In response to media enquiries today (December 10) about the usage of Victoria Park, a spokesman for the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) stated the following:
The LCSD has all along strived to balance the needs of different park users and to reserve sufficient venues and sessions for recreational and sports uses.
The usage of the Victoria Park for holding large-scale events has been thoroughly discussed at Eastern District Council (EDC) meetings many times. It has been agreed that the non-designated use of the soccer pitches at the Victoria Park should be limited to not more than half of the total hours available for booking in a year; and the LCSD has all along been following that arrangement. For 2010, the booking of the soccer pitches at the park for non-designated use is less than half of the total hours available for booking in the year.
Situated in an easily accessible area, Victoria Park is one of the few urban venues that can provide enough space for hosting large-scale events. Most of these events are territory-wide and organised by non-profit or non-government organisations, and have become popular annual events patronised by families. Examples include the Hong Kong Flower Show, the Hong Kong Marathon and the Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo, which are well received in the community.
Apart from the six soccer pitches and four basketball courts which are usually used for large-scale events, a large part of Victoria Park, including the central lawn, landscaped areas, children play areas, bowling greens and the South Pavilion Plaza are open to the public all year round.
The LCSD has been handling the applications for non-designated use of Victoria Park in a diligent manner. In handling applications for activities of non-designated use, the department takes into account a number of factors, including the area to be booked, the duration, purpose and nature of the activity, the benefits it may bring to the public, the inconvenience that it may cause to other users, and so forth. Residents nearby and District Council members concerned are consulted through the Home Affairs Department, and views from relevant government departments will also be sought.
The LCSD attaches great importance to hygiene at Victoria Park, including mosquito prevention. Mosquito larvicidal oil is applied near the drains on a weekly basis. Each year from April to October, the department will also engage a pest control company to apply chemicals every three weeks to contain the breeding of mosquitoes and insects. In addition, a total of 17 mosquito traps have been installed at different locations in the park. According to the latest area ovitrap index, Victoria Park does not have a serious mosquito problem.
As regards the swimming pool at Victoria Park, it has always been a highly popular facility with a high utilisation rate. Owing to the fact that the pool was constructed more than half a century ago, there is a genuine need for redevelopment to upgrade its facilities so as to provide the residents in Eastern District and Hong Kong with better services.
On the ongoing redevelopment of the swimming pool complex, the LCSD consulted the EDC on the scope and design for the redeveloped swimming pool and received strong support from EDC members before its implementation. The department also organised a public consultation session on the project, during which positive feedback from the public was received.
The redevelopment of the swimming pool complex commenced in August 2009 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2012. The new pool complex will occupy an area of similar size to that of the existing pools. Upon the completion of the new pool complex, the existing pool will be demolished for reprovisioning of the roller skating rink, a handball court and landscaped areas. In this regard, the total open space in the Victoria Park will not be reduced as a result of the swimming pool redevelopment project.
The LCSD understands that inconvenience may be caused to some members of the public when large-scale activities are held at Victoria Park. The department will strive to provide access from Tin Hau to Causeway Bay during large-scale events. The LCSD will also continue to maintain close liaison with the EDC, the local residents and park users, so as to strike a balance among competing needs and provide quality services to the public.
Ends/Friday, December 10, 2010