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Mrs Lam and Mr Cheung officiating at the launching ceremony of the e-Poll for the Central Oasis.

URA starts on-line and face-to-face surveys for the Central Oasis

The Secretary for Development, Mrs. Carrie Lam, and the Chairman of the Urban Renewal Authority (URA), Mr. Barry Cheung, today (Saturday) officiated at the launching ceremony of a three-week e-Poll to solicit public views for the Central Oasis revitalisation project of the Authority.  Members of the public can express their views on the future use of the Central Oasis at a designated website ( starting today until 26 February 2010.

In parallel, a survey firm, commissioned by the URA, will conduct a street poll at various locations in the vicinity of MTR stations throughout the territory during the same period.

Following the Chief Executive's Policy Address 2009, the URA has been tasked to revitalise the ex-Central Market building.  It announced in October 2009 a preliminary plan at an estimated cost of about $500 million to renovate and refurbish the building as well as to provide greenery, a public rest and leisure area amidst the hustle and bustle of Central.

To this end, a Central Oasis Community Advisory Committee (COCAC) was set up at the end of last year to advise the URA on revitalising the ex-Central Market building as an urban oasis for Hong Kong people.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Barry Cheung said this revitalisation project needs the support of the community.  Public views collected from both the on-line and face-to-face surveys would facilitate the COCAC in its discussions and making recommendations to the URA on the directions, strategies and specific objectives for implementing the project.

Mr. Barry Cheung said, "This exciting and worthwhile project deserves our utmost efforts to make it a success.  My sincere thanks go to members of the COCAC for their hard work and recent participation in the finalization of the survey questionnaires.  The two polls are first of a series of community engagement initiatives for the project.  Further occasions and additional activities will be arranged to exchange views with the community."

Mr. Cheung believed that active public participation would be able to turn the ex-Central Market building into an urban oasis which Hong Kong people can enjoy and be proud of.

The URA has appointed a consultant to carry out a 9-month structural investigation of the building.  The results and findings will be used in formulating the possible usage of different floors of the Building.

While works on this project is yet to commence, the URA has completed interim enhancement works to beautify the building's corridor linking the pedestrian footbridge system in Central and the adjacent buildings. This will also provide visitors with a temporary public rest and leisure area.

In the coming three weeks, members of the public can use the touch screen computers to join the e-Poll or to deposit their suggestions in an opinion box erected at the refurbished corridor.

The URA will work with partnering organisations in the coming 12 months to hold exhibitions, cultural and arts activities as well as community events at this venue.  The first exhibits are the winning entries of a greeting card design competition for primary schools students organised by the URA in conjunction with the Hong Kong Education City, the Hong Kong Designers Association and the Hong Kong Society of Illustrators in November last year.  At today's ceremony, awards were presented to the winners of the competition.

Mr Cheung said, "The URA hopes to foster a better understanding of urban regeneration among the young generation so as to encourage them to take an interest in their community.  I am very much impressed with their creative drawings which carried warmest blessings in words to those living in urban decay areas."