Home Affairs Bureau asked in June to review 17 clubs whose leases were expiring soon - some next year - but the commission called for a timetable.

"As pointed out in the 2013 policy address, land shortage has seriously stifled social and economic development in Hong Kong," the commission said in its report released yesterday.

"It would appear that the Home Affairs Bureau, as the responsible policy bureau for private recreation leases, needs to work collaboratively with the Development Bureau to assess whether the leases due for renewal should be renewed."

Up for renewal next year are the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's premises in Sai Kung - one of its three clubhouses - and the Hong Kong Youth Hostels Association in Tai Po.

Others facing renewal in the next few years include the Jockey Club Beas River Lodge in Sheung Shui (2015), Mong Kok District Cultural Recreational and Sports Association (2018) and Hong Kong Golf Club in (2020).

The land was granted at a nominal or zero land premium and at low rents to promote sports in the community.

But the leases have been under scrutiny since 2010, when their transparency and the clubs' compliance with requirements to admit the public were called into question.

The commission also questioned yesterday whether the "prolonged hold-over arrangement" for the former Post Office and Cable & Wireless Recreation Club in Causeway Bay, now a staff club for PCCW, should continue. The club's lease expired in 1996, but is renewed quarterly.

The clubs, with membership ranging from 147 to 49,600, rarely opened their sports facilities for public use and some ran commercial activities, the commission said.

It blamed the bureau's lack of a clear definition of "recreation" for abuses. The Chinese Recreation Club, for example, has 15 mahjong rooms and a barber shop while the Hong Kong Football Club has massage rooms and eight restaurants.

 


Land leases of private recreation clubs to be renewed by government:

Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (Sai Kung) 2014

Hong Kong Youth Hostels Association (Tai Po) 2014

Hong Kong Girl Guides Association (Sheung Shui) 2015

Mong Kok District Cultural Recreational & Sports Association 2018

Hong Kong Golf Club (Fanling) 2020

Aberdeen Boat Club 2021

Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (Middle Island) 2021

Hong Kong Cricket Club 2023

Scout Association of Hong Kong (Yuen Long) 2024

Hong Kong Model Engineering Club 2024

Scout Association of Hong Kong (Tai Po) 2025

Yuen Long District Sports Association 2031

Hong Kong Jockey Club (Happy Valley) 2034

Directors of the Chinese Young Men’s Christian Association of Hong Kong 2047

Hong Kong Girl Guides Association (Ho Man Tin) 2056

Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (Kellett Island) 2056

The Post Office and Cable & Wireless Recreation Club renewed quarterly

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This article is now closed to comments

charlesyeomans
These clubs have been going for so long and are part of HK Fabric.
They all play a role in making HK what it is.
If the government doesn't see that the history is important and preservation of these clubs is needed then it is time to leave HK.
Compared with other countries we are pathetically short on clubs, we need more not less.
The policy to let in 50,000 immigrants a year without any thought of the strain it would take on housing, schooling, hospitals, road systems etc. was incredibly short sighted for a country (SAR) with limited space and a relatively small population.
sammckhk
Taking back the land used by the PCCW staff club in Causeway Bay is really not going to have much of an effect on land for housing. With its location it will be a site for luxury housing bought by speculators and mainlanders. Do we need another high rise for these types of people in Causeway Bay ?
Deal with all the land occupied by decaying industrial buildings in Kowloon first before moving to recreational lands.
Sugelanren
Expats? Didn't see that word anywhere in the article. I suspect that just like the ESF schools, the majority of members are local Hong Kongers!, although a few clubs might have expats in the majority
rpasea
I wonder if the 'sell-by date' for these facilities has been reached. Long gone are the colonial days when expats felt entitled to special treatment. Let's not tear these facilities down for housing but, rather, take the opportunity to open up green space and facilities for all members of the public to enjoy.
fsk999
They should not only review the leases but also their constitutions or articles as a few are being run by a small coterie of founding members with ordinary members denied voting rights or any control over how their joining or membership fees are spent.
pbhawk
spoken like a true colonial

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