Leisure Services

Recreational and Sports Facilities

The sports facilities and other amenities in Hong Kong's 18 districts comprise 41 gazetted beaches, 37 swimming pools, two outdoor stadia (Hong Kong Stadium and Mong Kok Stadium), 46 natural turf pitches, 25 artificial turf pitches, 233 hard-surface soccer pitches, two hockey pitches, two rugby pitches, 88 sports centres, 294 squash courts, 24 sports grounds, 260 tennis courts, four golf driving ranges, five water sports centres, four holiday camps, 24 major parks and 680 children's playgrounds. These leisure facilities cover a total area of 2 343 hectares.

Parks

The LCSD manages 1 504 parks and gardens of different sizes, including the following major parks.

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Yuen Po Street Bird Garden, built as part of the Argyle Street/Shanghai Street redevelopment project, preserves the characteristics and spirit of the Bird Street.
Hong Kong Park

Hong Kong Park, which covers an area of 8.16 hectares, was officially opened in May 1991 on the former Victoria Barracks garrison site. The Park's major facilities include an aviary, a conservatory, a vantage point, an Olympic Square, a squash centre, a sports centre, a children's playground and a restaurant.

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Hong Kong Park's artificial lake has been renovated with animal-shaped decorations added to the newly built rocky shore.

The aviary is designed to simulate a tropical rainforest and is home to about 600 birds of 90 different species. Several of these species successfully reared broods during the year, namely, the Maroon-breasted Crowned Pigeon, the Yellow-faced Mynah, the Bali Mynah and the Rainbow Lorikeet.

The conservatory comprises a Display Plant House, a Dry Plant House and a Humid Plant House with environmental controls that simulate different climatic conditions for plants from arid and tropical regions. To promote the Olympic spirit in 2008, colourful seasonal flowers and a set of Fuwa Mascot lanterns were displayed to dress up the park. Horse statues highlighting the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian Events hosted by Hong Kong were also on display. The Christmas floral art exhibition staged in December 2008 attracted an aggregate attendance of about 80 000 visitors.

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Fuwa Mascot Lanterns display on the turf area outside the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware to promote Olympism.
Victoria Park

Victoria Park, which is named after Queen Victoria and features a statue of her, was commissioned in October 1957. Open to the public for the past half century, this 19.3-hectare park remains one of the most popular parks in Hong Kong.

In addition to providing the public with a wonderful venue to meet its sporting and leisure needs, the Park is a popular location for community events, such as the annual Lunar New Year Fair, the Hong Kong Flower Show and the Mid-Autumn Lantern Festival, which attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

Kowloon Park

The 13.47-hectare Kowloon Park, which served as an encampment during the 1860s, was converted into a park in 1970. It was redeveloped by the former Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club and took its present form in 1989. Conveniently located in the centre of Tsim Sha Tsui, the Park is the largest in Kowloon and provides a wide array of indoor and outdoor recreational facilities, including a hard-surface soccer pitch, a sports centre and a swimming pool complex.

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Kowloon Park provides a full range of active and passive recreational facilities to the public.

Occupying an area of about three hectares, the Kowloon Park Swimming Pool has a maximum admission capacity of 1 469 swimmers, and the average annual attendance in the past three years exceeded 800 000. As one of the best-equipped swimming pools in Hong Kong, it is a major training and competition venue for many international aquatic events. After undergoing redevelopment, the Kowloon Park Swimming Pool was selected as a major venue for the aquatic events of the Hong Kong 2009 East Asian Games (EAG).

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Substantial renovation work was completed in 2008 to rejuvenate facilities of the Kowloon Park Swimming Pool to bring them up to current standards for holding international aquatic events, including the Hong Kong 2009 East Asian Games.

In addition to these opportunities for active physical exercise, the Park offers a number of gardens and walks. The Sculpture Walk features permanent and temporary displays by both local and overseas artists, including the Concept of Newton, a permanent sculpture by Eduardo Paolozzi. A 240-metre-long tree walk features 35 of Hong Kong's most common flowering species.

Another significant attraction is the landscaped bird lake and aviary with its collection of more than 100 flamingos and different kinds of birds.

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The colourful flamingos at the large landscaped Flamingo Pond are one of the main attractions of the Kowloon Park.

The Park hosts a number of major events throughout the year, including Kung Fu Corner and the Arts Fun Fair, which are held on Sundays and/or on public holidays. Regular bird watching activities are organised in the mornings to introduce the public to the common bird species found in the Park, and district-wide community events such as carnivals, outdoor exhibitions and entertainment events are regularly held at the piazza. These activities attract hundreds of thousands of locals and tourists.

Nan Lian Garden

Open to the public in 2006, Nan Lian Garden is 3.5 hectare in size and situated in the midst of urban hustle and bustle. The Garden, which was designed in the Tang Dynasty style, is a classical circulatory landscape garden based on the blueprints of Jiangshouju Garden in Shanxi Province. Thousands of trees and shrubs, including rare and precious species, are planted throughout the Garden, which also boasts rocks, hillocks and water features that blend harmoniously with timber structures in the Tang architectural style, such as pavilions, verandas and gates.

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Nan Lian Garden is a public park designed in the Tang Dynasty style and adorned with special wooden structures, old and valuable trees, and interesting rocks.
Tai Po Waterfront Park

The 22-hectare Tai Po Waterfront Park is the largest park managed by the LCSD.

The Park's 32-metre lookout tower affords visitors a panoramic view of Tolo Harbour and its surroundings, and LED lighting decoration was installed in January 2009 to enhance this landmark. Other facilities include a 1 000-metre-long promenade, an insect house, an amphitheatre, a central water feature, a sheltered viewing terrace, children's play areas, bowling greens, a gateball court and different theme gardens such as Floral Display, Scented Garden, Malvaceae Garden, Western Garden, Ecological Garden, Palm Garden and Herb Garden.

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Built to commemorate Hong Kong's return to the Mainland, Spiral Lookout Tower at the Tai Po Waterfront Park affords visitors a panoramic view of Tolo Harbour.
Tuen Mun Park

Tuen Mun Park was the first major park in the New Territories to provide a wide range of facilities. Phases I, II and III were opened to the public in 1985, 1988 and 1991, respectively.

Built on reclaimed land, this 12.5-hectare Park provides a mass of greenery, with more than 2 500 trees and 120 000 shrubs of various species for the enjoyment of Tuen Mun residents and visitors from all over the territory.

Its nearly one-hectare artificial lake is a popular spot, as is the Reptile House, which attracts annual patronage of more than 360 000, including 49 000 group visitors.

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Various valuable tortoise species are housed in the Reptile House in the Tuen Mun Park.

Other facilities include a water cascade, a model boat pool, an amphitheatre, a roller-skating rink, three children's playgrounds, a fast food kiosk, a conservation corner, one elderly sitting-out area, four pebble walking trails, pavilions and a multi-game area.

Yuen Long Park

Open to the public since early 1991, Yuen Long Park is located on 7.5 hectares of natural woodland with more than 1 000 trees, including two native Yanmin ------- large evergreen trees.

A hilltop pagoda features an aviary on its lower level and an upper level that serves as a viewing point for visitors. An exquisite ravine garden in the Park includes a small footbridge, a stream, an artificial lake and a cascade.

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Built on top of 30-metre-high Shui Ngau Ling hill, the aviary pagoda is the tallest structure in the vicinity and the landmark of the Yuen Long Park.

Other features include a Conservation Corner that promotes the conservation of wild birds, butterflies and dragonflies, a turf gateball court, football pitches, a children's playground, a fitness trail, two pebble walking trails and a fountain plaza.

Tin Sau Road Park

The 3.98-hectare Tin Sau Road Park was the first major park in the Tin Shui Wai North Area and offers a wide range of diversified leisure facilities. The Park was opened to the public in December 2008.

The Park comprises a seven-a-side football pitch, basketball courts, a volleyball court, a jogging track, fitness and elderly fitness stations, pebble walking trails, children's play areas, a multi-activity plaza, a children's gallery, water features and pavilions.

The northeast side of the Park is home to the Hong Kong Wetland Park, whose linear-shaped water features link up the facilities to form a theme and create a pleasant and attractive environment for visitors.

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The linear-shaped water features at the Tin Sau Road Park offer a pleasing environment to visitors.

Beaches and Swimming Pools

Swimming is one of the most popular summer pastimes in Hong Kong, with more than 22 million visits made to the beaches (10.57 million) and public swimming pools (11.84 million) managed by the Department in 2008-09.

To promote water sports safety, the Department co-organised a series of campaigns and activities in collaboration with the Hong Kong Life Saving Society and the other departments concerned.

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Lifeguards performing lifesaving demonstrations co-organised by the LCSD, the Hong Kong Life Saving Society and the other government departments concerned.

To keep Hong Kong's public swimming pools clean, a Charter on Swimming Pool Cleanliness, which is targeted at children aged 11 and below and their parents, continued during the year. This Charter, which features a cartoon piglet named McDull as its main character, was designed to publicise a cleanliness campaign, in which 139 primary schools and more than 196 000 participants joined in throughout the year.

Water Sports Centres and Holiday Camps

The LCSD manages five water sports centres (Chong Hing, Stanley Main Beach, St. Stephen's Beach, Tai Mei Tuk and Wong Shek) and four holiday camps (Lady MacLehose Holiday Village, Sai Kung Outdoor Recreation Centre, Tso Kung Tam Outdoor Recreation Centre and Lei Yue Mun Park and Holiday Village). During the year, 117 400 people participated in the water sports programmes offered at the former, and 580 271 people enjoyed the facilities at the latter. The Department also provides evening camp programmes to allow more people to enjoy camping facilities after office hours. Some 52 000 people took part in these programmes in 2008-09.

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The assembly hall at the Lei Yue Mun Park and Holiday Village offers a nice alternative to conventional wedding venues.

Hong Kong Stadium

Renowned for staging international events, Hong Kong Stadium has a maximum seating capacity of 40 000 and is the largest outdoor multi-purpose entertainment and sports venue in Hong Kong. To sustain the world-class services it offers to the community and to meet the requirements of the Hong Kong 2009 EAG, improvement works have been carried out in 2008-09. During the year, 37 events were held at the Stadium, attracting an aggregate audience of 397 000. The major events included the Extravaganza of Mainland Olympic Gold Medallists, the ANZ Hong Kong 2008 Bledisloe Cup, the Hong Kong Welcomes the Delegation of Shenzhou-7 Manned Space Mission Variety Show and the Hong Kong Sevens 2009.

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Hong Kong Stadium is designed and well-equipped to host a wide variety of sporting, entertainment, cultural, religious and community events.

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Mainland astronauts Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng (from the front vehicle to the back) waving to the audience at the Hong Kong Welcomes the Delegation of Shenzhou-7 Manned Space Mission Variety Show held at the Hong Kong Stadium.

Initiatives and Improvements in Venue Management

Work Improvement Teams

By the end of March 2009, 270 Work Improvement Teams had been set up in the district leisure venues to implement self-initiated and departmental improvements.

In view of the success of these Teams, the Department will continue to support them at all major leisure venues, including sports centres, swimming pools, beaches, parks and playgrounds.

Conversion of Underutilised Facilities

To meet local needs, three underutilised tennis courts at Shing Mun Valley Park have been converted into a five-a-side soccer pitch cum archery practice range.

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The underutilised tennis courts at the Shing Mun Valley Park have been converted to a five-a-side soccer pitch cum archery practice range to nurture sporting talent.

The Department will continue to explore the flexible conversion of underutilised sports facilities for other, more gainful uses to meet local needs.

Free Use Scheme

The Free Use Scheme aims to maximise the use of recreational facilities by allowing eligible organisations free access to the main arenas and activity rooms of all sports centres, squash courts, hockey pitches, outdoor bowling greens and obstacle golf course during non-peak hours. Eligible organisations include schools, National Sports Associations (NSAs), district sports associations and subvented non-governmental organisations.

LCSD Leisure Link

Leisure Link Services, which enable the public to book leisure facilities and enrol in community recreation and sports programmes online, over the telephone or at booking counters located throughout the territory, were launched in 2002. To further enhance the efficiency and quality of these booking services, and to tie in with the Government's promotion of electronic services, the Department also launched self-service kiosks in March 2008.

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A sports lover making use of one of the many Leisure Link Self-service Kiosks, a one-stop service installed at the LCSD's 47 venues, to book the Department's leisure facilities or enrol in one of its programmes.

These self-service kiosks allow members of the public to book leisure facilities or enrol in programmes simply and quickly by using their Smart Identity Cards and paying by Octopus cards. There are currently self-service kiosks at 47 LCSD venues, including nine on Hong Kong Island, 13 in Kowloon and 25 in the New Territories.

Counter service has been fully implemented at 151 recreational venues, enabling the public to book facilities, register and pay for recreational programmes and obtain advice and assistance on facility usage and sports programming at the same venue.

Facilities for NSAs
The Department provides 37 NSAs with National Squad Training Centres to train athletes. It is an arrangement that encourages these associations to use LCSD facilities and provides more training opportunities for national squads and athletes.
   
   
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