Following is a question by the Hon Ho Chung-tai and a written reply by the Secretary for Planning and Lands, Mr John C Tsang, in the Legislative Council today (January 30):
The Hongkong Winter Carnival was held on a site adjacent to the Hung Hom Ferry Pier from December 8, 2001 to January 13, 2002. It has been reported that a number of patrons complained that as the site is a sand ground, even a light breeze would churn up a cloud of dust and some patrons felt so uncomfortable that they had to leave early. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) whether it knows the number of complaints received by the organiser about the site being dusty;
(b) of the grounds on which the Lands Department granted approval to lease the sand ground for use as venue for a carnival; and
(c) whether some formation work will be carried out for a site on which a carnival will be held prior to handing it over to the organiser, so as to avoid the recurrence of similar incidents?
(a) The organiser had advised us that they had not received any complaint about the site being dusty. Following the coverage of this issue in the press, the Lands Department approached the organiser to explore the possibility of installing further mitigating measures. The organiser was receptive to the idea and in consultation with the Environmental Protection Department, the organiser carpeted the entire site with artificial turf to reduce the dust nuisance.
(b) The Lands Department is responsible, among other things, for the management of Government land, and it is normal practice for us to put to beneficial short term use vacant Government lots whilst awaiting their long term development. In the present case, Lands Department received a proposal for use of a vacant site. As usual, Lands Department sought the views of departments concerned on aspects relevant to their respective areas of responsibilities. The departments consulted included the Kowloon City District Office, the Environmental Protection Department, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, the Transport Department and the Tourism Commission. None of the departments objected to the proposal. The Lands Department then included the various departments' requirements in the tenancy conditions and granted a short term tenancy to the organiser.
(c) The Lands Department will, in consultation with relevant Government departments, include in future relevant conditions in similar tenancies requiring carnival organisers to take appropriate measures to ensure good site management and to minimise nuisance arising from their operations.
End/Wednesday, January 30, 2002