image

Kai Tak Sports Park

HK$32 billion Kai Tak Sports Park project attracts more bidders than expected

Home affairs chief says out of six, three to be shortlisted to create a design before the government picks the winner

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 August, 2017, 3:40pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 August, 2017, 11:39pm

The long-awaited sports park project at the site of the former Kai Tak airport has attracted six bidders, which is better than expected, according to the Hong Kong government.

In June, the city’s legislature granted cash for the HK$31.9 billion complex even as critics raised concerns over its pro-business financial arrangements, and the possibility of it becoming a white elephant.

Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah, speaking on a radio programme on Saturday morning, revealed that the project received six bidders by the July deadline.

“It was more than what we had expected. We will choose three among the six as truly competitive bidders,” Lau said, adding that the number showed the bidders had confidence in the project.

The final three bidders will be given half a year to design the project, according to Lau, with the winner expected to start work in the middle of next year and finish within the current government term ending in 2022. The two runner-ups would be compensated HK$60 million each, an issue which has been a sticking point with the pan-democratic camp.

Lau said he had three hopes for the project: “First, we hope it would not turn into a white elephant. It will host many competitions and activities. Second, we want it to be sustainable … and [third, we hope] the public could really enjoy it.”

The 28 hectare complex will include a 50,000-seat stadium, a 10,000-seat indoor arena, a 5,000-seat community sports ground, shopping areas and a “dining cove”.

Taxpayers will foot the construction bill, and the winning bidder will be responsible for designing, building and operating the sports complex under a 25-year contract.

Lau said Pak Shek at Sha Tin would be developed as the next sports complex. He said the Home Affairs Bureau would also work with schools and different sports associations to provide more training sites for talented young athletes.

So far, around 100 schools were interested in opening up their sports ground during the weekends for use by sports associations, Lau added.

Hong Kong sports community hands in petition to lawmakers as funding argument over controversial HK$32b Kai Tak Sports Park reaches crunch time

The home affairs secretary said that the government was planning to invite young people to join the administration’s consultative committees through open recruitment.

He did not provide further details on the committees, saying only that the recruitment would be launched within the year.

Asked if he would invite young people from the pan-democratic camp, he said the recruitment would be open to all without prejudice.

“We hope that different young people can also participate. In fact, young people should not be labelled. We also hope that different youngsters can utilise their strengths and express their voices,” he said after the radio programme.