Public engagement finale drew over 6,000 visitors in the first week

exhibitionBad weather did not deter thousands of participants, including residents, students, professionals - and those who care for the West Kowloon project by taking time to come by and see the proposed development plan based on Foster + Partners’ City Park design in an exhibition at Kowloon Park.

The exhibition that displays the master plan and the proposed Development Plan for the future West Kowloon Cultural District attracted more than 6,000 visitors (as of Oct 7th, Friday) in its first week amidst two typhoons.

Among the guests who made visit to the finale of the three-stage public engagement exercise were the new board chairman Stephen Lam Sui-luen and the former chairman Henry Tang Ying-yen.

Stephen Lam took up the post of Chief Secretary and visited the Heritage Discovery Centre, the exhibition venue inside Kowloon Park, after meeting staff of the Authority in our Gateway office.
Rounding off the first week was a series of presentations, including a couple of development plan gatherings for the public as well as workshops for arts and culture stakeholders, and a Town Hall Meeting for Yau Tsim Mong community leaders and  residents that facilitated the exchange of views with the public and stakeholders.

Themed as A Place for Everyone, the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority unveiled its plans of the arts and cultural facilities to be commissioned in phases starting from 2014. The Plan is based on the Foster + Partners’ City Park conceptual plan which earned enormous public support and was selected by the Board of WKCDA in March 2011 as the masterplan for the development of the district.

The conceptual plan has since been enhanced by incorporating public views and aspirations of stakeholders. In the past six months, the Authority has been working hard to incorporate certain desirable features from the other two conceptual plans favoured by the public, and work out in details about what goes in the first phase of development.

The Plan also reflects the WKCDA’s response to public views by relocating some of the core arts and cultural facilities, such as the Xiqu Centre and M+, as well as incorporating certain desirable features from the other two conceptual plans favoured by the public.

Part of the Great Park is expected to be commissioned in 2014-15, followed by the phased completion of arts and cultural facilities starting from 2015.  Xiqu Centre, Freespace, Outdoor Theatre and Centre for Contemporary Performance are scheduled between 2015 and 2017, to be followed by M+, Lyric Theatre, Medium Theatre and Music Centre between 2017 and 2020.

Subject to the availability of alternative funding, the Authority also planned to put up a 15,000-seat mega performance venue with a medium-sized exhibition centre and a Musical Theatre.

There will be four venues, Great Theatre, M+ Phase II, Medium Theatre II and Xiqu Small Theatre, scheduled to complete beyond 2020.

New board chairman Stephen Lam said the Authority would commence the process of putting this set of plans to the Town Planning Board for approval, promising the $21.6 billion voted by the Legislative Council to promote the development of West Kowloon will be put to good use and optimal funding purposes.

Chief Executive Officer Michael Lynch said, “In principles we are incredibly fortunate to have the ability to start this project and to know we would realise it over a period of times and to explore what the range of options to be funded.”

The Authority was in dialogue with government at the moment about some serious issues in regards to the contributions that the government would be making to infrastructure costs, a range of green initiatives, both on site itself and more broadly district wide, he said.

exhibition“We are looking for bond issuance, bank loans to fund the venues, ” said Mr Lynch, adding that the Authority is also exploring alternative sources of revenue, including sponsorship, naming rights, donations, and adopt effective costs planning and value engineering during the planning and detailed design stage.

Meanwhile, the Authority is making preparation to launch design competitions for certain signature buildings and facilities in the District, and organising arts and community activities at the site early next year to bring life to the District.

Don’t miss the chance to come by and have a glimpse at the future arts hub that will be a place for everyone. The exhibition ends on October 30th.