LCQ16: Provision of convention and exhibition facilities
Following is a question by the Hon Wu Chi-wai and a written reply by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, in the Legislative Council today (January 17):
In 2014, the Government commissioned a consultancy study on the demand for convention and exhibition (C&E) facilities in Hong Kong. The study report made a number of recommendations, including (i) the construction of a convention centre above the Exhibition Station of the Sha Tin to Central Link (SCL) (convention centre), (ii) construction of C&E facilities in Kai Tak, and (iii) expansion of AsiaWorld-Expo (AWE). In addition, the Government proposed, early last year on the ground that a new sports ground in the Kai Tak Sports Park would be completed in 2022, the demolition of the Wan Chai Sports Ground (WCSG) to make way for comprehensive development and provision of C&E facilities. However, the Government announced in October last year that it would give up the identified site at WCSG and instead demolish the three government buildings in Wan Chai to release the site for the development of C&E facilities. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the existing development parameters of the various phases of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC), including building height, plot ratio, actual and permissible floor areas, etc.; how HKCEC's current actual floor area compares with its permissible floor area; if HKCEC has room for expansion, whether the authorities have formulated expansion plans;
(2) of the development parameters of the project to construct a convention centre; whether it will construct the proposed convention centre in a way that the plot ratio is fully utilised; the latest progress of the design work of the convention centre; the expected time for announcing the details of the project;
(3) as the Government estimated in 2015 that the convention centre would provide 10 000 square metres of convention facilities, but the Government announced in the Policy Address delivered in October last year that the convention centre would provide 15 000 m2 of convention facilities, of the reasons for the increase in the estimated area of convention facilities;
(4) given that the existing floor area of the three government buildings in Wan Chai totals about 175 000 square metres, of the permissible floor area of the site concerned; according to the latest estimations, of the expected time for (i) vacation of the buildings, (ii) commencement of the demolition works of the buildings, (iii) completion of the construction works of C&E and related facilities, and (iv) completion of the entire development project; whether the Government will use the Build-Operate-Transfer approach, which was adopted for constructing HKCEC, or other options (please specify) in developing those facilities;
(5) since the authorities pointed out in a paper submitted to this Council in 2003 that Phase 2 development of AWE would commence when certain performance triggers (e.g. utilisation and cash flow parameters) had been met, of the details of those performance triggers; whether AWE has now met the performance triggers; if so, since when the performance triggers have been met; of the expected time for the Government to initiate the procedure for expanding AWE;
(6) as the Government has indicated that even if the various C&E facility development projects are completed on schedule, Hong Kong will still face the problem of insufficient C&E facilities during peak periods by 2028, of the respective areas of C&E facilities expected to be provided upon completion of those development projects and the projected shortfall in the area of C&E facilities in Hong Kong in 2028;
(7) whether the Government has, apart from taking forward the aforesaid C&E facility development projects, conducted any other planning studies or projects on the development of C&E facilities; if so, of the details; and
(8) given that the new sports ground in the Kai Tak Sports Park is expected to be completed in 2022, whether the Government will review the planning for the sites of the Hong Kong Coliseum in Hung Hom and in the surrounding areas with a view to developing new C&E facilities near the Coliseum and the Hung Hom MTR Station on the premise of no change to the existing use of those sites for recreation and sports facilities?
The convention and exhibition (C&E) industry plays an important role in promoting Hong Kong economy. Given that the existing dedicated C&E venues have been fully utilised during peak periods of C&E events, one of the important tasks of this term of Government is to expand new C&E venues to reinforce and enhance the international status of Hong Kong's C&E industry. Regarding the question raised by the Hon Wu Chi-wai, our reply is as follows.
(1) At present, Phase 1 and Phase 2 (including the Atrium Link Extension) of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) cover a site area of about 9.3 hectares and provide about 91 500 square metres of rentable C&E space. As HKCEC and other commercial facilities are already built on the site, and given HKCEC's extremely high utilisation rate and the numerous activities being held there, it is not feasible to expand C&E space on the site.
(2) and (3) The comprehensive development area above the Exhibition Station of the MTR Shatin to Central Link (SCL) covers a site area of about 1.6 hectares with a height restriction of 50 metres above Principal Datum. At the invitation of the Government, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council is working on the design of a new convention centre on the site. The latest estimate is that the comprehensive development area can provide:
(i) about 15 000 square metres of convention facilities;
We will consult the public on the project after completion of the design work.
(4) Redevelopment of the three government towers in Wan Chai North and the Kong Wan Fire Station into C&E facilities, hotel and offices involves amendments to the relevant outline zoning plan. The actual development scale can only be accurately estimated when the proposed amendments have been finalised. Our preliminary estimate is that the site can provide about 23 000 square metres of C&E facilities. The plan involves relocation of 29 government departments in the three government towers, the law courts and the Kong Wan Fire Station. Our current estimation is that the relocation could only be completed in the mid-2020s. The Government will proceed with the relocation in accordance with established procedures, with a view to vacating the sites of the three government towers in Wan Chai North and the Kong Wan Fire Station for development of C&E facilities and commercial premises as soon as possible. The Government will proceed with the project in an open and transparent manner.
(5) The AsiaWorld-Expo (AWE) located on the Airport Island currently provides about 70 000 square metres of rentable C&E space, and land has been reserved for further expansion. The Government will continue to discuss the expansion plan with the AWE board of directors. We need to take into consideration AWE Phase 1's C&E business and operation, as well as the economic benefits that could be brought about by developing Phase 2, supporting facilities, financial arrangements, etc.
(6) and (7) As mentioned above, we estimate that the topside of the Exhibition Station of the SCL will provide about 15 000 square metres of convention facilities, while the redevelopment of the sites of the three government towers in Wan Chai North and the Kong Wan Fire Station will provide about 23 000 square metres of C&E facilities. For the longer-term, when the reprovisioning of the Wan Chai Sports Ground is satisfactorily resolved, the site can be earmarked for further C&E development to reinforce and enhance Wan Chai North as a C&E hub in Asia. We will also continue to explore the feasibility of expanding other existing C&E facilities.
(8) In recent years, the demand for sports venues and facilities in Hong Kong has been increasing. The utilisation rate of the Hong Kong Coliseum has always been very high. Apart from hosting major sports events, it is also a popular venue for cultural and entertainment events such as pop concerts. Therefore, we will continue to operate the Hong Kong Coliseum and upgrade its facilities as appropriate so as to meet the demand of different users. At present, the Government has no plan to develop C&E facilities in the vicinity of the Hong Kong Coliseum and the MTR Hung Hom Station.
Ends/Wednesday, January 17, 2018