Following is a question by the Hon Sin Chung Kai and a reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (May 7):
Regarding facilities such as pedestrian passages, footbridges and open spaces managed by the land owners for public use ("public facilities") on private land, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) whether the Government has issued guidelines to private land owners on the management of public facilities, requiring them to put up legible notices at prominent places to inform the public of the exact boundaries, opening hours, enquiry telephone numbers, etc. of these public facilities; if it has, of the details of the guidelines; if not, whether it will issue such guidelines;
(b) whether it allows private land owners to let public facilities; if so, whether it has issued guidelines to them on the letting arrangements, prescribing such matters as permissible charge levels and whether applications from non-profit-making organisations should be given priority etc.; if it has not, whether it will issue such guidelines; and
(c) how the Government handles the letting of public facilities by private land owners at a charge the level of which exceeds that considered reasonable by the Government?
My reply to the three-part question is as follows:
(a) Public facilities provided within private developments are subject to the provisions in the leases and the Deeds of Dedication. Generally speaking, these provisions placed emphasis on the two parties to the contract, in terms of the rights and obligations in respect of construction, use, management and maintenance of such facilities.
To facilitate members of the public to use these public facilities within private developments, the Development Bureau (DEVB) has earlier on taken forward a number of measures, including the publication of detailed information related to these public facilities on the websites of the relevant Government departments. Currently, the information already published includes the Buildings Department (BD)'s list of 79 private developments with public passage dedicated for public use under the Deeds of Dedication and the Lands Department (LandsD)'s list on 152 private developments completed in or after 1997 with public facilities for public use.
The two departments have also issued letters to the owners of the above-mentioned private developments, advising the putting up of notices in prominent places, indicating those public facilities which are open for public use, as well as indicating clearly their locations and uses, opening hours, the organisations or persons responsible for management and maintenance of these facilities and their contact telephone numbers.
The above-mentioned advice to owners matches broadly with what the Hon Sin Chung-kai has asked, and DEVB will actively consider the appropriateness or otherwise of turning such advice into standard guidelines, to serve as reference for the owners of existing private developments and future developments.
(b) In general, under the provisions of the leases or the Deeds of Dedication, owners are required to allow members of the public to use these public facilities for lawful purposes without payment of any nature upon completion of these facilities. Hence, owners are not allowed to let out such facilities for profits or obstruct others from using these facilities. There are a few exceptions though, such as providing fee-paying public carparks under the leases, temporary exhibition and display that are allowed under the Deeds of Dedication, or a short term waiver has been obtained from LandsD, upon payment of the relevant fees to the Government, for certain uses other than the originally designated uses. Details of such private developments have already been clearly set out in the published information on the websites for perusal by the public.
(c) If owners act in breach of the provisions in the leases or the Deeds of Dedication, the Government will take appropriate action having regard to the actual circumstances of each case, including legal action.
Ends/Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Issued at HKT 16:36