Following is a question by the Hon James To Kun-sun and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Mak Chai-kwong, in the Legislative Council today (July 11):
The Government seeks to increase land supply in order to stabilize real estate development, and it increases housing land supply by multitude means, including rezoning, redevelopment, land resumption, etc. It has been reported that the Planning Department has completed the second-phase review for rezoning 24 "Government, Institution or Community" (GIC) sites, and quite a number of them are undeveloped sites (including a site for a civic centre at Po Yap Road of Tseung Kwan O and a site for a stadium at On Luk Street of Ma On Shan) left over from the former Regional Council since 2000, which were intended for developing recreational and cultural facilities and have been left idle for more than 10 years. Such sites will be rezoned for residential development. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) whether there is a set of established procedures for the Government to plan land use for specific purposes, e.g. the construction of a stadium; why the aforesaid two sites in Tseung Kwan O and Ma On Shan which have been left idle for more than 10 years are still undeveloped;
(b) whether any GIC site in other districts had been left idle in a similar manner in the past 10 years; if so, of the details;
(c) given that the aforesaid reports pointed out that the site at On Luk Street of Ma On Shan, which was initially intended for the construction of a stadium, is now planned to be rezoned for residential development, whether the Government has any plan to identify another site for the construction of the stadium; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(d) given that the Financial Secretary mentioned in his blog that at present, approximately 60 hectares of industrial land throughout Hong Kong can be converted to non-industrial uses, half of which can be converted to residential uses and, among them, four government industrial sites will be used for public rental housing and Home Ownership Scheme developments, whether the Government will carry out planning for anxillary community facilities so as to transform such industrial areas into residential areas?
The Government is committed to adopting a multi-pronged approach to expand land resources with a view to building up a land reserve for Hong Kong to meet the land demand for housing and other social and economic developments. In this connection, we have to adopt a flexible mix of land supply options in order to provide adequate usable land to meet our short, medium and long term needs. The 2011-12 Policy Address put forward six measures, including releasing industrial land; exploring the option of reclamation on an appropriate scale outside Victoria Harbour; exploring the use of rock caverns to reprovision suitable existing public facilities and releasing such sites for housing development; looking into the use of green belt areas that are devegetated, deserted or formed; exploring the possibility of converting into housing land some agricultural land in North District and Yuen Long currently used mainly for industrial purposes or temporary storage, or which is deserted and examining "Government, Institution or Community" (GIC) sites.
Regarding the review of GIC sites, the Planning Department (PlanD) has completed the relevant work and will follow up on those sites with potential for residential development. However, the sites mentioned in the question, namely the sites at Po Yap Road of Tseung Kwan O and On Luk Street of Ma On Shan, are not among the sites being regarded as having such potential. These two sites have been reserved for use as a civic centre and a sports centre respectively and there is no plan to rezone them for residential development. Should the Government intend to rezone any land, it will consult the public in accordance with established procedures.
My reply to the four-part question is as follows:
(a) According to the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines, general community facilities are provided on the basis of population size, while the needs of government departments and local factors will also be taken into account in the provision of specific facilities, thus ensuring an adequate provision of a wide range of community facilities for the local community.
Since its establishment in 2000, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) has been following up on about 140 leisure and cultural facility projects of the former Municipal Councils. LCSD has been consulting the District Councils on the priorities of these projects having regard to various major factors, such as population growth, the provision and demand for leisure facilities as well as their utilisation in the respective districts, and carrying out planning works for the priority projects.
As mentioned in the preamble, the Government has no plan to rezone the two sites mentioned in the question, namely the sites at Po Yap Road of Tseung Kwan O and On Luk Street of Ma On Shan, for residential development. As far as Tseung Kwan O District is concerned, there are six community halls/community centres at present, including the new Hang Hau Community Hall which has just been come into operation last month. They can be used for small-scale performances. Besides, the indoor velodrome-cum-sports centre under construction in Area 45, Tseung Kwan O will have a seating capacity of 3 000, and will be equipped with a central multi-purpose arena for organising performing arts activities (such as dancing and concerts) or large-scale ceremonies and gatherings. The project is expected to be completed in 2013. The Hong Kong Design Institute campus in Tiu Keng Leng also provides an auditorium and lecture theatres, etc. for hire by outside organisations.
The Government will keep in view the requirement for cultural performance venues in Tseung Kwan O and will take this into consideration in planning the overall provision of cultural facilities in future.
Regarding Sha Tin District, LCSD is planning the projects with high priorities accorded by the District Council in order to meet the needs of the residents in the district (including Ma On Shan). At present, there are five sports centres in Sha Tin District, two of which are in Ma On Shan. LCSD is now seeking funding approval from the Legislative Council for the project in Area 14B, Sha Tin, which will provide a sports centre and a district library. Once funding approval has been obtained, LCSD will commence the project as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the sports centre in Area 24D, Sha Tin and that at On Luk Street, Ma On Shan are also under planning by LCSD.
(b) Regarding GIC sites reserved for specific purposes in other districts, these sites are reserved for other policy bureaux/departments and we do not have information on the period for which they have been vacant. Nevertheless, we regularly review with the policy bureaux/departments concerned on their needs for the sites reserved for them so as to prevent prolonged under-utilisation of land being reserved but do not yet have specific development plans. If the originally proposed facilities are no longer needed, or if they can be co-located with other GIC facilities in the same complex, the Government will consider rezoning the site for other uses, including housing development.
On the other hand, if the reserved land is still needed for the proposed facilities, the policy bureaux/departments concerned will, under normal circumstances, determine the schedules for developing such facilities having regard to the demand for such facilities; the demographic changes within the district; the funding resources required for construction and operation of such facilities as well as their priorities. If the land concerned is not needed for immediate use, the Lands Department will consider and arrange temporary uses in order to optimise the use of land resources.
(c) As there is no plan to rezone for residential development the site reserved for the construction of a sports centre at On Luk Street of Ma On Shan, it is not necessary for the Government to identify another site for the construction of the said sports centre.
(d) In rezoning industrial land for residential use, the PlanD will make reference to the requirements of the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines to assess whether the infrastructural and community facilities as well as open space within the district are adequate when the population increases. We will closely monitor the situation in the districts concerned. Where necessary, we will propose to incorporate the required facilities into any planned public rental housing or Home Ownership Scheme developments, or identify suitable sites in the district for the provision of such facilities in order to cater for the needs of local residents.
Ends/Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Issued at HKT 14:31