Hong Kong 2003
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Recreation, Sport and the Arts
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Hong Kong people enjoy access to a wide range of recreational, sports and cultural facilities. Many of these are built and managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. The main objective of the department is to enrich the community's quality of life through the promotion and provision of recreational, sports and cultural facilities and activities.

RECREATION, sport and the arts provide opportunities for the people of Hong Kong to enrich the quality of their lives. The Government aims to nurture an environment in which freedom of creativity, pluralistic development of the arts, sporting excellence and recreation for the community can thrive.

The Government's policies on sport, recreation, culture and heritage matters are coordinated by the Home Affairs Bureau. A number of expert bodies contribute to the development of these policies, including the Hong Kong Sports Development Board, the Culture and Heritage Commission, the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and the Antiquities Advisory Board.

The continued development of Hong Kong's sporting and artistic culture is in part entrusted to the Hong Kong Sports Development Board and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, both of which are statutory bodies. These two organisations have continued to implement plans for the development of their respective fields. Specific projects have been funded by grants from the $300 million Arts and Sport Development Fund, which was set up in 1997 to help the board and the council implement the initiatives in their strategic plans. The Home Affairs Bureau is now reviewing the overall sports policy in Hong Kong. A Sports Policy Review report was published for public consultation in May, and the bureau is considering the way forward in the light of comments received.

In the field of sport and recreation, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) is responsible for promoting and developing recreation and sport at the community level. In 2003, the department continued to coordinate the provision of high-quality recreational and sports facilities and to support and organise training programmes and sports competitions so that talented individuals could be identified and sports standards improved.

The department also works closely with the District Councils, the National Sports Associations under the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, district sports associations and schools to promote the concept of 'Sport-for-All' and to encourage people of all ages and from all walks of life to participate in sports and recreational activities.

The sports promotion and development programmes in 2003 included the Young Athletes Training Scheme, School Sports Programme, Community Sports Club Project, District Sports Teams and Age Group Competitions. The department also administered a Sports Subsidy Scheme to provide financial assistance to National Sports Associations to organise sports programmes for the community, as well as designated sports venues for use by National Sports Associations as National Squad Training Centres.

To provide better service to the public, the LCSD has implemented in phases a new mode of operation at recreational venues since 2002. Venue managers have been deployed to provide one-stop service at recreational venues. Members of the public may book facilities, register and pay charges for recreation programmes, and obtain professional advice and assistance on using facilities and sports programming at 144 venues.

To further improve the booking service, a number of enhancements were made to the 'LCSD Leisure Link' booking system in 2003. The enhancements offer convenience to members of the public in making online and telephone bookings of leisure facilities and enrolment in recreation and sports programmes. People are no longer required to make prior registration with the LCSD and can simply input their Hong Kong identity card number at the time of booking. The enhancements also provide additional booking information about each facility, enabling patrons to make their selection more easily.

In support of the Government's policy to make Hong Kong green, the LCSD in 2003 carried out extensive tree planting programmes in parks and playgrounds, as well as on roadsides. In addition, various educational and community activities were organised to promote public awareness of the importance of greening. In cultural services, good progress continued to be made in reviewing the existing policy on built heritage conservation. The department will provide additional funds for preservation of Hong Kong's cultural heritage and thereby also support the development of tourism.

Concerted Action Against SARS

The LCSD joined hands with other government departments in taking concerted action against SARS when the disease broke out early in the year. Three of the department's holiday camps — Lei Yue Mun Park and Village, Lady MacLehose Holiday Village and Sai Kung Outdoor Recreation Centre — were closed temporarily so they could serve as isolation centres for people evacuated from their homes during the outbreak, particularly the residents of Amoy Gardens in Ngau Tau Kok. The department's Kowloon Bay Sports Centre in Kwun Tong District was also made available for use as a support centre for the Inter-departmental Operation Team that was working in Amoy Gardens.

Preventive and operational measures were undertaken in all the department's leisure and cultural venues and facilities to prevent the disease spreading. These included strengthening the routine cleansing and maintenance of air-conditioning systems, issue of specific guidelines, and the provision of face masks to staff and visitors.

To cope with the demand for a large quantity of cleansing materials and face masks within a short period of time, the department's Supplies staff worked tirelessly to procure sufficient quantities of stock. Incoming consignments were received beyond midnight and, in addition, the operating hours of the Kwai Chung Main Store were extended during Saturdays and Sundays to ensure there was an uninterrupted supply of materials to staff, especially during the peak period of the outbreak.

Responding to the call from the Government's newly formed Team Clean, for widespread action to improve the environment, the LCSD strengthened its enforcement action against unhygienic behaviour, such as littering and spitting at leisure and cultural venues and facilities, particularly during public holidays and weekends, in all 18 districts. Officers of the department issued some 170 fixed penalty tickets to littering/spitting offenders and served 15 summonses on spitting offenders during the period from March to June.

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