Provisional Legislative Council

PLC Paper No. CB(2)949
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)

Ref : CB2/PL/BCS

Provisional Legislative Council Panel on Broadcasting, Culture and Sport

Minutes of Meeting held on Friday, 2 January 1998 at 10:45 am in Conference Room A of the Legislative Council Building

Members Present :

Hon MOK Ying-fan (Chairman)
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Prof Hon NG Ching-fai
Hon Henry WU
Hon CHAN Choi-hi
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting

Members Absent :

Hon MA Fung-kwok (Deputy Chairman)
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, JP
Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen

Public Officers Attending :

Item II
Mrs Jenny WALLIS
Deputy Secretary (Culture & Sport) Broadcasting, Culture and Sport Bureau

Mr Alex YIP
Staff Officer (Heritage)

Broadcasting, Culture and Sport Bureau

Executive Secretary (Antiquities & Monuments)

Antiquities and Monuments Office
Broadcasting, Culture and Sport Bureau

Item III

Mrs Jenny WALLIS
Deputy Secretary (Culture & Sport)
Broadcasting, Culture and Sport Bureau

Mr Jonathan MCKINLEY
Principal Assistant Secretary (Recreation & Sport)
Broadcasting, Culture and Sport Bureau

Mrs Ava S Y NG
Assistant Director of Planning (Territorial & Sub-Regional)
Planning Department

Clerk in Attendance :

Mrs Constance LI
Chief Assistant Secretary (2) 2

Staff in Attendance :

Mr Colin CHUI
Senior Assistant Secretary (2) 2

I. Confirmation of minutes of meeting and matters arising

(PLC Paper No. CB(2)801)

The minutes of meeting held on 5 December 1997 were confirmed.

II. Preservation and conservation of archaeological sites

[Paper No. CB(2)784(01)]

2. At the invitation of the Chairman, Deputy Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport (Culture & Sport)(DSBCS) briefed members on the Administration's paper. The salient points of discussion between members and the Administration are set out in the following paragraphs.

Resources for heritage protection

3. On the resources for heritage protection, DSBCS said that, in 1997/98, the Government allocated some $20 million for the work in heritage protection and promotion of public awareness of Hong Kong's heritage. Private funds were also available from the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust, Hong Kong Jockey Club and private developers for rescue excavations. In 1995/96, about $8 million was available from private sources, and a larger amount was provided in 1997/98 primarily for the implementation of the Year of Heritage Project. It was estimated that about $4 million would be available from private sources in 1998/99.


Preservation of archaeological sites

4. In reply to a member, Executive Secretary (Antiquities & Monuments) (ES(A&M)) pointed out that preservation of archaeological sites might not be feasible in some development projects, for example, construction of the new airport at Chap Lap Kok had necessitated the obliteration of archaeological sites in the area. ES(A&M) said that the Antiquities and Monuments Office (AMO) maintained a record of archaeological sites in Hong Kong. Through a standing administrative arrangement with the planning, lands and works departments, all developments affecting archaeological sites were brought to the attention of the AMO at the planning stage. AMO would assess the impact of such development on the archaeological sites and seek to preserve them. If preservation proved to be infeasible and destruction was necessary, AMO would seek funding from the developers for conducting rescue excavations at these sites.

Rescue excavations

5. A member expressed concern that there might be insufficient resources for carrying out rescue excavation projects. He considered that the Government should adopt a proactive approach to conduct rescue excavations before re-development, for example, by setting up a permanent rescue team to deal with such excavations, and enlisting the assistance of outside experts.

6.In response, DSBCS explained that in line with international practice, the objective was to seek preservation of archaeological sites. If the sites were affected by development projects, and preservation was found not feasible, AMO would take appropriate mitigation measures including the conducting of rescue excavations prior to the re-development. In recent years, the Government had allocated more resources for heritage protection activities and education/publicity campaigns. ES(A&M) added that from 1996-97, an annual allocation of $750,000 had been made to AMO for conducting rescue excavations. AMO would request for an increased provision of $1.5 million from 1998-99 onwards.

7. On manpower resources, ES(A&M) said that the majority of rescue excavation projects was carried out by in-house resources of AMO. In 1997, as AMO was heavily committed to the implementation of the Year of Heritage Project, more rescue excavation projects had been contracted out. To cope with the increase in heritage protection activities, mainland as well as overseas excavation experts would be engaged, through the heritage exchange programme, to strengthen the manpower resources for rescue excavation projects.

Historical buildings

8.On the 3-tier grading system for protection of important monuments and buildings of historical significance (paragraph 11 of the Administration's paper), DSBCS said that these buildings were identified by AMO and rated by the Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB) based on the following classification -




buildings of outstanding merit,
which every effort should be made to preserve if possible


buildings of special merit


buildings of some merit

She said that a list of these buildings was regularly updated and circulated to all relevant departments, so that prior consultation with AMO and AAB was carried out before the implementation of any development or planning schemes which might affect these buildings. With regard to the classification criteria, ES(A&M) said that the list was compiled by AMO following site surveys conducted to assess the degree of historical significance of buildings which were regarded as having historical interest by academics and experts in tertiary institutions. In view of the rapid pace of development in recent years, DSBCS said that two territory-wide studies were being carried out to compile a comprehensive list of historical buildings and archaeological sites for the formulation of a long term strategy on cultural preservation and conservation.

9. A member expressed doubt on the effectiveness of the 3-tier grading system in the preservation of historical buildings, as the ratings were not binding on private developers. ES(A&M) said that the ratings were for internal reference only and did not have legal effect. The decision to preserve, relocate or demolish these buildings affected by redevelopment projects would rest with the developers concerned. Nevertheless, AMO maintained close liaison with private developers to seek to preserve the heritage. If preservation was not feasible, AMO would salvage maximum data and historical materials of these buildings before their demolition.

10. As regards the rating of the existing Hong Kong Museum of History (HKMH) in Kowloon Park, DSBCS said that the building had been rated as a Grade III building, and the Urban Services Department had been informed. Having declared interest as the chairman of the Provisional Urban Council (PUC) Museum Select Committee, the Chairman expressed disappointment over the lack of communication between PUC and AMO during the planning stage of the proposed Hong Kong Museum of Contemporary Art (HKMCA) project. He said that the Select Committee was not aware of the rating of HKMH, and had therefore wasted much time and resources on the design of HKMCA which would lead to the demolition of HKMH. It would seem necessary for the Select Committee to review its decision on the HKMCA in the light of this information.

Review of legislation

11. On the Administration's initiative to review the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance (the Ordinance) in 1998, DSBCS said that the existing Ordinance had been in place for some twenty years; the purpose of the review was to evaluate its effectiveness in preserving, protecting and promoting local cultural heritage. The Government was also reviewing the policy to identify areas requiring improvements and additional resources. In reply to a member, Staff Officer (Heritage) said that the proposed review would start in 1998, aiming at completion in one or two years. The review would take into consideration overseas experience in heritage protection, and the impact of other legislative changes such as the enactment of the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance in February 1997.

A member suggested that the Government should consider statutory protection and preservation of historical sites and buildings. The Chairman added that appropriate amendments should be made to the Ordinance in view of the rapid pace of urbanisation and increasing re-development activities. He also urged the Government to provide a concrete timetable and to enhance transparency of the review. The Administration noted these comments.

Education and publicity

12. The Chairman remarked that heritage education should start from primary education. In this connection, he suggested AMO to work with primary and secondary schools, and also the "Friends of Heritage" to organise talks and activities on heritage protection. The Administration noted the suggestion.

Promoting tourism

13. A member commented that the Government should learn from Singapore in heritage protection, as success in heritage protection could also promote tourism. ES(A&M) responded that the Government had made reference to the Singapore experience, by sending officials to study the heritage protection work in Singapore and inviting Singapore experts to speak at two of the three heritage conferences organised by AMO. He said that much efforts had been made in recent years to promote public interest in and access to local heritage. The opening of the Central and Western Heritage Trail and organisation of guided tours to archaeological and historical sites would also enhance public access to local heritage and promote tourism. AMO also published maps on heritage locations for distribution to members of the public, and copies were sent to the Hong Kong Tourist Association (HKTA) for distribution to tourists.

14. As more historical buildings would be demolished in the process of urban renewal, the Chairman suggested the Government to explore the possibility of preservation of entire historic areas, for example, preservation of all buildings and structures in a street. He also suggested that heritage of legendary figures like Cheung Po Chai be identified to provide more attractions to tourists. A member commented that plaques signifying important historical sites and buildings should be erected in other districts similar to those affixed along the Central and Western Heritage Trail. He also suggested setting up information kiosks on Hong Kong's heritage at the new airport. The Administration noted these suggestions Adm

III. New sports and recreational venue

[Paper No. CB(2)784(02)]

At the invitation of the Chairman, DSBCS briefed members on the Administration's paper. She said that there was a shortage of venue for international multi-sports events and training facilities for national sports associations. To address the problem, the Planning Department had commissioned a consultancy study on guidelines for providing leisure and recreational facilities, and three possible sites including the West Kowloon Reclamation Area had been provisionally reserved.

Members supported the proposal to develop a major new sports and recreational venue in Hong Kong. Noting that HKTA also planned to hold the EXPO in the West Kowloon Reclamation Area, a member asked the Administration to consider selecting a site suitable for both purposes to avoid duplication of resources. He said that the EXPO site could also be open to the public after the event. The Assistant Director of Planning (Territorial & Sub-Regional) (AD of P) responded that the EXPO was intended as a temporary use and the site tentatively identified for the purpose was not the stadium site. However, she agreed to convey the suggestion to the relevant parties for consideration. Consultation with the municipal councilsAdm

15. A member sought clarification on paragraph 11 of the Administration's paper regarding Planning Department's prior consultation with the provisional municipal councils on the consultancy findings. AD of P explained that there had been on-going consultation with municipal councils on the study, and preliminary study findings had been presented to the Provisional Urban Council and the Provisional Regional Council in October and November 1997 respectively. The final report would be submitted to the Committee on Planning and Land Development for endorsement in January 1998, and the municipal councils would be informed of the outcome. The endorsed guidelines would be published for public information.

Timetable for venue construction

16. A member stressed the urgency for Hong Kong to have a major sports venue to hold international sports events. He urged the Government to expedite the planning and construction of the new multi-sports venue and provide the Panel with the construction timetable. In response, DSBCS said that the Government would conduct a feasibility study on the site of the new sports venue as soon as possible after consultation with concerned parties. Initially, the Government hoped to start the feasibility study in mid-1998 which would take some months. On completion of the feasibility study, the Government would bid for public funds in the annual Resource Allocation Exercise. It was estimated that construction work could commence by late 2001.

17. Responding to a member's concern that venue users should be consulted on the design of the new sports venue, DSBCS advised that the Government would involve interested parties, including venue users such as the Sports Development Board, National sports Associations and HKTA, in the planning process.

18. The Chairman and some members emphasized that BCSB should ensure effective coordination among departments concerned to expedite project implementation. DSBCS assured members that the Government was responsible for the construction of major building projects and BCSB would be the project coordinator for the new sports venue under discussion. The Government would consider the construction approach and venue management in due course.

19. In concluding the discussion, the Chairman reiterated the Panel's concern that the Government should expedite the provision of a new major sports and recreational venue.

IV. Items for discussion at the next and future meeting

20. Members considered the list of discussion items and agreed that the following items be discussed at future meetings -

6 February 1998

  1. Progress on the review of the television environment in 1998.

  2. Policy on promotion of cultural activities.

21. Hon CHAN Choi-hi suggested discussion of the progress on Arts Policy Review at the March meeting.

22. The meeting ended at 12:10 pm.

Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
5 February 1998