SFH: Modernise markets to improve people's livelihood

Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      The Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan, said today (March 9) that the Government will implement a 10-year Market Modernisation Programme to conduct a comprehensive review of the existing public markets. The programme aims to upgrade market facilities and management systematically, realising the initiative of allocating resources to improve the environment of existing public markets as stated in the Policy Address announced last October.
     Professor Chan today inspected Tai Wai Market, where she chatted with stall tenants to learn about their operations. With the support of tenants and the Sha Tin District Council's Health and Environment Committee, an air-conditioning system will be installed at Tai Wai Market.

In addition, a series of improvement works will be carried out. These will include improving the barrier-free access facilities such as ramps, tactile guide paths and tactile warning strips; improving the existing accessible toilet; and installation of a tactile map. New directory signs, changing of lighting systems and installation of additional chairs at appropriate places will also create an age-friendly environment.

Other improvement works will include the installation of sound-absorbent facilities at loading and unloading bays, and refurbishment of toilets. Subject to funding approval by the Finance Committee before the Legislative Council's recess this summer, the works are expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2018 for completion in the second quarter of 2020.
     After inspecting Tai Wai Market, Professor Chan pointed out that the 2018-19 Budget has earmarked $2 billion to implement the Market Modernisation Programme. This prioritised project in public finance shows the current-term Government's new fiscal philosophy, which adopts strategic financial management principles in allocating resources to improve people's livelihood.

In this regard, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) has formed a dedicated team to start a comprehensive review of nearly 100 existing markets with a view to introducing improvement measures for market facilities and management in a systematic manner. For example, considerable resources are required for installation of an air-conditioning system. To upgrade the facilities of relevant markets, the Government will make reference to the case of Tai Wai Market and consider implementing other improvement works at the same time, such as market redesigning and replanning, stall re-arrangement and facility enhancement in areas including drains, fire safety installations, electricity and barrier-free facilities, as well as conducting various law-compliant works to improve the overall operational environment and flow of customers.
     "We note that the situations of different markets vary and the co-operation and mainstream views of relevant stakeholders like market stall tenants are crucial.

Hence, installation of air-conditioning systems, major overhaul or even redevelopment can be included in the improvement works under the Market Modernisation Programme as and when necessary," Professor Chan said.
     Professor Chan also viewed the operation of Hong Kong's first mini street sweeper in Tai Mei Tuk Village today. Introduced to Hong Kong by the FEHD through one of its contractors to enhance the efficiency of street cleaning, the mini street sweeper is being used in daily cleaning work at four villages in Tai Po.
     "Street cleaning is an important part of our work in serving the public. Allocation of resources to enhance cleaning of the environment is mentioned in the Policy Address.

We will use automation to enhance efficiency and explore the introduction of automated cleaning machines or technology. We will also closely monitor the development of technology and make reference to the experience of other places to further enhance the service," she said.

Published on: 2018-03-09

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