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CS'transcript on West Kowloon Cultural District Development

Following is the transcript of remarks (English portion) by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Rafael Hui, at a media session on the West Kowloon Cultural District Development at the West Wing lobby, Central Government Offices this (February 21) afternoon:

Reporter: What were the factors do you believe that brought this project to its knees eventually, and how much of a delay are we talking about if it is to be repackaged, and what gives you confidence that the next time around you will win both the support of developers and the public?

Chief Secretary for Administration: First of all, the project is far from on its knees. The project, in fact, is up and running. The reason is very simple - only the IFP process cannot be continued. The development of West Kowloon into a world class cultural, entertainment and tourist regional centre, is very much alive. That is the reason why we are continuing with confirming the core arts facilities. We are also in the process of preparing for the stage where a statutory body will take over from the Government in developing that particular part of Hong Kong. So it is in fact not on its knees, delayed. I don't think, in reality, there is going to be any delay because had we continued with the IFP process by further negotiating with the three proponents, that, I think will inevitably take a lot of time. Now that this process has drawn to an end, in fact it gives the Government a greater degree of flexibility and scope to determine not only the core facilities but also, more important, a wider choice of financing options, and therefore at the end of the day you may find the entire so-called timetable is shorter than the original IFP. Now, by September, I don't think there is any difficulty in confirming the core facilities and then, thereafter, we are into the process of making preparations for the setting up of the statutory body. In fact, this is shorter than the original intended timetable that we had under IFP.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Issued at HKT 19:34

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