2008-09 was another busy year for the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD). A distinct highlight of the year was the Beijing 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the first Olympic and Paralympic Games ever held on Chinese soil. Hong Kong had the great honour of co-hosting the Equestrian Events. As an Olympic city, Hong Kong also organised various activities, such as Torch Relay and Live Sites to promote an Olympic atmosphere in the local community. My colleagues and I gained valuable experience through organising and participating in the events, and trust that many in Hong Kong enjoyed them.
We devoted great effort towards making preparations for the 5th East Asian Games (EAG) which will take place in Hong Kong from 5 to 13 December 2009. A completely new sports ground meeting today's highest standards for holding international athletics events was completed at Tseung Kwan O and 13 existing LCSD venues were upgraded to meet the requirements of the other competition events. These modern facilities would continue to serve members of the public well for many years to come after the EAG.
The 2nd Hong Kong Games also took place during 2008-09. Together with the 18 District Councils, we achieved another success in May 2009 and set a new record in terms of the number of sport events and participants. The Hong Kong Games not only helped to enhance public interest in sports, but also boosted the sporting atmosphere in the community in the run-up to the 5th EAG.
On the cultural services front, we turned a new page by enhancing the supportive environment for the sustainable development of the performing arts through launching the Venue Partnership Scheme from the second quarter of 2008. The scheme was fully implemented in April 2009, with 20 venue partners engaging in performances and activities in 11 LCSD-managed performing arts venues. Another marker of our continued endeavour to enrich Hong Kong's cultural life was the opening of new facilities during the year. Worthy of particular mention are the City Art Square at the Sha Tin Town Hall Plaza, the Black Box Theatre at Kwai Tsing Theatre and the Sai Kung Observatory at the Lady MacLehose Holiday Village.
The year also saw a positive development in our united front with District Councils in managing local facilities. More projects initiated by them were completed for enjoyment of the local community. The opening hours of over thirty public libraries were extended for the convenience of users starting from April 2009.
Let us take this opportunity to assure members of the public that all in LCSD would continue to work hard to provide quality services to enrich the life of our community!
Thomas Chow, JP
Director of Leisure and Cultural Services