Wan Chai District Council was right to reject Hong Kong Stadium plans that lack details
- The government has a bad habit of pitching plans to district boards without accurate details, and this proposal looks especially questionable
I refer to “Plan to redevelop Hong Kong Stadium fails to win backing” (January 9). I congratulate the Wan Chai district councillors for refusing to rubber-stamp a plan that was so lacking in concrete detail. Alarmingly, this approach appears to be modus operandi for the government when presenting projects to district boards. I can count six such projects where insufficient and misleading information was provided to members when lobbying for District Council support – Lee Tung Street subway, Hillside Terrace redevelopment, Hopewell Centre Phase II, Ship Street playground, Kennedy Road improvement works and Lockhart Road playground redevelopment.
If officials convince district councillors to endorse their “conceptual” plans “in principle”, the official line becomes that the community has already fully supported their scheme. This is an abuse of process, and it is irresponsible for public officials to deal in misrepresentation, especially when a benefit for private developers is involved. I strongly doubt that this is only a Wan Chai matter.
A councillor raised the question of a “hidden agenda” where the Hong Kong Stadium redevelopment is linked to the redevelopment of the prime waterfront site of the Wan Chai Sports Ground for an extension to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. It is well known that developers have coveted this sports ground for a long time. It would seem the government intends to duplicate the facilities currently available at the sports grounds into the stadium plan, and that officials plan that the new Kai Tak Sports Park will render the stadium obsolete.
Is it pure coincidence that a subsidiary of developer New World was recently appointed to design, build and run the Kai Tak Sports Park? It may be noteworthy that New World also operate the Convention and Exhibition Centre and that a former secretary for development has recently been appointed as an executive director. Despite the official denials, there appear to be many dots that could be joined.
Roger Emmerton, Wan Chai