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URA submits planning application for Central Oasis and kicks off exhibition to showcase design

The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) today (Friday) kicked off a month-long exhibition to showcase the conceptual design for its Central Oasis revitalisation project which has been developed in accordance with the mainstream public views collected through an extensive long public engagement exercise by the Authority over the past two years.

Officiating at the ceremony, the Chairman of the Central Oasis Community Advisory Committee (COCAC), Professor David Lung, said: "The exhibition is being staged in parallel with the planning application for the project to the Town Planning Board (TPB) by the URA under section 16 of the TPB Ordinance today. We hope to enhance public understanding of the proposed design concept which has incorporated the mainstream views of a two-year public engagement programme since 2009."

Comprising district representatives, professionals and academics, the COCAC was set up in 2009 to collect and collate views and suggestions from the community on the future use of the Central Oasis.  Since then, an extensive public engagement programme was launched which included a series of surveys and questionnaires, workshops, roving exhibitions and community forums. The design concept now on display in the exhibition has fully incorporated the mainstream public opinions and aspirations.

Alongside the exhibition, a book documenting the process and results of the extensive public participation is also published by the URA today, which could serve as a reference for Hong Kong's heritage preservation development.

"We attach a great deal of importance to the views and suggestions from the community on the planning and development of Central Oasis," Professor Lung said.  "We look forward to commencing revitalisation works as soon as possible with an aim to provide for the general public a quality public hang out facility and a green oasis amidst the hustle and bustle of the Central district."

The exhibition, which is held at the Oasis Gallery of the Central Oasis, will run from 24 May 2013 to 23 June 2013 (10am - 8 pm).

The tender process for Central Oasis will probably be commenced within the year and the project will be implemented in two stages to ensure the public linkage to the Central - Mid-levels escalators on the 2nd floor of the building remain accessible during the renovation. The first phase of the project will be completed in 2017/2018 and the entire project in 2019/2020.

Also attending the event this afternoon were Chairman of the Central and Western District Council, Mr Yip Wing-shing, District Officer of Central and Western District, Ms Cheryl Chow, and the Managing Director of the URA, Ms Iris Tam.