The Tai Po District Council has approved the construction of a performance venue in Lam Tsuen despite vigorous opposition from the pan-democratic camp, Apple Daily reported on Friday.
The HK$52 million project includes a covered stage, street stalls and parking spaces near two tourist attractions, the Wishing Trees and the Tin Hau temple.
When a sketch of the proposed venue was made public in mid-August, many local netizens registered their disapproval of the design, saying it is ugly and resembles Tiananmen Square.
Labor Party district councilor Steven Kwok Wing-kin questioned the benefits of the project, saying the money could be better spent for the welfare of local residents.
But a government official present in the council meeting said about a dozen events are held in Lam Tsuen each year, including “Poon Choi” or Big Bowl Feast, during which food is served to the underprivileged.
After the project is completed, events in the district could reach 30 a year and draw more tourists to the benefit of the local community, the official said.
District councilor Kwan Wing-yip of the Neo Democrats voiced fears that the project could go over the budget, and called for a public consultation to gather the views of concerned parties.
However, with only four district councilors from the pan-democratic camp supporting the call, the motion did not pass.
The next step is to get funding from the Legislative Council.
The money comes from a HK$100 million allocation for each of the 18 districts announced by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in his 2013 policy address.
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