Government responds to media reports on former campus of Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (Lee Wai Lee)

Concerning the request of the Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) to use the former campus of the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (Lee Wai Lee) at Renfrew Road, Kowloon Tong (ex-IVE(LWL) site) for the development of student hostels and a Chinese medicine teaching hospital, a Government spokesman gave the following response today (January 8):

"The Administration and the University Grants Committee (UGC) have all along been supporting UGC-funded institutions in the development of publicly-funded academic facilities and student hostels in accordance with well-established policies and calculation criteria. The Education Bureau (EDB), Development Bureau (DEVB) and Planning Department (PlanD) have been catering for such development needs of UGC-funded institutions including HKBU in accordance with established policies as far as possible.

As regards HKBU, apart from the Communication and Visual Arts Building completed earlier, HKBU has also been given approval to use public funding of $945.1 million and campus land for a campus development project to redevelop and construct new academic buildings to meet the needs arising from the implementation of new academic structure. Construction of the two new buildings has largely been completed and they have already been put to use, providing nearly 20 000 square metres of academic space. The Administration has implemented various measures, including the provision of additional facilities to the university, to meet its requirements for academic space.

Having considered the outstanding requirements for academic space and publicly-funded student hostels of HKBU under prevailing policies, EDB has decided to reserve the northern portion of the ex-IVE(LWL) site for higher education and ancillary use. In fact, HKBU has submitted a new hostel proposal to UGC, suggesting that new hostel blocks be constructed using part of the ex-IVE(LWL) site. The proposal is now being considered by UGC, which will submit its recommendations to the Administration in due course. If HKBU can make the best use of the northern portion of the site, it will be able to meet all its outstanding requirements for academic facilities and publicly-funded student hostels under prevailing policies.

For the southern portion of the ex-IVE(LWL) site, as it is beyond the requirements of HKBU under prevailing policies, EDB considers that there is no need to retain this portion for higher education use and has accordingly surrendered it for redeployment to ensure optimal use of valuable land resources to meet the development needs of Hong Kong.

In response to media reports that HKBU mentioned about the Administration’s support of its idea in developing a Chinese medicine teaching hospital at the ex-IVE(LWL) site, the Administration wishes to clarify the following: HKBU first put forward to the Food and Health Bureau (FHB) in 2009 a proposal to develop a Chinese medicine teaching hospital at the ex-IVE(LWL) site; HKBU subsequently informed FHB in 2011 that HKBU had found common ground with Tsim Sha Tsui District Kai Fong Welfare Association and suggested redeveloping part of the Association’s building in Tsim Sha Tsui for a Chinese medicine hospital. HKBU sent in detailed proposals to FHB for developing the site in Tsim Sha Tsui in November 2011 and September 2012 respectively. FHB and Department of Health are working closely together with HKBU to take the project forward.

The ex-IVE(LWL) site is zoned 'Government, Institution or Community' (GIC) on the Kowloon Tong Outline Zoning Plan. After assessment, the Government considered that the southern portion is not required for other GIC uses and is suitable for rezoning to residential use. PlanD submitted a proposal to the Town Planning Board (TPB) on December 21, 2012 to rezone the southern portion for residential use with a view to meeting housing needs. TPB has asked to further consider the Government's rationales for not using the southern portion for higher education uses and rezoning it for residential use. TPB will further consider the proposal after receiving information from the Government before making a decision on the rezoning proposal."

Ends/Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Issued at HKT 22:50