Serial Responsible No. Subject Action Taken / Proposal / Request Department / Agency Yau Tsim Mong District Council (Meeting held on 1 March 2001) DC 1 Clearance of Goods and The representative of the Yau Tsim Mong District Office (YTMDO) reported on Articles which Encroach the progress of the clearance operation. The government departments concerned on Government Land in were discussing the traffic improvement measures and maintenance of roads at the the Vicinity of Fife Street captioned location after the clearance operation. They intended to meet in mid-March 2001 to study the details of the operation and to explain the relevant situation to the street traders, so that the operation could be mounted in a peaceful way. The representative of the YTMDO would report on the progress of the operation YTMDO at the next meeting. DC 2 Building Safety and The representative of the Planning and Lands Bureau (PLB) briefed District Timely Maintenance Councillors on the proposals (the Scheme) of the Task Force on Building Safety and Preventing Maintenance (the Task Force) in the areas of promoting timely maintenance, controlling advertisement signboards and tackling unauthorised building works. Concerning the promotion of timely maintenance, theTask Force proposed merging the existing two loan funds to provide financial Serial Responsible No. Subject Action Taken / Proposal / Request Department / Agency assistance with a wider coverage for the owners and owners’ corporations; providing technical, management and legal support; encouraging the setting up of maintenance reserve funds in buildings to cover future repair fees; requiring public liability insurance for common parts by the owners’ corporations and introducing a registration system to regulate professional building management companies. Concerning the control of advertisement signboards, the Task Force proposed proceeding with a self-financing signboard registration system and removing the unregistered signboards by the Buildings Department (BD); presenting a document indicating building owners’ consent by an applicant registering a new signboard; approving very large signboards by the BD and setting up a fund to cover fees for removing abandoned signboards. Concerning tackling unauthorised building works, the Task Force proposed launching continuously large-scale clearance operations; amending legislation to strengthen BD’s power in law enforcement and updating the level of penalties to act as a more powerful deterrent; stepping up the clearance of illegal rooftop structures; ceasing the collection of rates from new illegal rooftop structures; prohibiting the conveyancing and letting of illegal rooftop structures and encouraging owners to come forward for rating their buildings by professionals. The Task Force also encouraged partnering with the parties concerned including the owners and professionals, invited the District Councils to take an active part and proposed Serial Responsible No. Subject Action Taken / Proposal / Request Department / Agency implementing public education. District Councillors supported the Government in providing assistance for building owners and requested the Government to ensure that the loan fund could run effectively, for example, by streamlining the application procedures, setting up an appeal system and providing interest-free loans. The Head of the Task Force undertook to propose to the Legislative Council extending the coverage of the loans to provide assistance for more owners. However, she considered that there was no need to provide interest-free loans for the owners who would be capable of repaying the loans. District Councillors supported the setting up of maintenance reserve funds for buildings and considered that the registration system could ensure that professionals with a certain standard would manage the buildings. However, District Councillors were concerned about the assessment method and the amount charged by the management companies. District Councillors requested the Government to step up supervision concerning the content of the deeds of mutual PLB covenant and provide more guidelines for owners of old buildings by means of Lands Department additional legislation. Serial Responsible No. Subject Action Taken / Proposal / Request Department / Agency A District Councillor had reservation about the proposal of controlling advertisement signboards. He considered that the erection of signboards in a building would endanger the building’s structure if no space had been reserved for the signboards during the design of the building, and hence the Government should not issue licences to shop operators for the erection of signboards. Other District Councillors supported the control of advertisement signboards and requested the Government to arrange sufficient manpower to carry out the new measures in order to solve the said problems in due course and reduce effectively illegal activities of the contractors. District Councillors paid much attention to the nuisance brought to the residents by the flashing advertisement signboards. They considered that the Government should regulate such signboards by unambiguous legislation and step up supervision over the size of the signboards to reduce the potential risks or prevent the signboards from being repugnant to the appearance of the district. District Councillors also proposed collecting deposits from the owners to ensure that they would remove the signboards. District Councillors also queried why the Government did not charge those who hung their signboards over Government land. The Head of the Task Force said that BD the BD would handle the applications for flashing advertisement signboards with care and set up technical guidelines for the control of advertisement signboards. Serial Responsible No. Subject Action Taken / Proposal / Request Department / Agency District Councillors hoped that the Government departments concerned would promote cordial co-operation during the clearance of unauthorised building works and expedite their action. It was hoped that the Government departments concerned would consider the registration of all existing illegal rooftop structures, and then enact legislation to criminalize the erection of unauthorised building works to hold back such activities. The Head of the Task Force reiterated that the Government was determined to handle these problems and pointed out that the departments concerned would have more power to handle the problems effectively after the amendment of the legislation. District Councillors agreed to promote education so that owners would understand their own responsibilities. It was suggested that public education should begin from schools and the Government should enhance the civic awareness of members of the public. The Head of the Task Force replied that the Government would implement concrete plans to educate the residents in the hope that they would take up more responsibilities in building management. District Councillors also criticized that the information provided in the paper was not in detail. The Head of the Task Force explained that the Government was determined to complete the Scheme in five to seven years despite numerous aspects of the Scheme. Consideration would also be given to contract out some services to expedite the progress of the Scheme. Serial Responsible No. Subject Action Taken / Proposal / Request Department / Agency DC 3 Consultation Document The representative of the Health and Welfare Bureau (HWB) informed District on Health Care Reform Councillors that the Government formulated the strategies for reform through improvements to the health care delivery system, improvements to the system of quality assurance and financing for health care service. Improvements to the health care delivery system included strengthening preventive care; re-organising primary medical care, such as provision of general out-patient service by the Hospital Authority (HA) and introduction of family health practice; developing a network of community-based health care services to assist the patients in receiving treatment at home; improving the interface between the public and private health care sectors, such as enhancing the exchange of health information and minimising duplication of services; strengthening education of dental care and extending oral health scheme to secondary school students; and promoting Chinese medicine. As for improvements to the system of quality assurance, it was suggested that the quality of services should be improved through education and training, systems support and regulatory measures. In addition, in order to improve patient complaint mechanisms, it was suggested that a Complaint Office should be set up in the Department of Health (DH) to investigate into the complaints and try to mediate between the complainant and the complained, and to forward the cases to the relevant regulatory bodies for arbitration. The options Serial Responsible No. Subject Action Taken / Proposal / Request Department / Agency for financing health care service included reducing costs through structured management of health care technology, intensification of the service delivery network and redesign of the modes of service, etc.; revamping fees structure so that public funds could be channeled to assist those in need and inappropriate use and misuse of services be prevented; and establishing the health protection accounts so that members of the public could be well prepared, by means of saving, for their medical expenses after retirement or in case of disability. District Councillors supported the reform of medical services, however, they objected to training the community doctors in the out-patient service. They also took the view that the introduction of the concept of family health practice took much time and effort, thus they suggested that the Government should consider HWB assigning other medical care practitioners to promote health education. District Councillors also requested the Government to enhance communication with the staff members when the general out-patient service was transferred to the HA lest the dissatisfaction of the staff members should affect the quality of services. A District Councillor supported the incorporation of Chinese medicine into the public health care system, however, he objected to the promotion of alternative treatments such as aromatotherapy or crystal healing, etc. Serial Responsible No. Subject Action Taken / Proposal / Request Department / Agency District Councillors worried that if the Complaint Office was to be set up by the DH, situation of bureaucrats and medical personnel defending one another might arise, resulting in a loss of trust of the public and affecting the effectiveness. As such, District Councillors suggested that the Government should set up an independent body to handle medical complaints. The representative of the HWB explained that when the out-patient service was transferred to the HA, the role of the DH would switch from a service provider to a regulatory body. The DH would then be in a proper position to handle medical complaints. Some District Councillors objected to establishing the health protection accounts to solve the problem of health care financing. They also pointed out that it was unreasonable to stipulate that a contributor could not withdraw the savings until he reached the age of 65 and that a contributor had to pay for the price difference if he chose medical services in the private sector. A District Councillor was of the view that the existing medical system was good enough to take care of patients in financial difficulties. Other District Councillors opined that revamping the fees structure helped to check inappropriate use and abuse of medical services, diminish the distance between the public and private health care sectors and encourage the citizens to meet their medical expenses by means of medical insurance. District Councillors also suggested that in launching the reform, the Serial Responsible No. Subject Action Taken / Proposal / Request Department / Agency Government should consider collaborating with the medical insurance system and tie in with the overall development of the policies lest the new policy should end unsuccessfully. DC 4 Amendments to the The representative of the Planning Department (Plan D) reported that, to tie in Mong Kok Outline with the industrial restructuring in the territory, the Town Planning Board (the Zoning Plan Board), after deliberation, agreed to the rezoning of the 17 sites in the Tai Kok Tsui area to other uses. Among them, 7 were rezoned to “Residential (Group E)” zone, 8 to “Other Specified Uses” annotated “Business” zone while the remaining two to “Other Specified Uses” annotated “Petrol Filling Station” zone. The Board also agreed to the amendments to the Notes of the Outline Zoning Plan so as to cope with the above rezoning. District Councillors welcomed the change of land use in the light of the needs of the community. A District Councillor took the view that priority should be given to the buildings with single title for the change of land use in order to facilitate the implementation of the redevelopment programmes. He hoped that the government departments concerned would undertake to approve, on favourable terms, the change of land use and the payment of land premium, and to change more sites to commercial/residential uses. District Councillors requested that the Plan D should, in planning the land use, consider the improvement of traffic and the provision of sitting-out areas in Serial Responsible No. Subject Action Taken / Proposal / Request Department / Agency the Tai Kok Tsui area so as to meet the needs of the new development. The representative of the Plan D pointed out that it is not appropriate to base on the title of buildings to decide whether to re-plan the land use or not. The land use of a certain lot as a whole would be the major consideration of the Plan D. The purpose of the amendments was to match the needs of social development rather than to entertain the request of the developers. As regards the proposal to rezone the industrial sites in old districts to sitting-out areas, since the redevelopment programmes would involve land resumption, it was believed that the proposal would be difficult to carry out in the end. Having consulted the Transport Department on the change of land use, the Plan D learnt that the proposed amendments would not adversely affect the traffic in the Tai Kok Tsui area. In addition, the applicants were required to submit to the Board information on traffic assessment and to prove the feasibility of the development programmes before approval of implementation could be granted. DC 5 An Overview of Social The Director of Social Welfare (DSW) briefed District Councillors on the items Welfare Services introduced in the discussion paper, including the highlights in social welfare development, strengthening the Social Welfare Department (SWD) at the district level, as well as the planning and development of welfare services in the Yau Tsim Serial Responsible No. Subject Action Taken / Proposal / Request Department / Agency Mong District (YTMD). The SWD proposed to streamline its management structure (Streamlining Plan) by disbanding the Regional Offices while strengthening the linkage between the district social welfare offices and the headquarters. The DSW then briefed the Councillors on the planning and development of welfare services in the YTMD, including the ongoing promotion of the volunteer movement, implementation of a project named “Enhanced Home and Community Care Service”, as well as an action plan (AP) formulated to solve the problem of street sleepers. Several non-governmental organisations were involved in the design of the three-year AP, aiming to step up midnight outreaching service and provide assistance to the street sleepers. The DSW said that the SWD way considering a mechanism to evaluate the effectiveness of the AP. He also sought District Councillors’ advice on the Streamlining Plan. District Councillors supported the Streamlining Plan and considered that it could help improve work efficiency. District Councillors requested that in the course of re-structuring the SWD, the existing manpower of the districts should be SWD retained so that the change could be adopted to more easily. District Councillors also queried whether the said measures were introduced with an aim of reducing Government expenditure. The DSW denied such a saying and disclosed that resources saved from the Streamlining Plan would be used to enhance district Serial Responsible No. Subject Action Taken / Proposal / Request Department / Agency services and the staff affected would be deployed to fill other posts. With the exception of two District Councillors, the District Council supported the Streamlining Plan in principle. District Councillors and the DSW pointed out that the volunteer movement in the YTMD was very successful under the concerted efforts of the SWD and the district personalities. On the other hand, the problem of street sleepers in the YTMD was grave and the number of street sleepers increased continuously. District Councillors suggested that clearance in busy places and main pedestrian passages should be stepped up and the street sleepers should be prevented from occupying the common parts of the buildings. In response to the enquiries, the DSW pointed out that the problem of street sleepers was becoming more complicated and there were many reasons and forms of street sleeping. Since Hong Kong people emphasized human rights and the rule of law, the SWD could hardly handle cases where street sleepers refused to co-operate. However, the SWD would increase its resources to improve the situation. The SWD would SWD keep the Councillors posted of the progress regularly. District Councillors paid attention to youth problems and considered that the stepping up of outreaching services and the provision of services that youth were Serial Responsible No. Subject Action Taken / Proposal / Request Department / Agency interested in would help prevent such problems. District Councillors also proposed that the District Co-ordinating Committees should get involved in the cases with potential risks and assist in providing counselling services to prevent tragedies. The DSW said that the school social workers could provide suitable assistance to students as they had built trust on each other. The SWD, Education Department and the Police discussed how to do better preventive work for the youths-at-risk and handle the cases concerned at joint-departmental meetings. The SWD allocated more resources to establish an integrated team for the provision of all-round services for the youth. District Councillors proposed that the SWD should improve on its delivery service of hot meals and provide free transportation to and from the medical service providers for the elderly. The SWD should also provide more subsidies for the child care centres and accommodation for the victims of domestic violence. The DSW replied that District Councillors could refer the complaint cases about the delivery of meals to the YTMD Social Welfare Office for follow-up. The agencies concerned would provide charged transportation services for the elderly. During the consideration of increasing subsidies for child care centres, the SWD should take the subsidies for kindergartens as reference, and hence no arbitrary decision should be made. However, publicity on the subsidy scheme could be SWD Serial Responsible No. Subject Action Taken / Proposal / Request Department / Agency enhanced so that the families in need could be aware of the scheme. The SWD had a temporary shelter in the YTMD for the accommodation of victims of domestic violence. The SWD would also set up in Kowloon a support centre for families at risk to provide assistance for the families in need. DC 6 Capital Works Projects of The representative of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) the Former Provisional reported to District Councillors the latest position of the capital works projects of Municipal Councils the two former Provisional Municipal Councils involving leisure and cultural Involving Leisure and facilities in the YTMD. The construction works of the Tai Kok Tsui Complex Cultural Facilities had commenced. After assessing the priority of another four projects, the LCSD suggested that the Cherry Street Park project should be given high priority and the other three projects be implemented later. In planning the projects, the LCSD would also consult the District Councils regularly so as to obtain, in a systematic way, the District Councillors’ advice on public works projects. District Councillors requested the government departments concerned to closely monitor the progress of the Tai Kok Tsui Complex project so as to avoid delay in the provision of active and passive recreation facilities to the residents of that area. District Councillors were concerned about the impact of the noise generated by the works on the schools nearby. They also worried that Serial Responsible No. Subject Action Taken / Proposal / Request Department / Agency accumulation of water in the work site would bring about environmental nuisances such as breeding of mosquitoes. The representative of the LCSD pointed out that the LCSD and the Architectural Services Department (ASD) LCSD would monitor the progress of the relevant project and meet with the ASD representatives of the schools near the work site to discuss ways of improvement. In addition, the LCSD would report, on a regular basis, the relevant progress to the Yau Tsim Mong District Council (YTMDC). District Councillors strongly requested the Government to implement the Cherry Street Park project as soon as possible. The representative of the LCSD LCSD undertook to reflect the view of the YTMDC to the Government. District Councillors understood that the project of providing an open space at the Tai Kok Tsui Temporary Market had to tie in with the opening of the market in the Tai Kok Tsui Complex, thus the relevant development plan had yet to be finalised. However, they requested the government department concerned to draw up, as LCSD soon as possible, the details and layout of the open space for consultation of the YTMDC. District Councillors asked about the progress of the regional park project at West Serial Responsible No. Subject Action Taken / Proposal / Request Department / Agency Kowloon Reclamation (WKR). The representative of the LCSD pointed out that the said project had to tie in with the overall development of that area, thus planning of the regional park project had to be suspended pending the finalisation of the design of the major performing venue in the WKR.