Task Force on Land Supply holds ninth meeting

The Task Force on Land Supply (Task Force) held its ninth meeting today (February 6). The meeting mainly discussed private recreational leases (PRL) and land-extensive recreation facilities.

The Task Force Chairman, Mr Stanley Wong, said the Task Force noted that there are currently a total of 66 PRL sites in Hong Kong. Amongst these, 39 sites have been granted to community organisations for operation in a "quasi-public" nature, while the remaining 27 sites are held by private sports clubs. The Government is currently conducting a comprehensive review of the PRL policy, and the sites held by private sports club are the focus of the review. The Task Force noted that in considering whether the private sports clubs should be allowed to continue to use the sites, the Government will take into account their respective contribution to attaining the sports policy objectives, viz, promoting sports in the community, supporting elite sports development, and promoting Hong Kong as a centre for major international sports events.

 Mr Wong said, "The Task Force agreed that the facilities operated by individual private sports clubs contribute to the sports development in Hong Kong, but what concerns the Task Force is whether or not those sites held by private sports club could be a feasible land supply option. From the perspective of increasing land supply, the Task Force expects to lead an objective and rational discussion in the community, instead of simply suggesting that all PRL sites should be used for housing development or should be retained altogether. The Task Force also hopes that the community can consider this issue from different perspectives, including the contribution of relevant private sports club to sports development; development constraints of the sites; whether or not the sites are supported by sufficient transport infrastructure; and the views of different stakeholders. If individual PRL sites possess considerable development potential while the existing use is beneficial to sports development, there may be a need to explore whether the existing facilities should be reprovisioned. As such, it is likely that the sites could only be released for other developments after some time."

Regarding the two preliminary proposals on developing the Fanling Golf Course for housing or other uses prepared by the Government's consultant, the "Partial Development Option" attempts to strike a balance between housing development and retaining the function of the golf course in holding international tournaments. On the other hand, the "Full Development Option" suggests that the entire golf course be used for development, and under this option, relevant considerations would include whether or not the golf course should be reprovisioned. Besides, significant infrastructure upgrade will be required to support such scale of development, hence a longer implementation timeframe. Whilst it will be challenging to build houses on a golf course, the Task Force believes that there is room to adjust the potential flat yield under the two development options, though this will entail implications for tree preservation and heritage conservation at the golf course, as well as provision of infrastructure.

Mr Wong supplemented, "Taking possible development of the Fanling Golf Course as an example, neither the Task Force nor the community is in a position to say which development option, or what development intensity, is more appropriate. Nevertheless, the preliminary view of the Task Force is that if the 'Partial Development Option' could strike a balance between the considerations for development and sports promotion, it could represent a possible land supply option in the short to medium term. In any event, this is just an example to illustrate that the community can discuss the future use of PRL sites from different perspectives."

On the other hand, the Task Force noted that there are currently 95 land- extensive recreation facilities managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, including sports grounds and stadium, parks, holiday camps, picnic areas and water sports centres, outdoor swimming pools and a recreation and sports centre. In considering the possibility of releasing these sites for alternative uses by relocating the recreation facilities, the Task Force noted that these sites are highly utilised and relocating these recreation facilities will affect the local residents. This notwithstanding, the Task Force considered that for optimising land resources, the possibility of relocating these facilities should not be ruled out if such relocation is not utterly unacceptable to the public.

The discussion paper of this meeting has been uploaded onto the Development Bureau's website (www.devb.gov.hk/en/boards_and_committees/task_force_on_land_supply/index.html).

Ends/Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Issued at HKT 22:23