A public engagement exercise seeking to provide information and collect public views on the Kai Tak Sports Park began on Friday and will last till July 19. The sports park is set to be the largest in Hong Kong.
The public exercise includes the launch of a website, a roving exhibition at over 20 spots across the city, a survey questionnaire and District Council consultations.
A Home Affairs Bureau spokesperson called it the “most important Hong Kong sports infrastructure project of recent decades” and said it would serve as multi-purpose sports venue that could host major international events and allow athletes to compete at a home venue.
The current plans for the stadium, which will cover 28 hectares, were devised following a three-stage public participation programme from 2004 to 2006. The sports park’s key facilities include a stadium with a 50,000-seating capacity for sports and entertainment events, a sports ground that can hold 5,000, and an indoor sports arena that is roughly the size of 30 standard badminton courts.
It also will have a seven-hectare landscaped park with public facilities such as a children’s playground, a fitness area, a jogging track, a cycling track and outdoor sports courts, while retail, hotel and office spaces are also planned.
“We hope to apply for funding with the Legislative Council in 2017-2018. Currently we predict that it would take three to four years to complete the construction work,” Commissioner for Sports Yeung Tak-keung said on Friday.
Yeung said that when they applied to the LegCo last year, they estimated the cost of the project to be HK$25 billion – a figure based on an assessment from 2009, and then updated to reflect the latest changes in scale.
Yeung said that athletes had achieved good results in recent years and that Hong Kong’s sports culture is improving, thus the project would be beneficial to the public. He also said that the decision to develop sports facilities at Kai Tak was made around a decade ago and that the design of the park may change, but the project itself would not be easily abolished. However, he did not respond directly to questions as to whether this would be another “white elephant” project, Oriental Daily reported.