April 11, 2007

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Way back in July 2005 we first looked at the Hong Kong Jockey Club's plans (and not-so-hidden agendas) for the staging of the equestrian events for the 2008 Olympics. Remebering the Jockey Club is not just the city's biggest taxpaer but it's de-facto welfare body as well, it isn't much of a surprise they get their way. The SCMP reports:

The Jockey Club looks set to keep 44,000 square metres of government land in Sha Tin after the equestrian events for the Beijing Olympics...The site has been proposed as home for the Games' stables and training facilities. The club is set to spend HK$800 million hosting the event.

It also needs the site as part of a plan to replace stable blocks that have been damaged because of "settlement" problems. The club's facilities were built on reclaimed land 30 years ago. The Home Affairs Bureau had expressed its intention to let the club claim the extra land after the event "to meet needs of the Sha Tin racecourse, to provide a legacy value to co-hosting an Olympic event and to avoid wastage, which would be the case if these brand new facilities were to be demolished", the government paper said.

The paper also said that the equestrian facilities would be welcomed by the international sports community. It said key stakeholders, including the Sports Institute's board and national sports associations, had no objection to the plan.

The deal is simple: the Jockey Club pays to run the Olympics event and in return gets chunks of land without having to go to public auction or pay a land premium.

Everyone's a winner, except the city's taxpayers.

The same HKJC this week is also dealing with a massive outbreak of horse herpes. Let's not forget Beijing chose Hong Kong to host the equestrian events because it is better set up to deal with quarantine issues. And what were all those horses doing to get herpes?

posted by Simon on 04.11.07 at 08:49 AM in the China Olympics category.


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What else is new? I wouldn't be surprised if after the Olympics the Jockey Club became another "public" developer just like the URA, MTRC or KCRC!!

posted by: Legolas on 04.12.07 at 12:57 AM [permalink]

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