Thank you for the great Sunday Morning Post piece on November 26, headlined, 'Disharmony in Disco Bay'.
The extensive interview with City Management general manager Edward Chan provides a lot of fodder for me to take issue with, but I'll concentrate on two issues: the management fees and the ferry fares in Discovery Bay.
The $1.13 per square foot that Mr Chan quotes for management fees is not the average. In fact, the management fee for some villages is substantially more, but that isn't the main issue.
Mr Chan left out some pertinent details such as the fact that the management fees do not include the cost of internal shuttle buses (average cost per couple per month: $350), residents' club fee ($600 per couple) and a once-every-seven-years building-maintenance contribution (average monthly cost: $250 - an estimate on the low side), totalling an extra $1,200 per month in addition to the management fee. In other estates, such charges are for the most part included in the management fees.
Once all that is factored in, Discovery Bay management fees are probably right up there with some of the highest in Hong Kong.
If anything, the enormous $100 million surplus Mr Chan boasts of indicates that the management fees are still far higher than necessary, and the fact that he admits to the management company having made illegal investments with it indicates that the company cannot be relied on to manage our money prudently. An argument can be made to gradually reduce this surplus by reducing management fees.
Existing Discovery Bay ferry fares to and from Central cost a working couple a further $2,220 per month ($1,110 per 25 round trips) and Hong Kong Resort recently applied for a further 6.8 per cent increase in these fares, despite a government freeze on an increase in fees for various government-supplied services.
All in all, the cost of living in Discovery Bay is far from cheap with nearly all the costs leading, one way or another, into the pockets of Hong Kong Resort or its many subsidiaries.