The government has announced plans to consult the public over the revitalisation of Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui and stated that a proposed contract with the New World Development on the project would not be signed this year. The decision on Tuesday came amid a backlash from the public and criticism from the Harbourfront Commission.
Louis Ng Chi-wah of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) said at a commission meeting on Tuesday that the department would submit a public consultation plan within 10 days. He added that the proposed contract with a non-profit making subsidiary of New World Development—which would have put it in charge of the revitalisation—would not be signed in 2015. The works originally scheduled to commence in the fourth quarter of this year will therefore likely be postponed, Apple Daily reported.
However, Ng refused to comment on whether the decision was made in response to a judicial review filed last month by members of the public who were against the proposal, reported Oriental Daily.
LCSD and New World Development had submitted plans to revitalise the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui to the Town Planning Board, which were approved last month. However, the Kowloon, Tsuen Wan and Kwai Tsing’s Task Force on Harbourfront Developments were not previously consulted, which attracted criticism from the commission.
New World Development senior project manager Jeff Tung said that 90 per cent of some 500 respondents of a questionnaire conducted last year supported the revitalisation plan. However, members of the commission argued that it still did not constitute a public consultation and criticised New World Development for jump-starting the project.
District Councillor and Harbourfront Commission member Paul Zimmerman criticised the failure to consult the public. He said that the fact that New World Development chairman Henry Cheng Kar-shun is a supporter of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying meant that the decision to award the company with the contract did not look good to the public.
The Town Planning Board has received over 300 submissions of public feedback, 90 percent of which opposed plans for revitalisation, Apple Daily reported last month.
The LCSD’s decision came after the Town Planning Board approved New World Development’s controversial proposal to “revitalise” and “re-energise” the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront by building new facilities. The plan also proposed to close the promenade off for three years during the construction works.