A popular Sai Wan Facebook community group will open an office which is to act as a “shadow district council” to monitor local affairs and organise district events.
The group “A Time of Change in Sai Wan”, which has almost 18,000 members, will take over the office of former district councillor Nelson Wong Kin-shing – now retired – on Chiu Kwong Street in Sai Ying Pun on New Year’s Day.
The office will be run by the group’s administrator Tai Ngai-lung, district election candidates Edward Lau Wai-tak, Ng Wing-tak and Sam Yip Kam-lung of Island West Dynamic movement, Cheung Kai-yin of the Democratic Party, as well as two more members who organised live football match screenings in Sai Wan.
“This is a new experience for community autonomy,” Tai said in a Facebook post.
“We do not want it to be like the office of a traditional district councillor, merely providing service in one direction. We hope the residents can truly own this office.”
Tai said that the office has three tasks. The first is to be a “shadow district council” to monitor the agendas of the Central & Western district council, the second is to analyse the results and the third is report these to the residents.
The office will call residents’ assemblies to discuss issues and invite government officials to talk. It will also host events for the community, some of which are already being planned.
Genuine community universal suffrage
Funding for the group comes partly from the HK$60,000 candidate election campaign expenses returned by the government. Tai said he hoped that local residents will be able to also provide HK$50 per month as members.
“The office will be open and owned by the members. We hope that in three years, members can elect an executive council of the office, to bring genuine universal suffrage to daily life from the community,” Tai added.
He said the current funding scheme will be able to support the office for six months, and it will need around 250 members during this period with a few more donations to balance the books.
The office will issue monthly financial and work reports in posts on its online page, at the office and on the Centre Street public boards.
A residents’ assembly will be called soon to discuss more, Tai added.