February 22, 2006

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It takes quite an effort to not only annoy the citizens of this town, but the property developers as well. The government has gone back to the drawing board on the West Kowloon cultural district, having realised they can't even please some of the people some of the time with the tortured process this development has taken to date. The answer to appoint a "high powered" committee to again assess what facilities are needed, which makes one wonder what the government has been doing until now if it just realised the need for such a body.

Is it mildly embarrassing that a large chunk of reclaimed land sits idle in such a prominent harbourfront position? Will some bright spark now propose that Kai Tak become the new cultural district, the government ditch the Tamar proposal and turn it into the West Kowloon government district? Or will even more dangerous ideas take hold, such as turning West Kowloon into a Central Park style oasis in the middle of a congested and polluted city?

No, Hong Kong quivers in anticipation with how the government will turn West Kowloon into even more of a gift to property developers. The developers have spent an estimated HK$300 million on West Kowloon so far - and they aren't stupid businesses. They spent the money in the hope of far greater returns and that hasn't gone away, even if the structure of the proposals will change. In the interim, the city wonders what is the next white elephant on the government's plate? The government's DNA contains a boondoggle gene and it is a dominant one.


Expressing itself quickly, the boondoggle gene forces to Henry Tang propose a gold warehouse at the airport in today's budget. Fort Knox at Chek Lap Kok.

posted by Simon on 02.22.06 at 09:25 AM in the Hong Kong category.


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