Hong Kong Island Southern District will be “invigorated” into an arts hub and tourist spot, the chief executive said in her policy address on Wednesday.

During her annual address at the Legislative Council (LegCo), Carrie Lam said the district will be developed “into a place full of vibrancy, vigour and velocity for people to work, live, explore new ideas and have fun.”

ocean park
Ocean Park. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The project named “Invigorating Island South” includes the rebirth of Ocean Park, to enhance its educational and conservation investments. The theme park will also be core to another project to link up other districts and islands with an aim to develop marine tourism. To facilitate tourism and commuting, the government plans to launch a water taxi shuttle service between Aberdeen, Repulse Bay and Shek O.

Jumbo Floating Restaurant

It was also proposed that the 40-year-old Jumbo Floating Restaurant should be revitalised after its owner agreed to donate it to Ocean Park at no cost. Commercial Radio cited a source as saying that the aim was for the ship to become a distinctive cultural heritage icon in the district. It will be run by an NGO on a self-financing basis.

A new water park attraction will open at Ocean Park next summer.

jumbo restaurant
Jumbo Floating Restaurant. Photo: Stand News.

A new water sports facility at the Shek O quarry is also planned.

A government source told reporters that the administration hoped the projects would revitalise the ageing district into a spot where Hongkongers could enjoy during weekends, in addition to the Ocean Park.

Lam cited “Energising Kowloon East” – another urban development project that aims to transform the vicinity of Kwun Tong into another premier central business district. She said that the Invigorating Island South initiative would be overseen and coordinated by a Development Bureau multi-disciplinary team.

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Arts hub

Wong Chuk Hang and Aberdeen, meanwhile, are set to become a new arts and culture hub. The repurposing and redevelopment of old industrial buildings in Wong Chuk Hang will be fast-tracked to provide space for arts and cultural industries and emerging businesses. Twenty out of 50 industrial buildings have already been revitalised but owners’ consent is still needed to move forward with other redevelopment plans.

The chief executive said the connectivity of Southern District with other districts was enhanced by the opening of the MTR South Island Line four years ago, which helped overcome infrastructural constraints that hindered the area’s development plans.

wong chuk hang
Nam Long Shan Road in Wong Chuk Hang. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Pedestrian connectivity and the environment will be further enhanced by minor works in business and waterfront areas. For instance, Shum Wan Road will be expanded to alleviate traffic congestion.

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Rachel Wong previously worked as a documentary producer and academic researcher. She has a BA in Comparative Literature and European Studies from the University of Hong Kong. She has contributed to A City Made by People and The Funambulist, and has an interest in cultural journalism and gender issues.