URA Press Statement
In response to remarks made by the Secretary for Housing,
Planning and Lands regarding some news reports on the Urban Renewal
Authority (URA) today (14 August 2002), a URA spokesman makes the
"We welcome the Government's reiterated commitment to urban renewal and fully recognise the significant financial support made by the Government to the URA.
The URA is always highly conscious of the need to maintain financial prudence and achieve cost-effectiveness whilst discharging its social responsibility towards residents and property owners affected by the URA's projects.
It has always been one of our prime objectives to ensure that our urban renewal programme, as outlined in the Government's Urban Renewal Strategy published in November 2001, will be self-financing in the long run.
The URA's first five-year corporate plan which comprises 42 projects was approved by the Government earlier this year. We are confident that the plan is financially sound and we will achieve the breakeven target. In this respect, the URA has already made a good start by commencing three "early launch projects" in March this year. These three projects are making good progress and the URA estimates that taken together, they will be financially viable.
The URA would like to emphasise that its financial position at present and in the foreseeable future is well within the forecast laid down in the aforesaid corporate plan.
As regards the total of 225 projects to be implemented in the next 20 years as mentioned in the Urban Renewal Strategy, this is obviously a very long range work goal. Any speculation about its financial viability based on current economic and market conditions is meaningless and futile.
However, the URA, being a relatively new public body entrusted with the important task of urban renewal under a new legal and administrative framework, will always endeavour to keep its policies and operations under review."