Having earned a city-wide reputation for sluggish progress since its first proposal in 1998, the effort behind the West Kowloon Cultural District is beginning to steadily forge ahead towards completion. A brief of the report here.
Photo: A view of the West Kowloon Cultural District from the WKCDA office in Tsim Tsa Tsui.
Chaired by Professor John Leong (梁智仁), the Consultation Panel of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) met for its 17th meeting yesterday. Responsible for reflecting public expectations and views to the Authority, the Panel was presented with a confident report on construction progress, management effectiveness, and culture programmes currently conducted in the West Kowloon Cultural District. A progress report from a new Working Group on Youth and Community Engagement was also presented, revealing limited success in youth outreach efforts.
Here are some key updates discussed in the meeting:
- The Xiqu Centre for Chinese opera and a majority of the park, including a Black Box theatre and an Arts Pavilion, are on track for its revised completion in 2016-2017.
- The WKCDA has collected 4,245 works for the M+ visual arts museum, of which 32% are from Hong Kong and 41% are from the Mainland. The museum is scheduled to be completed in late 2018 and opened in 2019.
- With the West Kowloon construction projects reaching 1 million man-hours yesterday, Duncan Prescod, former COO and current CEO of the WKCDA, praised the fact that there have been no construction accidents thus far, calling it a “big achievement”.
- A temporary Nursery Park featuring a 1000-tree nursery, lawn areas, performance space, and a cycling path on the existing Waterfront Promenade has been built for the public to enjoy during the construction of the main park. Opened in July, on 9 August the Nursery Park hosted the first Freespace Happening, a series of free outdoor entertainment events organized by the WKCDA, attracting over 10,000 people. Prescod said the event allowed the organisation to successfully test its management abilities by simultaneously running 5 to 6 activities.
- Interface issues have arisen with the MTR’s Express Rail Link (XRL) project, also being constructed alongside several WKCDA buildings. These issues include conflicts of access point usage and treatment of wastewater from construction sites. Delays in the XRL project have also delayed plans for WKCDA’s batch 3 projects located above the XRL station.
- The new Working Group on Youth and Community Engagement introduced two new programmes designed to encourage “co-creation” and “cultivate a sense of ownership towards the WKCD” in HK youth. Programmes include a cultural workshop and a 1-day “shadowing” opportunity for high school students involving 10-15 WKCDA executives. They will be held twice in the upcoming 2015-2016 academic year. However, a third programme engaging ex-interns of WKCDA, started in late July, has met little success.