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Frivolous and out of the blue: legislator Alvin Yeung slams government’s plans to close Kitchee centre

Legislator Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu slammed the government’s plan to close the year-old Kitchee centre to make way for a housing development, saying that it will not only affect the community but set a bad example in town planning.

Yeung attended the Hong Kong Premier League’s top clash between Kitchee and South China at Mong Kok Stadium on Saturday and the lawmaker appealed for public support to stop the government’s plan.

“This is a facility that benefits not only Kitchee as a soccer club but also many other young people from different parts of Hong Kong,” said the Legco member, who joined a local sports concern group to appeal for public support.

“While it is difficult to find recreational facilities in the community, the government has, out of the blue, said they would close down the centre in order to make way for a housing project.

“This is too frivolous as the centre has opened for only a short period of time and then it has to be removed.

“There has been no proper consultation on the entire process and this would certainly set a bad example in changing the land use policy.”

Yeung said he would help the concern group rally the support of the whole community and not only the sports sector to persuade the Town Planning Board to keep the centre.

The government needs approval from the board if it wants to change the centre’s land use from recreation to public housing.

Opened last year on a 1.5-hectare former landfill site in Siu Lek Yuen near Shek Mun MTR station, the centre, equipped with two artificial turf soccer pitches, cost Kitchee HK$84 million, of which HK$63 million came from the Jockey Club Charities Trust, for construction.

However, the centre is on a short-term tenancy lease that Kitchee will have to renew with the government next year.

Meanwhile, South China and Kitchee drew 1-1 in their Premier League clash in front of a 3,800-strong crowd.