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Letters to Editors

2014.02.13   Management of Public Open Spaces by the LCSD

The Editor
South China Morning Post

Dear Editor,

I would like to respond to the letters by Helen Ma (“Public space abused for private profit”, December 28, 2013) and Frank Lee (“Pleasant sitting-out area has gone”, January 7, 2014) regarding the management of public open spaces by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD).

The Kennedy Road Playground is adjacent to a private redevelopment project on Kennedy Road. In view of their close proximity, the basketball court was temporarily closed from December 2, 2013 to January 2, 2014 as a precautionary measure to guard against potential danger that might be posed to the public by the project.

We appreciate that the basketball court is a popular community facility. We had been monitoring the project’s progress closely and arranged to reopen the court in half from December 24, 2013. It was then fully reopened as scheduled on January 3, 2014.

The Southorn Playground will be affected by the construction of a new subway under it. The new subway will link the MTR Wan Chai Station’s concourse to the basement level of the Urban Renewal Authority’s H15 project to improve pedestrian connectivity. To minimize disruption of public services, we have worked with the MTR Corporation so that three basketball courts will remain open at any one time throughout the works period from February 2014 to November 2016. All affected facilities will be reinstated and returned to the Department after the completion of the works.

As for the Amoy Street Sitting-out Area which has been temporarily closed since July 2013 to facilitate the H15 project, upon the project’s completion by January 2015, the area will be re-provisioned with new facilities and returned to the Department. It will not become an entrance and exit for the subway.

In the course of planning for the above projects, the local District Councils have been consulted and briefed on their impact on the provision of facilities, as well as the mitigation and re-provisioning arrangements. Both Central and Western and Wan Chai District Councils supported the projects after giving due consideration to all relevant factors including public safety and the resulting community benefits.

We will continue to work closely with the project proponents with a view to minimizing the disturbance and inconvenience caused to the users of the public open spaces.

Olivia Chan
Assistant Director (Leisure Services) 2
Leisure and Cultural Services Department

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