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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
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                   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
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                   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.
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                   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.
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                   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.
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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
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                   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.
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                   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
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                                    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
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                                   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
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                   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
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                   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
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                   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
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                                    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
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                   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
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                   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.

				
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