Multi-purpose sports complex in Hong Kong still a dream as funding delayed

Wednesday, Apr 22, 2015

The dream remains just that for Hong Kong’s sports community as the building of a world-class sports complex at the former Kai Tak airport site failed to secure funding for its initial projects.

At the Legislative Council’s Public Works Subcommittee meeting this morning, no decision was made on whether the government could secure a HK$62.7 million sum for pre-construction work on the proposed Kai Tak multi-purpose sports complex.

The money was requested for a technical services consultancy to prepare technical specifications and conceptual drawings for the main work, a quantity surveying consultancy, ground investigation, utility mapping and topographic and tree surveys.

But committee members mainly focused on a long-term sports policy for Hong Kong, whether the proposed 50,000 seats for the main stadium was suitable, why the land should not instead instead be used for public housing and whether the complex would become a white elephant in Victoria Harbour.

The meeting was adjourned and will be discussed again on May 6, but if it is voted down after further deliberation, the next available date for resubmitting an application would be in November.

The entire project, which was first initiated in the 1990s, is expected to cost HK$25 billion, according to an estimate made in 2014, and is expected to be delivered in 2021.

The complex would feature a 50,000-seat multi-purpose stadium with a retractable roof for hosting major international events, a public multi-purpose sports ground with seating for at least 5,000 spectators – suitable for jogging, athletics training and soccer and rugby matches – and an indoor multi-purpose sports centre with seating for 4,000 spectators to accommodate sports such as basketball, volleyball, badminton, table tennis, judo, karate and wushu.

There would also be office space for national sports associations and related organisations, as well as international federations willing to set up their offices in Hong Kong.

It is not known whether the delay in securing initial funding will impact on the start of construction, while the future of the existing 40,000-seat Hong Kong Stadium will be reconsidered when the complex is built.

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