They fear the West Kowloon cultural project will turn into a property concern Lawmakers last night urged the government to review its policy of using land to subsidise commercially operated infrastructure projects, such as the West Kowloon Cultural District. The call came in a non-binding motion passed by a show of hands three days before bidding for the controversial project is due to close. Non-affiliated lawmaker Abraham Razack, who proposed the motion, compared the project to Cyberport - where a residential project was planned to support a hi-tech office development but has since been criticised for being mainly a property project. 'Even though the government denies it, the cultural district development is a property project,' Mr Razack said. Ip Kwok-him, of the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong, also urged the government to be cautious about development of the cultural district. 'Land is a precious resource. The DAB doesn't want to see the government selling land cheaply. It also doesn't want to see the cultural district turn into a property project,' he said. The massive project, with a giant canopy designed by Lord Norman Foster, will be built on 40 hectares of reclaimed land near Kowloon station. Some 29 per cent of the 7.3 million sq ft site will be set aside for arts and culture, and the rest is set for commercial and residential development and government facilities. Officials say the project will turn Hong Kong into Asia's cultural hub. The project will take a single-contract approach and the winner will design, build and operate the cultural district for 30 years - an approach that small developers say excludes them from competing. Artists and professionals have also expressed concern at the lack of consultation and say the project risks being turned into a 'developers' colony'. Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Michael Suen Ming-yeung insisted that the government would not subsidise the development of West Kowloon with land. The winning developer would have to pay a land premium, so 'the land is not a subsidy'. Mr Suen also quoted Article 7 of the Basic Law that says the city's land is state property - 'The government of the Special Administrative Region is responsible for their management, use and development and for their lease or grant to individuals, legal persons or organisations for use or development'. Liberal Party chairman James Tien Pei-chun said that by granting a massive project to a single developer, the government was putting itself in a risky situation. Democratic Party vice-chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan said that by subsiding development with land rather than public money, the government was bypassing the Legislative Council.